Drawings of Anglo-Saxons


Drawings of objects

Anglo-Saxon Needles

What were Anglo-Saxon needles made of?

Anglo-Saxon needles were made from lot of different materials. Metal needles could be made from iron and bronze, but they were also made from bone and antler.

Look at these examples:

Iron needle from Chadlington (AN1930.764)

Iron needle (AN1930.764) found by E.T. Leeds in a grave at Chadlington in Oxfordshire together with a bone comb (AN1930.762), iron knife (AN1930.763) and fragments of pottery (AN1930.765). It is uncertain whether the grave was male or female.


Bone needle (AN1923.859) found by E.T. Leeds in a house (House XI) at Sutton Courtenay in Oxfordshire. It is not certain if this object is a needle it could also be a pin. Bone needle from Sutton Courtenay

Metal needles were stronger, had a sharper point and could be made smaller than bone needles but they also took more time to make and required the skills of a blacksmith to make them. Bone needles could be made by anyone and animal bones were always available to Anglo-Saxon farmers.

Would different needles have different uses?

Small metal needles were probably preferred for delicate sewing, such as embroidery and for use on finer materials such as linen and silk. Whereas larger and thicker needles would have been better for sewing coarser materials, such as wool.

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