A silk cap?

SK129 with Silk (hat)Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums Collection

The photograph shows the rather fancy headwear of an elderly lady, who probably died between the 16th and 18th century. It seems to be made up of strips of silk ribbon sewn onto another material, maybe velvet or felt. The overall effect is of a thick, almost matted, appearance. The soil conditions in the dig area in the former East Kirk of St Nicholas in Aberdeen are quite unusual, which has allowed many items to survive which would have been lost in most other places. In this case it is the entire hat which has survived. Nothing more can be said about this item because it is another example of the archaeologists having a first reaction to a ‘find’, but until the post-excavation study is completed they cannot be certain. There is also the problem with samples like this because they need careful conservation if they are to be kept available for future generations to see. Help is needed to pay for this work.

In this case, we can add a little more information about the lady. Dr Paul Duffy ( his website is http://www.discoverbutearchaeology.co.uk/), our human bone specialist, has carried out a very detailed study of all the remains. He was able to identify that this lady had suffered a broken leg at some stage of her life. It had healed, but had left her with one leg twisted and shorter than the other, so she would have been quite lame in her later life.

The photograph is copyright Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums Collections and is used with permission.