Thursday, 16 January 2014

Bone Pins

These two pins were made more for practice in bone carving than anything else, but they are also lovely objects which have received some use, and they are both relatively well backed up by finds. The points are sharp enough to push through the weave in the fabric without damaging the threads, but alas these two examples are too short to be usefully used as hair pins. 

Bone pin A
Bone pin B

Techniques involved: boneworking
Materials used: bone (I'm unsure what kind), leather thong

Tools used: Dremel, junior hacksaw, files

References: Pin A is directly based on a pin found in York. I drew a rough picture of it when I visited the Jorvik Viking Centre, and decided to make it a while later. I hadn't written down the scale so my version may not bear any relation size-wise, but it is not a bad match as far as the shape goes. 

Pin B is based on lots of different pins which I've seen online and in books. Some are decorated and some not, but they all have this triangular flat section at the top. A particularly fancy example is held at the British Museum, but mine is off a much simpler form. The hacksaw blade decorations are reminiscent of the pin which pin A is based on, and other objects which I saw when I visited York.

Queries: My version of the thong closure might not be accurate, but it does work well with the holes which are found in lots of these pins. To my knowledge remains of thong or braid haven't been found with these pins, so we may never know how they were used.
Summary: These objects are well backed up by finds and are common throughout Britain and Scandinavia throughout the Viking era.


  1. These are beautiful. Will you make some longer ones for hair? Love them.

  2. Have you tried to make sewing needles? Would love to learn how to make those.