Bringing the Late Iron Age to Life

Evidence of Pictish Spinning & Weaving

Well, I found some! As I was perusing the online archive of the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, I found in volume 9 (1870-1872) an article that actually discusses some of the finds from Pictish “Towers” or “Brochs.” The full title of the article is “Notes on the Evidence of Spinning and Weaving in the Brochs or Pictish Towers Supplied by the Stone Whorls and the Long-Handled “Broch Combs” Found in Them” written by Joseph Anderson, Keeper of the Museum. (Their full online index can be found here.)

This is part of what I have been searching for!!! SQUEEEEE!!! (ahem)

So, now I have sent an email to the Society asking if they have any other information, or pictures , or anyone working with this material (if it still exists). Because, according to Mssr. Anderson, seventy-seven whorls and thirty-six of the combs were in the Museum. Problem is, he doesn’t exactly state *which* Museum, but I’m hoping the Society has that record.

He also mentions the large number of loom weights that were found with the whorls and combs. Now if only I can find something that documents the actual looms used by the Picts, things will go so much quicker. As it is, I’m still having to guess/bracket for the loom. Since the loom weights were mentioned, it does lend weight to my theory of the Picts using the warp-weighted loom. Interestingly, it seems that the Picts did not use a sword beater with their looms, using instead the combs – which Mssr. Anderson traces to the Roman influence. According to his research, the sword beater was of Scandinavian influence/use whereas the “loom-combs” were of Roman use/influence. His supporting evidence is that these combs have been found everywhere that the Romans had contact/commerce with, and that there is a distinct lack of them in the Scandinavian countries.