Woollen Caps Worn by Dutch Whalers, anonymous, c. 1650 - c. 1700
In 1980 archaeologists investigated the graves of 185 Dutchmen – whale hunters, and workers at whale oil refineries – who had died on or near Spitsbergen in the 17th century. Many skeletons were still wearing their knitted woollen head coverings. These caps were highly personal. The men were bundled up against the severe cold and could only be recognized by the colours and patterns of their caps. Presumably this is the reason why the caps went with them into their graves.