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Copper-alloy frame of a comb case? with attached bone? fragment

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posted on 2021-10-26, 19:44 authored by Helena HamerowHelena Hamerow
Bronze comb-case? scabbard mount?A fragment of bone decorated on both sides with double-ring-and-dot ornament is loosely attached by a split pin type staple to an object closely resembling a bronze pin with flattened lobe head, round sectioned shaft decorated on one side only by 5 groups of 3 transverse grooves. Its end, however, is flattened out and gripped and riveted firmly between the outward turned rounded ends of a strip of stout bronze bent into an oval hoop: the pin meets this hoop at right angles and is quite rigid and the bone fragment swings loosely on it. Originally there was another such bronze hoop, not attached to the pin. Originally also the grave contained further pieces of bone or ivory decorated with ring-and-dot circlets and diagonal cross hatching.Vera Evison discusses this complex of bronze and bone as part of a knife sheath mouthpiece, comparing one from Leiden Museum (pl. ix.d), but this not very plausible.The bronze pin object looks as if meant for use as a toilet article, but only one side meant to be visible. The bone likely to have formed part of a comb and its case - the bronze hoops to hold it together, and the whole to open on a sliding principle leaving the pin free for use along with the opened comb. Pin for parting hair or for scratching or an ear pick or cosmetic spatula? A man's grave, however. Attention to hair or beard?


Grave ID

Kingston Down Grave 16

Object ID


Catalogue Number

M 6102


copper alloy, worked animal bone/antler, organic material (Sonia Hawkes Material Notes; bronze, bone, ivory) (Antiquarian Material; brass, bone, ivory)

Complete Keyword List (Including Alternatives)

unidentified, miscellaneous, comb case, sheath (Sonia Hawkes Keyword; comb case, scabbard mount, knife sheath mouthpiece, toilet article) (Antiquarian Keyword; sword scabbard)




National Museums Liverpool


Mayer Collection

Original Collection


Category ID


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