Year 9 Day 295

I finally have clothes suited for a cold climate!

Between Rainbow’s experience, Songbird’s observations of the clothing of the northern hunters, and a painfully small amount of information I managed to get out of the computer, the two women managed to combine the reindeer hide and a number of the smaller hides I’ve traded for to make me a fitted, furred pullover and a sort of trousers made of furs wrapped and tied around my legs. The major problem with what Rainbow was doing was bulk under the arms; use of the smaller, thinner skins in those areas has given me a tunic that is warm but lets me move freely.

I’ve tested them out with a short trip to the far north – only a short one, because at this time of year, fifteen days after the southern solstice, there is no daylight. Animals are active. I heard wolves howling, and in the moonlight saw a fox, its ears turning like radar dishes, ghosting over the snow. After a moment it gathered itself, dived headfirst into the snow, and came up crunching something. Feeling with my mind through the snow, I found a number of small, active rodents tunneling under the snow, just as the ones I know tunnel under the earth.

It’s far too cold to stay there for any length of time, but if I wrapped myself in the bearskin I could watch how the animals deal with the Arctic night.

Those familiar with anthropology will have noticed that I have assumed that the Neanderthals of Europe wore fitted clothing, in contrast to the wrapped and tied skins assumed by Jean Auel. Well, the Neanderthals were adapted physically to a cold climate. Further, anthropologists are now beginning to consider that homo sapiens sapiens may well have borrowed some technology, especially in preparing skins, from their Neanderthal cousins. I’ve assumed that the Neanderthals were adapted culturally as well as physically to the cold, and that part of that adaptation was fitted fur clothing (at least in winter.) Such clothing would not have been needed in much of Africa, especially during daytime. Clothing would probably have been for adornment and protection from the sun, if used at all, and any need for warmth at night would have been better served by fire, huddling together, or whole hides.

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