VM_365 Day 110. Iron Age Weaving Comb

VM 110

Today’s image is of an Iron Age weaving comb from the Iron Age settlement at Dumpton Gap, Broadstairs.

Most clothing would have been made from sheeps wool woven by hand on wooden looms. Combs such as these were used to push threads in place while weaving. Other artefacts associated with cloth making such as loom weights, used to hold the threads taut on the loom, and spindle whorls, used for making the yarn are also commonly found on settlement sites.

This particular comb was found in a rubbish pit dating to the late Iron Age, around 25 BC-25 AD. It is made from animal bone and has been decorated although the irregular lines you can see on the surface are caused by tiny plant rootlets scaring the surface whilst it was in the ground.

It is not clear if this comb had actually been used as it appears to be unfinished. If you look carefully at the upper part of the comb there are four circles marked out, two overlapping, and two others are visible in the middle on the right side. These circles were scored using a compass and would then have been carved to form ring and dot decoration. The decoration on this comb did not progress beyond scoring the circles; perhaps it was a practice piece, as two sets of the circles appear to overlap and it was discarded, perhaps the teeth broke before the decoration could be finished, or, perhaps it was needed before it could be finished and was used anyway.

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