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Combs and comb case from Brough of Birsay, Orkney

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Combs and comb case from Brough of Birsay, Orkney
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These four antler combs, one very fragmentary, and comb case were found at the Brough of Birsay in Orkney. They show different styles of combs used by Viking settlers between 800 and 1100.

The combs were made by cutting small plates of antler into teeth, and then riveting these between two connecting plates in the middle. All the combs preserve iron rivets, except the third from the top which uses bronze. Some combs and the case are decorated with ring and dot motifs or incised lines.

Combs were widely distributed in northern Europe during the Viking period, and their places of production are not certain. Some have elaborate decoration and cases. They are found in both men's and women's graves as well as settlements.

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