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from Lyking, Orkney

Postcard of Comb.
© National Museums Scotland


These two fragments of an unburnt bone comb were found in a mound at Lyking in Orkney with an iron spearhead and buckle. They are from a Scandinavian burial, but were found with burnt bones, suggesting a cremation rather than the more normal inhumation burial.

The comb was made from pieces of bone or antler cut into teeth, riveted together between two connecting plates on top. Here, one of the tooth plates and a decorated connecting plate which preserves some rivets survive.

Combs of this type 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.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-043-750-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.IL 213
Date: Between 900 and 1000
Material: Bone; round backed comb
What: Comb / portion
Where: Scotland, Orkney, Sandwick, Lyking
Description: Comb / portion
  • Graham-Campbell, James and Batey, Colleen E. Vikings in Scotland. An Archaeological Survey. Edinburgh: University Press, 1998, pp 59, 144, 150. 
  • Grieg, Sigurd. Viking Antiquities in Scotland (=Viking Antiquities in Great Britain and Ireland, Part II, ed. by Haakon Shetelig). Oslo: H. Aschehoug & Co., 1940, p 80. 
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