600-Year-Old Bra Blows Hole in History of Lingerie

Bras were commonly thought to have been worn for just a century
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 19, 2012 2:25 PM CDT
600-Year-Old Bra Blows Hole in History of Lingerie
This undated picture publicly provided by the Archeological Institute of the University of Innsbruck shows a medieval bra.   (AP Photo/University Innsbruck Archeological Institute)

The history of lingerie has long gone something like this: Corsets came first, then bras made their way onto the scene about 100 years ago. But a few scraps of linen found in an Austrian castle is turning that long-held story on its head. The AP reports that among 2,700 textile fragments found by archeologists at Lemberg Castle in 2008 were four bras that have been carbon-dated and proven to be 600 years old.

The bras, which are just getting press now, were both functional and fashionable, according to a statement from the University of Innsbruck, which describes them as intricately decorated with lace and other ornamentation—ostensibly to please a lover. The archeologists also turned up what looks like a pair of panties. But those actually would have been worn by a man, says the lead archeologist; women went commando under their flowing skirts back then. (More archaeology stories.)

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