Woad References


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Other sources for woad information

European and Mediterranean History
Woad in the Neolithic in a cavern at Adaouste, Bouches-du-Rhône, France.

Seeds of Trade by the Natural History Museum discusses early use of Woad in Egypt

Wikipedia claims that woad-dyed textiles were found in the Hallstatt chieftain burial sites of Hochdorf and Hohmichele, Bavaria.

Reconstructions of a Roman Iron Age dress from Lønne Hede in Denmark by the Lejre Research Centre (http://www.english.lejre-center.dk/).  The blue colour of the dress is obtained by colouring the wool with woad.

Translation of the chapter in Christensen et al’s book (below), dealing with the garments of the Oseberg ship burial in Norway.

Arne Emil Christensen, Anne Stine Ingstad, Bjørn Myhre (1992). “Oseberg Dronningens grav”. Oslo, Norway. ISBN 82-516-1423-6

Textiles in Finnish graves from the 8th to 11th centuries.
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British History
Record of woad at Dragonby, Lincolnshire, shows this plant was available in the Late Iron Age for dyeing cloth or perhaps even for body decoration

Penelope Walton Rogers (1997). “Textile Production at 16-22 Coppergate”, The Archaeology of York series vol. 17 (11): pp 1766-71, York Archaeological Trust for Excavation and Research Ltd. - evidence for textile manufacture and dyestuffs in Viking York.

‘The City of Coventry: Crafts and industries: Medieval industry and trade', A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 8: The City of Coventry and Borough of Warwick (1969), pp. 151-157. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=16024
The chief commodity imported into Coventry through Southampton from the late 1420s to 1478 was woad for dyeing Coventry blue cloth.

RS Smith (1961). A woad growing project at Wollaton in the 1580s. Trans Thoroton Soc Notts, 1961 pp. 27-46. Quotes Queen Elizabeth’s proclamation of 1585.

Wisbech & Fenland Museum is one of the oldest museums in the United Kingdom and features collections of local flora and fauna, textiles and archaeology as well as historic photos of local woad mills.

Joan Thirsk (2000). Alternative Agriculture: A History - From the Black Death to the Present Day. Oxford University Press. 384 pages.
ISBN 0198208138.

People like to believe in a past golden age of "traditional" English countryside, before large farms, machinery, and the destruction of hedgerows changed the landscape forever. Yet crops from the past like flax, hemp, rapeseed, and woad are reappearing in the "modern" countryside.

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Last updated on 05 April 2024
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