Scribd exclusive preview of Collections Online launching October 2010

A first look at an intriguing object from our collection soon to be featured alongside thousands of objects in our online public database, Collections Online.

Roman Leather bikini briefs 1st century AD
These briefs would have been worn by a young female, possibly an acrobat. Depictions of bikini-like garments suggest a relationship with acrobats and other sports. However, an alternative suggestion was that the garments may have been worn as everyday under-clothing or as a sanitary garment. It is made from a single piece of leather, hour-glass in shape with adjustable side fastenings. There are hems around the legs. Each corner is reinforced on the inside with two rectangles of leather with a lace looped through. One fastening knot remains, where the garment was tied at the left hip, and shows that it had been tied in a ‘granny’ knot. This London example has deeply defined stretch marks across the front panel indicating that they have been worn and the type of stretch marks and size would indicate that they were worn by a teenage girl. As Senior Curator, Jenny Hall, adds: "it just goes to show that nothing’s new – those 1950’s bikinis were just following a Roman trend!" Found: Bank of London & South America, Queen Street, City of London, 1953 down a Roman well. Measurements: length 340mm; width 220mm Owner Status: permanent collection

To discover more fascinating objects from the Museum’s collection be sure to visit from October.

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