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Leather bikini trunks, tied on each side of the hips with leather laces. Small in size, they were probably worn by young girls who were acrobatic dancers.
This Roman bikini was recovered from a backfilled Roman well, Queen Victoria Street, London EC4. For many years these bikini briefs were unique but then a more richly decorated example was found at Shadwell, East London, and other fragments of Roman string briefs have now been found elsewhere in the City. All but one example (which comes from Mainz in Germany) have come from the domestic rubbish dumps of Roman London.
Depictions of bikini-like garments suggest a relationship with acrobats and other sports. A Roman statuette from France depicts a female acrobat wearing the briefs, no top and protective knee-pads. However, an alternative suggestion is that the garments may have been worn as everyday under-clothing or as a sanitary garment.
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