A Byzantine Shirt from Manazan Caves, Turkey
A Byzantine community lived in dwellings carved from the rock at Manazan near modern Karaman in southern central Turkey, leaving a necropolis containing 100-150 well-preserved corpses. Most of the tomb contents had unfortunately been looted by the time the shirt and some other textiles were recovered during a rescue excavation in 1991.
Figure 1 - The Manazan mummy in Karaman Museum, Turkey.
A full technical examination has been performed (Cardon, 1993) but has not been published to date. The following is therefore based on the observations and photographs of Dawson (2003):
CONSTRUCTING YOUR REPLICA MANAZAN SHIRT
FABRIC AND LAYOUT: Use sturdy dress-weight linen (not linen shirting, too light) with a tight weave, undyed - raw (ecru) or bleached.
GENERAL SEAMS: Stitch type is whip stitch unless otherwise noted, use doubled linen or cotton thread. The main seams are a form of run-and-fell construction, quite narrow, with all raw edges hidden, sewn with whip stitches (saw-tooth fell) .
Figure 3 - The tatbeet seam recommended for major construction:
I usually do the neck first as its easier to do it before the garment is put together.
Figure 4 - Inside facing with neck hole and slit cut. Seam allowances shown as darkened areas.
4. Cut a matching hole and slit in the main body panel. Turn the edges of the slit inward and sew them together, as shown in Figure 5,1. Again I would use running stitch for this. Run a coarse running stitch around the neck hole to keep it tidy - no need to hem it as the edges will be covered by the collar later.
Figure 5 - Construction of the neck closure: 1 - finishing the neck slit. 2 - The external flap and where to attach the collar (A,B,C,D).
5. Cut the outside flap. Start with a rectangle with the width the same as your neck hole, and long enough to cover the whole front slit and about half as much again. Then cut along a straight line from about the mid point on the lower side to the upper left corner, as shown in Figure 5,2 above.
Figure 6 - Forming and attaching the collar:
8. The collar is made from a strip of linen, about 8 cm wide and 60 cm long. Attach one edge to the outside of the neckline with a fine running stitch, as shown in Figure 6,1.
BODY: NOTE - the shirt can be quickly assembled and checked for fit by using only the first step of the tatbeet seam shown in Figure 3,1.
Figure 7 - Double hem constructed with whip stitch.