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Northern Poland

Evidence for combs (principally, or so it appears, of Types 5 and 6) and their manufacture have been recovered from the late 8th to early 11th-century settlement and trading site of Janów Pomorski (Truso) (Jagodziński 2009; Jagodziński and Kasprzycka 1991), but we await full publication of the excavations and artefactual corpus. Elsewhere in northern Poland, comb collections from (inter alia) Szczecin, Kolobrzeg, Wolin, and Gdansk are well studied. Cnotliwy's work divides these combs into a number of small morphological classes, often along lines different from those used here, but it is nonetheless clear that our Types 5, 6, 7, and 8 are present at these sites in early (8th- to 11th-century) phases, followed by Types 9 and 13 from the later 10th and 11th centuries. Type 14a seems a persistent occurrence for a period centred on the 11th and 12th centuries. Some of these combs may have been imported, but Cnotliwy argues that a large proportion are local manufactures, and there is substantial evidence for production at settlements and urban centres between the 9th and 15th centuries (in particular at Wolin, Kolobrzeg, and Gdansk (Cnotliwy 1973, 314).

It is worth stopping to consider in a little more detail the important early medieval trading site of Wolin. Here, combs from the 10th and 11th centuries include Types 6, 7 and 8a/b (see Cnotliwy 1956). Ideally, this collection would be revisited, taking into account more recently excavated material, but on the basis of the published data, Type 5 combs appear to be less well represented than Types 6-8b. This is to be expected, given current thinking regarding Wolin's relatively late development into a significant player on the European stage (e.g. Sindbaek 2006). One may also note that the 10th-century levels included a number of Type 8 combs, rather than being dominated by Type 9, as we see in later Viking-Age contexts from the towns north of the Baltic Sea.

 

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