Clay model of a bale of wool

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From Dun an Lardhard, Skye

Postcard of Clay model of a bale of wool.
© National Museums Scotland

Clay model of a bale of wool

This miniature Roman clay model in the form of a bale of wool was found at a broch at Dun an Iardhard on Skye. It shows a stage in textile production for which we have little evidence at this time. The model was made at sometime between 80 and 200 AD.

The surprisingly naturalistic model shows a bale of wool bound with a strap. After spinning wool, the yarn would have been wound into balls such as the one represented in the model, or onto bobbins made of bone or wood in readiness for weaving.

Roman objects travelled far beyond the frontier, sometimes as diplomatic gifts and brides, other times passed by native chiefs from one to another. Many examples are clearly high status and valuable goods, but others, such as this model, are more unusual.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-038-015-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.GA 1013
Date: Between 80 and 200 AD
Material: Terracotta; hollow; bound with strap
Dimensions: 2.25" x 1.75" x 1.56"
What: Miniature / bale, wool
Where: Scotland, Inverness-shire, Skye, Dunvegan, Dun an Iardhard
Description: Roman terracotta miniature in the form of a bale of wool, from Dun an Iardhard, Skye
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