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Lincolnshire

An important collection comes from Lincoln, but despite a substantial catalogue of publications on the archaeology of the town (e.g. Dobney et al. 1996; Jones et al. 2003; O'Connor 1982; Perring 1981), little has been written on the combs. The exception is the small corpus from Flaxengate (Mann 1982). Here, combs come from levels dating to between the 9th and 11th centuries, but in many cases individual finds cannot be securely dated. Moreover, they are heavily fragmented, so that assignation to type is difficult. Nonetheless, it is possible to say that Types 3, 4, 6, 7, and 8 are represented, while Types 9, 13, and 14 are notably absent from the site. Finds from elsewhere in the city tell a similar story, though we should note the presence of a fine example of Type 9 from Silver Street.

Beyond Lincoln, few well-published settlement sites evidence significant collections of combs from the 9th century onward (the collection from Flixborough potentially constitutes an exception; Foreman 2009, and see below). It is, however, possible to say a little about combs prior to the dawn of the Viking Age. Early Anglo-Saxon cemeteries are well represented, and the present author's own survey of Lincolnshire material has demonstrated the presence of Type 12 combs at the 6th- to 7th-century cemetery at Castledyke South, Barton-upon-Humber (see also Drinkall and Foreman 1998) while collections from a number of broadly contemporary cemeteries comprise combs of fragmentary (and often burnt) single- and double-sided forms, including Types 1a, 1b, 10 and 11. In particular, the large cremation cemetery at Cleatham provides good evidence for the use and disposal of combs of both single- and double-sided forms in the 5th to 6th century. Interestingly, at Cleatham, where numbers are large enough to allow the tracking of chronological trends, 70% of identifiable combs were single-sided (i.e. Types 1a and 1b), though the relative number of double-sided forms increased over time (Leahy 2007, 205-7). Also of note is the small collection from the 6th/7th- to mid-9th-century settlement at Riby Cross Roads, which includes a number of Type 3 handled combs, as well as fragments of double-sided composite forms (Foreman 1994).

Lincolnshire's other key Anglo-Saxon and medieval sites are the manorial settlement at Goltho, and the high-status rural site of Flixborough. The former has only a very few combs (probably best identifiable as Type 2b; MacGregor 1987, fig. 161), while the latter has a large, recently published comb collection, consisting primarily of combs of Types 2a, 2b, 3, and 12 (Foreman 2009). These collections should be seen in the context of the longer regional tradition outlined above.

 

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