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Anglo-Saxon Dyes

There are multiple books and great deal of research on Anglo-Saxon textile finds, however, it is difficult to write about fabric dyes in the Anglo-Saxon period, because two-thirds of the large fabric finds have no detectable dyes and have been interpreted as natural fleece (PWR).  Examples of colour patterning is very rare, with only eight examples over the whole Anglo-Saxon period.

Larger fabrics with dyes are either blue, green, brown, or yellow, with reds and purples only found in embroidery, narrow bands, and accessories.

Blues were obtained from woad and yellows from a dye plant containing luteolin (probably weld).  Prior to the 7th century, reds were produced using lady's bedstraw (only purpurin found in the fibres), but in the 7th century, the Anglo-Saxons were using madder (purpurin and aliziran).


References: more complete list in the bibliography

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