Roman, 4th or early 5th century AD
Found during excavations by Winchester Museums Service Archaeology Section at St Martin's Close, Winnall, Winchester in 1984-5
This elaborately decorated comb was found inside a bone inlaid box that had been placed in the grave of a young woman. The main body of the comb has ring-and-dot decoration, and the end plates cut-out shapes with more ring-and-dot. Archaeologists believe that combs such as these were first made plain, and then decorated to order. Popular motifs were owls, dolphins and horses. With the eye of faith, it can be seen that this is a horse comb- the end plate decoration looks like opposing pairs of horses' heads.
People buried in this part of Winchester's eastern Roman cemetery were rarely given grave goods, but those that have been found are generally of high quality, suggesting a high status group within the population. The way people were buried compares well in some respects with late Roman Christian cemeteries in Mediterranean areas and the Middle East.