Toilet, surgical or pharmaceutical instruments (Finds Function 2)

Overall, the finds in this category are neither very numerous nor of particular significance, with the exception of the mirrors and the cosmetic pestles and mortars.

The most common types of toilet instrument - tweezers, nail cleaners and cosmetic instruments of various sorts - are all present at Elms Farm, but there is no great quantity of a single type (Table 60). Most are of middling quality, though one of the spoon-probes would have been rather splendid originally, with elaborate moulding, and inlaid silver wire. The five folding knives may belong in this category, if they are considered to be razors, and possibly some of the other small knives. Some of the stone slab fragments may be mixing palettes for cosmetics or medicines, but none have the bevelled edge typical of such palettes.

The general impression from the group is contradictory; the low numbers of tweezers and nail cleaners might suggest either a lack of money or inclination for personal grooming, but this is contradicted by the larger than expected number of mirrors and the cosmetic grinder sets.

This is one of the few categories that includes copper-alloy objects from pre-Roman contexts, though critical examination of the dating of the contexts suggests that not all are necessarily pre-Roman. The only items that are definitely from pre-conquest contexts are a probable pair of tweezers, and a probable mirror fragment.

The following are copper alloy unless otherwise specified

Nail cleaners

Compared to some types of artefact, nail cleaners are very variable in their shape and decoration. They can occur in pre-conquest contexts (although none on this site is definitely pre-conquest), and continue in use throughout the Roman period. The nail cleaners from a particular site are often more similar to each other than to those from other sites, suggesting localised manufacture, although the five examples from Elms Farm are all of different forms.

The number of nail cleaners found can be regarded as lower than might have been expected; there were, for example, eight from Dragonby, nine from Gorhambury, twelve from Baldock and nine from the settlement at King Harry Lane, Verulamium. Tweezers were also somewhat rarer than might have been expected, with a maximum of sixteen examples (comparative numbers from the same sites are four from Dragonby, seventeen from Gorhambury, twenty-four from Baldock and eleven from King Harry Lane). Recent work on nail cleaners by Nina Crummy (Crummy 2001) confirms the regionality of nail cleaner styles, and suggests that, contrary to previous suppositions, nail cleaners were a southern British development prior to the Roman conquest, and not necessarily an indicator of 'Romanisation'. Crummy (pers. comm.) notes that nail cleaners are rarer in eastern Essex than they are in Hertfordshire or West Essex. The small number from Elms Farm is therefore not unexpected, although it is possible that the number retrieved was reduced by the depredations of illegal metal-detectorists.

Figure 453: Toilet items, 1-30

1. Nail cleaner, prongs missing. Crummy type 2a (as Crummy 1983, 58, no. 1874), with a line down each edge on both faces, and diagonal filing marks. The date for the type is mid- to late 1st century, probably into the 2nd century. Surviving L. 28mm, max. W. 9mm. SF2449, Layer 7666, Group 383, Area G, Period 3

2. Nail cleaner, with a round flat loop in same plane as the blade, and spiral moulding on the neck. Fair condition. L. 42mm, max. W. 6mm. SF1874, Fill 5333, Post-hole 5334, Group 5008, Area J, Period 5-6

3. Probable nail cleaner. A diamond-shaped plate, with a broken suspension loop at one end, the other end broken. It has a narrow, moulded longitudinal line, with a ring-and-dot either side. The centre of one ring-and-dot has corroded through. The back is crimped slightly across the points each side, and there are casting faults on both faces. The patina is very pale, and the metal whitish. In good condition. L. 32mm, W. 16mm. SF6842, Pit 5359, Group 443, Area J, Period 6

4. The top of an enamelled nail cleaner, very similar to Crummy 1983, 62, no. 1941. The stem has two panels of enamel, the upper with patches of blue and the lower with enamel of an uncertain colour. The base of the loop has a transverse moulding. The middle of the back of the stem has a small, circular, non-perforating hole, of unknown purpose. This would have formed part of a ch√Ętelaine set of 2nd-century date. L. 25mm, W. 12mm, hole diam. 0.5mm. SF9514, 3999, Spoil-heap

5. Nail cleaner; flat, with a lozenge-shaped suspension loop in the same plane as the shaft. Decorated on one face only, with transverse lines below the loop, lines down the edge, and four ring-and-dots. The tip is damaged. In poor condition, with a patchy surface. Probably 1st century AD typologically. L. 43mm. SF2742, Machining layer 4000, Area A, unstratified


There were parts of seventeen definite or probable pairs of tweezers from the site. All were made from copper alloy, except for a single pair of iron tweezers. The forms were all simple, and only one is illustrated. The eleven measurable examples were 42-61mm long, and most tapered slightly towards the loop. Seven were decorated with a line down each edge, as the illustrated example. One, from context 4138, had iron corrosion in the loop, possibly the remains of a suspension ring.

Twelve of the pairs of tweezers were from dated contexts, predominantly Periods 2-3. One of the two pairs from Period 2 is dubious; the other is undecorated, and not noticeably different in style from the later examples.

The distribution across the site is fairly uniform, apart from a lack of examples from W, D, E and F. The largest number of examples from a single area (three) came from Area J, two of them from Period 4 contexts, and one undated. In terms of zones, the bulk of the tweezers came from the Central and Southern Zones, with six and seven examples respectively.

6. Not illustrated. Probably part of a pair of tweezers. Three joining strip fragments, slightly tapering, with a line down each edge. L. 32mm, W. 5mm. Another fragment, in poor condition, is probably from a different object. c. 7x4x2mm. SF7006, Fill 11408, Pit 11745, Group 54, Area N, Period 2

7. Not illustrated. Tweezers, probably plain. Most of one arm is missing (fresh break), and the tip of the other arm damaged. In fairly poor condition, with the surface obscured. L. 45mm, W. 5mm. SF5531, Fill 14258, Pit 14257, Group 36, Area L, Period 2A-B

8. Not illustrated. Tweezers, in two joining pieces, broken across the loop. The tips are flared, and originally inturned, but now rather flattened. There is a line down each edge. L. 45mm, W. 4-8mm. SF5258, Fill 11255, Pit 11316, Group 227, Area N, Period 2A

9. Not illustrated. Tweezers, in two pieces, with half of one arm missing. There is a line down each edge. There is iron corrosion in the loop, perhaps the remains of a suspension ring. In fair condition. L. 50mm, min. W. 4mm, max. W. 6mm. SF417, Fill 4138, Pit 4136, Group 729, Area K, Period 3

10. Not illustrated. Just over half of a pair of plain tweezers, bent, and with the tip damaged. In fair condition. L. 48mm, W. 2.5-5mm. SF3360, Layer 5929, Group 3011, Area I, Period 3B

11. Tweezers, with a line down each edge. Complete bar slight damage to the tips of the blades, which are angled in. In fairly good condition. L. 47mm, W. 3-5mm. SF2365, Context 6342, Hearth construction 6343, Group 512, H, Period 3 (Figure 453)

12. Not illustrated. Tweezers, complete bar slight ancient damage to the tips. Decorated with a line down each edge. In fair condition, most of the surface obscured by earth, and distorted. L. 47mm, W. 3.5-5.5mm. SF2440, Prepared surface 7553, Group 386, Area G, Period 3

13. Not illustrated. Tweezers, in five pieces; part of the loop and the tips missing. Decorated with a line down each edge. In fair condition, most of the surface obscured by earth. Surviving L. 39mm, W. 3.5-5mm. SF8223, Fill 8990, Well 8989, Group 662, Area P, Period 3-4

14. Not illustrated. Strip fragment, slightly tapering. A kink at the narrower end suggests that this is half of a pair of tweezers, broken across the loop and flattened. There are two lightly incised lines down the centre, c. 0.5mm apart. In fair condition, with slight damage to the edges. L. 53mm, W. 3-5mm. SF369, Fill 5092, Pit 5093, Group 433, Area J, Period 4

15. Not illustrated. Strip fragment, probably part of a pair of tweezers broken across the loop. The strip is of constant width, with the end missing. The loop would, however, be unusually small for a pair of tweezers, hence the doubt over the identification. L. 34mm, W. 6mm. SF2102, Fill 5445, Post-hole 5446, Group 418, Area J, Period 4

16. Not illustrated. Fragment, probably the loop from a pair of tweezers. L. 17mm, W. 5mm. SF7824, Fill 24214, Pit 24213, Group 696, Area M, Period 4

17. Iron. A pair of tweezers, broken across the loop, and with one arm incomplete. Iron tweezers are much rarer than copper-alloy ones, and occur from the Iron Age onwards. Manning and McDonald (1996, 301, no. 60) list a number of parallels. L. 46mm, W. of strip 7mm. SF1073, Fill 4140, Pit 4139, Group 744, Area K, Period 6 (Figure 453

18. Not illustrated. Tweezers in four pieces, fresh breaks. They are decorated with a line down each edge. Part of the loop and the very tip of the blades are missing. In fair condition, surface partly obscured by earth. L. 42mm, W. 4-6.5mm. SF2857, Fill 5667, Post-hole 5668, Group 648, Area I, Period 6

19. Not illustrated. Half a pair of tweezers, probably plain, but surface obscured by earth. In fair condition. L. 42mm. SF3203, Machining layer 5000, Area J, not phased

20. Not illustrated. Tweezers; one blade, in poor condition, Broken at the start of the loop, tip also broken, and with slight damage to the edges. The blade was almost parallel sided. L. 61mm, section 4.5x1.5mm. SF2357, Machining layer 11000, Area A, unstratified

21. Not illustrated. Tweezers, in seven pieces. They are almost parallel sided, and plain. Margaret Brooks notes that an unusual surface corrosion has occurred where a fine sheen of greyish/whitish tin or copper product has left a smooth layer over the crumbing green mineralisation. This may be copper depletion in an acidic environment. In poor condition. L. c. 48mm, W. 3.5-5mm. SF4037, Machining layer 12000, Area R, unstratified

22. Not illustrated. Two non-joining fragments from a pair of tweezers. Most of the loop and the tips are missing; the breaks are fresh. There is a line down each edge. Surviving L. 29mm, W. 4mm. SF7812, Cleaning layer 24058, Area M, not phased

Cosmetic spoons and ligulae

Within this report, the term ligula has been used for implements with flat terminals and plain handles ending in a point, and 'cosmetic spoon' for implements with small bowl-shaped terminals (Figure 453).

23. Cosmetic spoon, with a flat blade and broken suspension loop. It was made from a sheet folded edge to edge to form the shaft, but left flat at the ends. This is a fairly unusual technique for making toilet implements, but is paralleled at Colchester (Crummy 1983, 60, 1898), from a context dated 2nd-4th century. In good condition, with a light covering of earth. L. 44mm. SF3566, Layer 5927, Group 3024, Area J, Period 3

24. Cosmetic spoon or ligula with a spiral groove on the handle, most of the bowl missing. In two pieces, condition fair. L. 105mm. SF3994, Spread 10330, Group 819, Area F, Period 4

25. Ligula, complete. Flat circular spoon at a slight angle to the shaft. The point is slightly bent. It is very similar to two examples from Verulamium (Goodburn 1984, 41, nos 115-116). SF4138, Fill 4774, Pit 4775, Group 1147, Area K, not dated

26. Not illustrated. Cosmetic spoon, with a small circular bowl at an angle of c. 30 degrees to the shaft, other end missing. In poor condition, surface powdery. L. 14mm, bowl diam. 7mm, depth 2mm. SF830, Machining layer 4000, Area A, unstratified

27. Not illustrated. Ligula, with a pear-shaped, flat scoop, very slightly angled. The other end is missing. In poor condition. L. 61mm, scoop W. 7mm, L. 7mm. SF5264, Fill 9549, Ditch 9575, Group 766, Area D, Period 3A-B

28. Not illustrated. Probable ligula or toilet spoon, in two pieces. A rod, tapering at one end, point missing, other end flattened. Very little of this end survives, but the flat part is at a slight angle to the rod, which is a characteristic of ligulae. In fairly poor condition. L. 108mm. SF3973, Spread 10330, Group 819, Area F, Period 4

Spatula and spatula-probe

29. Spatula, with a long, flat, waisted blade, tip missing. The handle is incomplete, and may have had a probe on the end, as with a similar spatula from a late Tiberian-Claudian pit at Skeleton Green (Partridge 1981, 77, no. 3). L. 121mm. SF6267, Fill 14861, Pit 14533, Group 248, Area L, Period 2B (Figure 453)

30. Spatula-probe, with a flat spatula, bent in antiquity. In fair condition, with some damage to the surface. It appears to be gilded, but this is a trick of preservation (Margaret Brooks). L. 151mm. SF5239, Fill 10636, Pit 10552, Group 299, Area F, Period 2B


Figure 454: Toilet items, 31-53

31. Spoon-probe in three pieces, with recent breaks; bent, almost complete, about 30% of the spoon missing. There is baluster moulding on the neck, very similar to that on a spoon-probe from Segontium, from a late 4th-century context (Allason-Jones 1993, 172, no. 69) In fair condition; the surface is obscured by earth, but all details are clear. L. 134mm. SF2268, Layer 5494, Group 631, Area I, Period 3 B

32. Spoon-probe, complete, but in five pieces and in poor condition. The handle has elaborate spool-and-reel moulding, with silver wire wrapped round the circumference of most of the reels, and in a spiral round the shaft. Elaborate moulded decoration is common on such implements, sometimes with the addition of inlaid white metal wire (an example from Colchester has wire set into a moulded spiral groove; Crummy 1983, 60, no. 1927). XRF analysis by Margaret Brooks showed that the base metal is a copper/tin bronze, and the wire is silver. L. 162mm. SF5141, Cleaning layer 5603, Area I, not dated

Incomplete toilet implements

33. Octagonal sectioned rod, tapering and curved at one end. One end is probably broken at a moulding, with two grooves above. The other end is broken, and has a separate piece of copper alloy wrapped round it, with the edges not quite meeting, bearing cross-hatched decoration. While the rod is in fair condition, where the surface survives, the strip is in poor condition, and is presumably a different alloy. L. 63mm, max. Diam. 5.5mm. SF8135, 3999, Spoil-heap (Figure 454)

This is probably part of a toilet implement. An octagonal section is a common feature of toilet implements, occurring, for example, on a spoon-probe and a ?pick from Colchester (Crummy 1983, 60, no. 1929 and 61, no. 1940). The latter object has a cross-hatched drum below the suspension loop, integral with the shaft, and is from a context dated to c. 60-125. As a decorative element, cross-hatched drums also feature on a number of types of hairpin (Cool 1990: groups 5C, 9, 20 and 23). All these types except 23 (which differs in having the hatched drum as the head) were being produced by c. AD 125, consistent with the date for the implement from Colchester. A similar date can therefore be suggested for the object from Heybridge

34. Not illustrated. Rod, with a hexagonal section, both ends broken, slightly bulbous. This is probably the shaft from a toilet implement, such as a spoon-probe, which often had twisted or polygonal sectioned shafts. Cf. Crummy 1983, 60, no. 1929. L 85mm, max. W. of section 3mm. SF6501, Cleaning layer 5602, Area I, not dated

35. Not illustrated. Twisted rod in four pieces, now distorted. Only three pieces now join, although the fourth is undoubtedly part of the same object. In fairly poor condition, broken both ends. This is probably part of the handle of a toilet implement such as a spoon or a spoon-probe, rather than a bracelet. The diameter is variable, and part of the rod is untwisted. L. (straight) c. 92mm. SF4692, Machining layer 11000, Area A, unstratified

36. Not illustrated. Probe, shaft broken. Probably part of spoon-probe or spatula probe. L. 73mm. SF7954, Fill 22051, Well 22210, Group 448, Area J, Period 6


37. Copper-alloy handle, with a small part of the iron blade surviving. The handle is cast in one piece, with a concave edge on the blade side. The handle would have continued along the edges of the blade, but is broken. This is the handle from a framed razor, of the type discussed by Boon (1991), with a zoomorphic terminal similar to the leopard's head terminal of a knife from Vindolanda (Blake 1999, 5, no. 600), from a context dated AD 200-213. The latter handle is decorated with spots, but no trace of decoration survives on the Elms Farm example, which is rather crudely modelled. An even more debased example was found at the villa at Dicket Mead, Herts (Rook 1987, 147, no. 12). L. 30mm, W. 24mm. SF6789, Machining layer 11000, Area A, unstratified (Figure 454)


Definite or probable mirror fragments came from eight contexts, potentially representing the remains of at least nine mirrors. This is a large assemblage in terms of mirrors, although none was complete enough to confidently assign them to any of Lloyd-Morgan's groups (Lloyd-Morgan 1981). Where edges are present, four have straight edges and three have curved edges. Decoration is confined to single or double lines flanking the edge on the back of the mirror. The illustrated piece is not definitely a mirror, as it is somewhat thin, and not definitely tinned. The diameter and thinness are, however, consistent with the mirrors of Lloyd-Morgan's Group S - Mirror Boxes (Lloyd-Morgan 1981, 78). These are small 'almost paper thin' silvered bronze mirrors set into small circular boxes. The earliest of these boxes bear coins (or copies of coins) of Nero, many datable to AD 64-68, and are thus slightly later than the Period 2 date of deposition at Elms Farm. The only other copper-alloy object from the same context as the mirror was a Cool Group 21 hairpin. Cool (1990, 150) saw the use of hairpins as a post-invasion introduction, which suggests that context 11133 must have been deposited at the very end of Period 2.

38. Sector of a circular sheet mirror, with two grooves round the circumference. Now rather buckled, it appears to have been deliberately cut. Margaret Brooks notes that it is probably tinned. Diam. 38mm. SF5820, Fill 11133, Pit 11221, Group 226, Area N, Period 2 (Figure 454)

39. Not illustrated. Plate fragment with a straight edge, probably from a mirror. The metal appears very grey, and cleaning with a glass bristle brush revealed a dark, silvery appearance with a high mirror finish. XRF analysis by Margaret Brooks showed results compatible with speculum, although the heavy corrosion precludes absolute certainty. c. 34x15mm, Th. 1mm. SF1200, Fill 4457, Pit 4517, Group 62, Area K, Period 2

40. Not illustrated. Three small joining plate fragments with white metal coating. No original edges. Probably part of a mirror. c. 18x7mm. SF3406, Floor 6579, Group 488, Area H, Period 2B-3

41. Not illustrated. Three mirror fragments with a shiny grey high tin surface. One piece has a straight bevelled edge. The largest piece is c. 27x18mm. SF2215, Layer 10179, Group 355, Area F, Period 3

42. Not illustrated. Rectangular plate fragment, probably part of a mirror; Margaret Brooks notes that it is a high tin bronze. The surface is rather scratched, but appears to have one deliberately incised straight line. 20x11x1.5mm. SF7296, Machining layer 11000, Area A, unstratified

43. Not illustrated. Two joining fragments from the edge of a circular mirror in a ?high tin alloy. The back is poorly finished. Diam. 134mm, Th. 2mm. SF8400, Machining layer 11000, Area A, unstratified

44. Not illustrated. Small fragments of plate in very poor condition, one with a shiny grey surface. These are probably part of a mirror, although possibly burnt. SF4771, 12080, Unknown cut 12371, Group 978, Area R, Period 4

45. Not illustrated. Fragment from the edge of a circular mirror. The back has a concentric groove, 6mm in from the edge, which is rounded. The shiny grey surface has patches of warty corrosion. Diam. 96mm, Th. 2mm. SF4191, Fill 14022, Pit 14098, Area K, Period 4-5

46. Not illustrated. Plate fragment, with a rounded edge. One face has a shiny grey surface. Probably a right-angled corner from a mirror. It is disfigured by warty corrosion. XRF analysis by Margaret Brooks showed a leaded tin/copper bronze with quite a high proportion of tin. 23x19x3.5mm. SF7693, Fill 21957, Post-hole 21801, Group 440, Area J, Period 5

The cosmetic grinders by Ralph Jackson

Cite this as: Jackson, R. 2015, The cosmetic grinders, in M. Atkinson and S.J. Preston Heybridge: A Late Iron Age and Roman Settlement, Excavations at Elms Farm 1993-5, Internet Archaeology 40.

Four pestles and three fragmentary mortars were found during the excavations (Figure 454).


47. End-looped mortar. A small example, with a short elliptical bow, an angular keel, plain, steep, lightly convex walls, a shallow U-sectioned groove, and a flattened knob terminal with a ring moulding. The broken end-loop was evidently in the form of a stylised bird's head, of which only the everted bill remains. L. 46.4mm, wt 11g. SF1050, Machining layer 4000, Area A, unstratified

48. End-looped mortar. Only the loop and a small section of the adjacent bow survive. The bow has a rounded keel and a U-sectioned groove. The loop is in the form of a neatly wrought stylised bird's head with a circular eye and a dished bill, enhanced by a moulded rib that runs around the perimeter from the back of the head / loop to the brow above the bill. There is wear polish inside the eye. L. 23.9mm, wt 3g. SF1867, Machining layer 4000, Area A, unstratified

49. End-looped mortar. A broken fragment comprising the greater part of the bow. The walls are plain, steep and lightly convex, the keel is rounded, the groove, of narrow U-shaped cross-section, is deep and capacious, with a narrow basal wear facet, and the terminal is a simple, plain, blunt point, now chipped at the tip. L. 37.8mm, wt 7g. SF4917, Prepared surface 9645, Group 765, Area D, Period 3 B, early to mid-2nd century AD


50. End-looped pestle. The long, slender elliptical rod is of ovoid cross-section, which tapers to a lentoid cross-section on the upturned tip. The underside of the tip is worn and polished through use. The tiny loop has a D-shaped eye and a neat ring moulding at the junction with the rod. L. 55.7mm, wt 5g. SF2443, Make-up layer 7636, Group 854, Area G. Period 3-4, later 1st to mid-3rd century AD

51. End-looped pestle. The lightly curved, slender, circular-sectioned rod swells beneath the upturned lentoid-sectioned tip. The loop is tiny and simple, with a tear-shaped eye. L. 48.1mm, wt 4g. SF7345, Context 14985, Well 14984, Group 710, Area L, Period 4-5, later 2nd to mid-4th century AD

52. ?End-looped pestle. The strongly curved D-sectioned rod is unusually short and broad. Its collar-like loop preserves the remains of incuse decoration. The object is probably a pestle, though it may be a buckle pin. L. 30.9mm, wt 6g. SF3276, Cleaning layer 9403, Area D, not dated

53. Centre-looped pestle. The twin-tapered elliptical rod has a sub-triangular cross-section with a light wear facet along the keel. The loop is a large ring with a circular eye. L. 45.7mm, wt 7g. SF 2872, Machining layer 11000, Area A, unstratified

Cosmetic grinders are a distinctively British type (for full discussion see Jackson 1985; 1993; and 2010). Far from being the rare and exotic amulets once thought, it is now clear that they were widely used toilet implements that had their origin in the Late Iron Age. Some 600 have been recorded and their distribution is almost exclusively within Britain: the exception that proves the rule is the recently discovered set from Thérouanne, Pas-de-Calais (Jackson and Thuillier 1999). In date they range from the 1st century BC to the 5th century AD, though the majority appears to belong to the period 2nd to 3rd century AD, a bracket to which the three dated examples (49, 50 and 51) from Elms Farm broadly correspond.

Cosmetic grinders were made as sets, comprising two components, a grooved mortar and a solid rod-like pestle, which were almost invariably provided with a suspension loop, positioned either centrally or at one end. Most, like all seven of the Elms Farm examples, have been found as individual components, but some twenty complete sets have been recorded. As on nos 49, 50 and 53, evidence of wear is often found on the working face of both components, and, although conclusive proof is lacking, there is strong circumstantial evidence that these little bronze kits were used for the preparation and application of colourings to the face. There is great variety in size, form and decor, and the larger (mortar) component is often elaborated, especially at the terminals, which may take the form of zoomorphic or ornithomorphic heads. However, moulded knobs or plain terminals are more common, as on nos 47 and 49. A frequent device was to work the loop of end-looped mortars and pestles into the form of a bird's head, often highly stylised, and nos 47 and 48 are examples of this type.

Although most cosmetic grinders were cast bronzes, no two are identical because much of the decoration was applied at the finishing stage. It seems very probable that this individuality was a product of the personal nature of cosmetic sets - they were especially intimate possessions, often selected as grave-goods, and it is easy to imagine that some people would wish to personalise them by 'customising' the decor as well as, perhaps, choosing or commissioning the overall form and design. Cosmetic grinders appear also to have been among the classes of object sometimes dedicated at temples (as, for example, at Wicklewood, Norfolk, and, less certainly, at Brigstock, Northamptonshire, Coleshill, West Midlands, Springhead, Kent, Thistleton, Leicestershire and Walsingham, Norfolk). Like coins and brooches they were ubiquitous, and they included simple, not excessively costly items, as well as more elaborate, higher status pieces. Furthermore, as personalia associated with body care they may well have had added meaning as votives. However, none of those from Elms Farm was found within the temple or its precinct, and the Elms Farm cosmetic sets are perhaps best regarded as part of the general detritus of the settlement. In view of the evidence for metalworking it is quite conceivable that some, if not all, were made at the site. If individually they are of modest appearance, numerically they are of some interest, for none of them belongs together, so they represent seven separate sets. Although their numbers are of a different order to the two hundred and fifty or so brooches found, they nevertheless imply a currency suggesting everyday usage of cosmetic sets at this relatively low-status rural settlement.


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