It is always fascinating to compare ancient artefacts with their modern counterparts. The boxwood hair combs from Vindolanda are an excellent example of this. Expertly and delicately carved from wood grown in the Mediterranean these imported goods show that there was a demand from the Roman population on site to keep their hair clean and styled.

These combs, which modern nit combs resemble would have also served an important function in personal hygiene here on the site. We know that parasite infestation was common in the Roman world. This was a particular problem in military life, due to the close living quarters of the soldiers, the management of lice would have been important. Because of this, everyone at Vindolanda would have probably had their own comb and would have had individual designs to help to identify their own comb. If the individual could not afford a intricately carved comb they might personalize it themselves with graffiti such as their name, hash marks or squiggles.  

Take a closer look in our video blog below: