Written in Bones Studies on technological and social contexts of past faunal skeletal remains: Institute of Archaeology, University of Wrocław and individual authors (2011)
Bone and antler combs are common finds in medieval northern europe. Two major types occur in the netherlands: the composite comb, usually made of antler, and the longbone comb. It is widely assumed that the primary function of these combs was to groom the hair, but they could also be objects of decoration, status or have a ritual role. Early medieval composite combs have been found as burnt remains in cremation graves and buried whole with inhumations. Later finds come from settlements and towns.
The shapes of these combs change through time and there is a shift in the raw material used away from antler towards bone. this increased use of bone probably reflects an increasing scarcity of antler, which is better suited to the function of combs. changing attitudes and trading routes could also play an important role in the changes observed in comb shape and raw material throughout this period.