Length: 10.000 cm
Length: 10.000 cm (comb)
Gift of N.W.J. Westlake
Prehistory and Europe
Antler comb with matching case
Viking, 9th-10th century
From York, England
A thousand years old and still got all its teeth
Combs such as this are commonly found throughout the Viking world. This comb and case are from York, the former Viking capital then called Jorvik. They were found in the nineteenth century.
comb and case are made of several pieces of antler fitted together
with iron rivets. Decoration on the comb is the same on both sides.
It has very little ornament, other than simple
Both men and women wore their hair long in the Viking period. Combs probably acted as implements for removing lice as much as for making the hair look beautiful.
Like many smaller combs, this comb and case have holes in them for hanging from a belt or brooch. Comb cases were made to protect the delicate teeth from being accidentally broken. This seems to have worked here as this comb still has all its teeth. This is very rare.
J. Graham-Campbell, Viking artefacts: a select cat (London, The British Museum Press, 1980)