Advertise here with Carbon Ads

This site is made possible by member support. โค๏ธ

Big thanks to Arcustech for hosting the site and offering amazing tech support.

When you buy through links on, I may earn an affiliate commission. Thanks for supporting the site! home of fine hypertext products since 1998.

๐Ÿ”  ๐Ÿ’€  ๐Ÿ“ธ  ๐Ÿ˜ญ  ๐Ÿ•ณ๏ธ  ๐Ÿค   ๐ŸŽฌ  ๐Ÿฅ”

Ancient-ish Woolen Dutch Hats


Nothing more exciting than knitted items! This isn’t news, but a relative sent it to me recently, and I see it also made the rounds on Reddit a few days ago. Here’s the gist, per the Rijksmuseum:

In 1980 archaeologists investigated the graves of 185 Dutchmen — whale hunters, and workers at whale oil refineries — who had died on or near Spitsbergen [an island in Norway’s Svalbard archipelago] in the 17th century. Many skeletons were still wearing their knitted woollen head coverings. These caps were highly personal. The men were bundled up against the severe cold and could only be recognized by the colours and patterns of their caps. Presumably this is the reason why the caps went with them into their graves.

The hats look remarkably modern, especially if you zoom in. And in fact here are some modern caps, called Deadman Hats, inspired by the old ones. (More info and context for the Dutch hats can be found in this 2016 post from the blog A Bluestocking Knits.)

And this is maybe tangential, but it reminds me of an 18th-century kerfuffle I read about once, in which the young poet Thomas Chatterton claimed to have discovered a 15th-century poem, until a reference within the poem — to knitting — gave it away as contemporary, and presumably as written by Chatterton himself. Or that’s how I remember it, anyway … Although it looks like subsequent research places the advent of knitting earlier than believed at the time.

Even more tangential, to the above tangent: The smoking-gun reference to knitting doesn’t seem to actually appear in the poem, at least not as I’m currently finding it. (??) (The reference: “She sayde as her whyte hondes whyte hosen was knyttinge, Whatte pleasure ytt ys to be married!”) … Actually, I think I’m in over my head. … The “history of knitting” Wikipedia page also generally confirms this impression (of being in over my head).

Discussion  3 comments

Louise Hornor

I would totally wear the top right striped hat! And I find it oddly comforting that these men were buried in their hats.

Mary Wallace

I love the subtle design choices the knitters made.


good post!!!! nothing is more exciting than knitted items!!!!!

Hello! In order to leave a comment, you need to be a current member. If you'd like to sign up for a membership to support the site and join the conversation, you can explore your options here.

Existing members can sign in here. If you're a former member, you can renew your membership.

Note: If you are a member and tried to log in, it didn't work, and now you're stuck in a neverending login loop of death, try disabling any ad blockers or extensions that you have installed on your browser...sometimes they can interfere with the Memberful links. Still having trouble? Email me!