Egtved Girl Mound

Egtved, Denmark

The Egtved Girl (c. 1390–1370 BC) was a Nordic Bronze Age girl whose well-preserved remains were discovered outside Egtved in 1921. Aged 16–18 at death, she was slim, 160 cm tall, had short, blond hair and well-trimmed nails. Her burial has been dated by dendrochronology to 1370 BC. She was discovered in a barrow approximately 30 metres wide and 4 metres high. Only the girl's hair, brain, teeth, nails and little skin remain preserved.

The barrow was excavated in 1921, and an east-western aligned coffin was found. It was transported in sealed condition to the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen, where it was opened and the Egtved Girl discovered. She was buried fully dressed on a cowhide in the coffin. She wore a loose bodice with sleeves reaching the elbow. She had a bare waist and wore a short string skirt. She had bronze bracelets and a woolen belt with a large disc decorated with spirals and a spike. At her feet were the cremated remains of a child age 5–6. By her head there was a small birch bark box which contained an awl, bronze pins and a hair net.

Before the coffin was closed she was covered with a blanket and a cowhide. Flowering yarrow (indicating a summer burial) and a bucket of beer made of wheat, honey, bog-myrtle and cowberries were placed atop. Her distinctive outfit, which caused a sensation when it was unearthed in the 1920s, is the best preserved example of a style now known to be common in Northern Europe during the Bronze Age. The good preservation of Egtved girl is due to the acidic bog conditions of the soil, which is a common condition of this locale.

The outfit was reconstructed for the National Museum of Denmark by the Lejre Experimental Centre and is on display there. A reconstructed set of clothes, as well as details of the excavation, are on display in the Egtved Girl's museum at the excavation site.

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