I will add more information about trousers and leg coverings to this post as I come across it.

The oldest known trousers, including this roughly 3,000-year-old pair with woven leg decorations, from the Yanghai cemetery near the Turfan Oasis in western China. From https://www.sciencenews.org/article/first-pants-worn-horse-riders-3000-years-ago

Trousers and leg coverings are not a necessary part of men’s or women’s outfits. Both can be adequately covered by a robe, dress or tunic. In northern Europe and colder climates, it is possible that leg coverings developed for warmth under men’s shorter tunics. Trousers may have evolved in response to the adoption of horseback riding, as suggested by the discovery of some trousers in tombs in western China dating to between 1300 and 1000 BC. These have a wide crotch, which makes horseback riding much more comfortable (Beck et al 2014).



Reconstruction of Ötzi the Iceman. By Thilo Parg (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
A full case study of Ötzi’s clothing will be presented in another blog post, this is just summary of the evidence for leg coverings. He wore two separate tubular leggings made of pieces of goat and sheep fur sewn together, with loops to attach them to the shoes at the bottom and to a belt at the top edge. They were loose fitting and tapered towards the foot. He covered his crotch with a loin cloth 1m long and 33cm wide made of sheep leather looped over the belt both back and front. Ötzi dates to 3300 BC (Spindler 1993, 139).

Iron Age

There are many representations of men wearing some kind of leg covering in statues and on the Gundestrup Cauldron. This silver cauldron was deposited into the Gundestrup bog in Denmark in the first century BC. It may have been taken from a sanctuary in north-east Gaul called Titelberg (not from Bulgaria as previously argued by some e.g. Kaul & Martens 1995), as iconography on the cauldron and coins from this oppidum are similar (Green 1997, 67). I will write in more detail about this in another blog post. Many of the male figures on the cauldron wear tight fitting tops and short trousers that finish above the knee. They are generally belted, which may imply a two piece outfit, or simply a belt over an all-in-one. The majority of men wearing this outfit appear to be warriors or preparing for battle. The detail of the texture of this outfit suggests some kind of chunky twisted and/or sewn padded armour, but this may be a product of the scale at which the silversmith was working and be meant to represent woven clothing.

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clip_image00247_thumb_sogard_mose_iiThe leg wrappings and lower legs of a man were found in Søgård Mose near Viborg in Denmark in 1944. They are quite late in our sequence, dating to AD 130-320 but similar leg wrappings are likely to have been used for many centuries, as they are simply rectangles of wool wrapped around the lower leg and tied with leather cord (Ravn 2010, 114).



Beck, U, Wagner, M, Li, X, Durkin-Meisterernst, D, Tarasov, P.E 2014. The invention of trousers and its likely affiliation with horseback riding and mobility: A case study of late 2nd millennium BC finds from Turfan in eastern Central Asia. Quaternary International Vol 348, 224-235.

Green, M.J 1997. Exploring the World of the Druids. London, Thames & Hudson.

Kaul, F & Martens, J 1995. Southeast European Influences in the Early Iron Age of Southern Scandinavia. Acta Archaeologica Vol 66, pp 111-161.

Ravn, M 2010. Bodies in Bogs: Bronze and Early Iron Age bog bodies from Denmark. Acta Archaeologica 81-1, pp 106-117.

Spindler, K 1993. The Man in the Ice. London, Weidenfeld & Nicholson.