The Baltic States

Across the eastern Baltic, little from Lithuania has been published in Germanic languages, though Birger Nerman's excavations in the Vendel period barrows at Grobin-Seeburg, Latvia, are notable for their recovery of a number of fragmentary Type 5 combs (Nerman 1958, taf. 21, 23, 24, 29, 37, 39, 45, 47, 50, 53, 56). More recently, Silvia Tilko has published (in Latvian) a number of combs (Tilko 2000; 2003; 2006). Medieval combs from towns such as Riga seem to be dominated by one-piece (Type 14a) and long-toothed combs that need not concern us here (see Tilko 2000; 2003; Castle Research Centre 2004-2009), but excavations at the cemetery of Dole Vampeniesi facilitated the recognition of combs with cases (probably Type 6), as well as a number of examples of Type 14a (Tilko 2006, 269-81).

More is known about Estonian combs, thanks in large part to the work of Heidi Luik (Luik 1998; 1999a; 2001; 2005; 2008). Three Type 5 combs are known from hillforts and settlements in Estonia, while there are nine (mostly fragmentary) examples of Type 6 (Luik 1999b, 101-3). Nonetheless, the greater proportion of combs known from Estonia come from excavations in the medieval towns, and 80% thus fit into classes 9, 13, and 14a. The relatively small number of combs currently published in Estonia is probably related to the lack of major interventions carried out to date, and it is notable that recent excavations in Tallinn and Tartu have swelled numbers considerably (Luik 1999a; 1999b).

The comments facility has now been turned off.

Archived Comments

For Latvia, see also: Tilko, Silvija 2011. Kaula kemmes no Daugavas lejteces kapulaukijem. [Bone combs from the 10th-13th century cemeteries of the lower Daugava area, with English Summary]. - Archaeologija un Etnografij 25: 159-181. Thanks to Dr Heidi Luik for this update. Steve Ashby


© Internet Archaeology/Author(s)
University of York legal statements | Terms and Conditions | File last updated: Tue Sep 20 2011