England and Wales

Map of England showing comb finds


North-eastern England

The long history of medieval research in north-eastern England, together with the publication of a number of urban excavations undertaken in the last 30 years, mean that our knowledge of the comb repertoire of the region is unusually detailed. Though our understanding of the combs from Yorkshire and Lincolnshire is more thorough than our knowledge of material from Northumberland, in general the north-east is characterised by a wealth of excavated evidence from the Roman period onwards, and much of this material is well published.

North-western England

Despite the presence of important settlements, harbours, and market sites in this region, few combs are known from the area, and as a result none have been published in comparative perspective.

The west and south Midlands

In general, material is relatively sparse or not yet published in an easily accessible synthetic form. Viking-Age activity in this region invites further research.

East Midlands and East Anglia

The East Midlands region remains an area for future study. Although East Anglia provides some of the richest comb material in the British Isles, it has yet to be synthesised within the wider corpus.

London and south-eastern England

In south-east England, where a number of urban excavations have taken place, we have substantial evidence to work with. Nonetheless, combs from London have been rather inconsistently published, and there is a pressing need for synthesis.

South-western England

The collections from the south-west (and the nationally-important collections from Southampton and Winchester) share a synergy with those of Greater London, Kent and Essex, where one may perceive a paucity of Types 5, 6 and 7. Of course, well-excavated and published sites of 9th- to 11th-century date are scarce in this region, so any conclusions must remain tentative. While one may speculate on the reasons for this lacuna, for the present the verdict must remain open on the popular comb fashions of Late Saxon southern England.


Combs are not frequent finds at early medieval sites in Wales, but those that are known are morphologically diverse.

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