In the course of the excavation of the archaeological site Šuvakov salaš – Klisa (the territory of medieval Vrbas), City museum from Vrbas discovered an interesting find in the grave no 27. They found the remains of a headband (počelica), a part of maiden headwear. This type of headband was worn on the forehead, over a veil or a scarf, attached by ribbons or pins.

 

A total of 340 small pâte de verre (glass paste) and wooden pearls were found, along with fragments of copper spiral wires, a couple of small copper medallions and pieces of fabric made from plant-based fibers. The embellishment of the headband emulates those of the higher layers of society, but affordable materials were used: beads made from wood and pâte de verre instead of pearls and precious stone; copper instead of gold and silver; fabric made from plant-based fibers (flax or hemp) instead of silk. This lead to a conclusion that this was a grave of a person belonging to the middle class.

 

Given that the finds were very fragile and insufficient for a complete reconstruction, the museum officials hired us for a virtual reconstruction.

 

We approached this task from two standpoints. At first we analysed positions of the elements in the grave, and secondly we searched for analogies in literature and ethnographic collections. A photogrammetric 3d model of the ground and the finds was created using photographs from the site. On this model we were able to position the scull and the remaining pieces of decoration. A large number of beads was discovered beside the head, which led us to conclude that the headband probably had elements made from strings of beads that mimicked luxurious temple rings seen on nobility. As embroidery was a common way of decorating clothes in the middle ages, we assumed that headband was embroidered.

 

There is no way to determine with certainty what headband looked like, due to the deterioration of materials over the centuries and dislocation of pieces inside the grave. There are not many examples of medieval headbands that are predominantly decorated with pearls, so this find represents a unique artifact thus far. This virtual reconstruction was performed with the desire to spur reflection and research on medieval female jewelry, clothing and embellishment.

 

These are only three of many possibilities that can be envisioned.

Mystery girl from the middle ages

Exhibition oppening report can be seen on the link below: