Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

Combs and comb production in the Western Isles during the Norse period

Sharples, Niall ORCID: and Dennis, Ian 2016. Combs and comb production in the Western Isles during the Norse period. Hunter, Fraser and Sheridan, Alison, eds. Ancient Lives. Object, people and place in early Scotland. Essays for David V. Clarke on his 70th birthday., Leiden, Netherlands: Sidestone Press, pp. 331-357.

Full text not available from this repository.


This paper explores the significance of an assemblage of combs and comb-making debris from a Norse settlement, Bornais, in the Western Isles of Scotland. The excavation of an 11th century AD house recovered a substantial assemblage of combs which appear to have been brought to the house to be dismantled systematically. It is argued that many of the combs were reworked into decorative pendants and reusable fragments were extracted to create repair kits. On the basis of a series of experimental reconstructions the process of comb production is reconsidered and the insight gained is applied to a comb-makers’ workshop found at Bornais that dates to the 13th century AD. The presence of this workshop and of several Norwegian-style combs suggests the continuation of contacts with Scandinavia beyond the Scottish takeover of the islands.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
Publisher: Sidestone Press
ISBN: 9789088903823
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 2 December 2016
Last Modified: 02 Nov 2022 09:50

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item