Viking combs discovered in England | A study of the presence of ancient people in the United Kingdom

The unearthed collection of Viking combs is “exceptional and unique in the UK”, according to archaeologists who have released a study on the unearthed treasures. The antler and bone finds were made at Ipswich, Suffolk, during 40 excavations over 20 years.

Authors Ian Ridler and Nikola Trzaska Nartowski said the “extraordinary sequence of Viking combs unparalleled anywhere else in the country” attests to the presence of Vikings in Ipswich in the late 9th century.

Riedler and Trzaska-Nartowski are among the authors of this book A recently published analysis of 1,341 finds and 2,400 pieces of debris It was discovered during excavations between 1974 and 1994.

“It was always our intention that the study would have a European perspective and place Ipswich at the center of a developing world in the early Middle Ages for a particular craft,” they said in a statement about the analysis. “There are many elements suggesting external connections, especially in northern France, Friesland (what we now know as parts of the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark) and southern Scandinavia.”

Ipswich was founded as an Anglo-Saxon trading port following the collapse of the Roman Empire and flourished through sea trade with Europe. The combs were made in Scandinavia and indicate the presence of Vikings in Ipswich in the late 9th century, which fell under Viking rule in 869 AD. Most are made from parts of red antler, although some are made from bones of other animals, including whale.

Brooch dies, pins, ribbon ends, weaving and textile-making equipment as well as some game pieces were also examined, reflecting the Vikings' enthusiasm for board games.

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Melanie Vigo di Galidoro, deputy cabinet member for archaeology and protected landscapes at Suffolk County Council, said: “With a group of isolated finds, we may not have the confidence to acknowledge their importance. “But in this case, from around 40 excavations at Ipswich over 20 years, we can build a convincing picture of the role the town played in medieval life.”

Will Fletcher, East of England development advisory team leader, Historic England, said it was a “fantastic insight into Ipswich's medieval history…and its reach across the North Sea”.

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