Late Roman Carved Bone Spindle Whorl


A Late Roman spindle whorl, carved from bone. The item features a domed shape, a piercing to the centre and concentric grooves incised on the sides. This design is common across several civilisations, with examples of the same shape recovered from Anglo Saxons 6th century AD settlements and graves.

Date: Circa 4th-6th Century AD
Condition: Extremely fine, complete and intact.


SKU: CS-283 Category: Tag:

Spindle whorls were useful accessory to the spindle; wool would have been twisted around the spindle then spun and left to drop pulling the fibres and creating yarn. The whorl would have been attached to the spindle helping to control the speed of the process. The weight of a whorl would determine the force applied while the diameter dictated the amount of twists performed during one spin. This technique for spinning dated from the Iron Age to the early post-medieval periods. In Roman society, women were tasked with clothing production; this has been testified by frescoes recovered from Pompeii, where women are shown hanging clothes to dry in a dye-shop.  In particular, an epigraphic inscription, dedicated to the Statlii family, mentions the quasillariae which was a group of all female spinners. Spindle whorls have been created out of many different materials: amber, antler, ceramic, coral, bone, several different metals, wood and glass.

Weight 7.6 g
Dimensions L 3 cm



Reference: For a similar item, The British Museum, item 1862,0613.33

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