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

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

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Abstract

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: 9789088903762
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 2 December 2016
Last Modified: 26 Dec 2018 21:53
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/96549

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