Drawings of Anglo-Saxons


Drawings of objects

Anglo-Saxon Combs

The Anglo-Saxons made combs out of bone and antler. The bone came from animals such as horses, cattle, sheep and pigs. The antler came from deer.

There were different types of combs:

  • single-sided
Bone comb from Sutton Courtenay (AN1923.845)
  • double-sided
Double-sided bone comb from Sutton Coutenay (AN1923.821)
  • triangular
Triangular decorated bone comb from Sutton Courtenay (AN1926.81)
Some combs were also decorated.

How did the Anglo-Saxons make combs?

To make a comb, rectangular plates of bone or antler were cut. These would then be used to make the teeth. Cuts were made part way into these plates to make the teeth.

The teeth plates were held together by long strips of bone or anlter which were attached to each side of the teeth plates in order to hold them together. These long strips were often decorated.


Process of making a comb drawn by Hamish age 9

1. Cut flat strips or plates from a larger piece of bone or antler.
2. Place several of these strips or plates together to form comb.
3. Hold plates together with a long strip of antler or bone.
4. Cut teeth of comb.

Drawing by Hamish age 9

Comb bar from Sutton Courtenay (AN1933.537c)
Combs would have taken alot ot time and effort to create so the Anglo-Saxons sometmies had cases to put them in so the teeth did not break, like the ones in the picture did!.
Bone teeth from Abingdon (AN1934.225)
Flea drawn by Hamish age 9

Hamish age 9

Lice drawn by Thomas age 9

Thomas age 9

Why did the Anglo-Saxons use combs?

Combs are quite commonly found on Anglo-Saxon sites, which suggests the Anglo-Saxons were concerned about their appearance. Regular use of combs would also help reduce fleas and head lice.