Early 14th century, origin unknown. F-Saint-Denis, Museé d'Art et d'Histoire, Unité d'Archéologie, No. 11.218.163 (MS Inventory 11)

Sea-silk, plain knitting right, two S-spun threads plied in Z direction, diameter 18 cm, damaged

The basilica of Saint Denis, north of Paris, is since the 10th century the burial place of the French kings. In 1978, during excavations in the neighborhood of the Basilica, an undefinable textile fragment was found in a dépotoire, a type of waste pit. On the basis of further discoveries at the same place, it was dated to the beginning of the 14th century.

Microscopic analysis of the material was carried out by Naomi Moore, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique CNRS, Paris. The material was compared with sea-silk provided by the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, which owns several objects of sea-silk.

This cap is the oldest surviving object from sea-silk and so the material evidence that sea-silk was processed at least in the late Middle Ages.

Cap, 14th c., origin unknown. Musée d'Art et d'Histoire, F-Saint Denis (Photo: E. Jacquot, Unité d'Archéologie)
(MS Inventory 11)