Dating spindle whorls

dating spindle whorls

How do you date a spindle whorl?

Within the Roman period, if a spindle whorl has been made from a vessel sherd, an earliest date can be suggested by the ware used, where known.

What are spindle whorls?

Spindle whorls are perforated weights from wooden drop spindles. Their weight helped give the spindle momentum in the twisting, or spinning, of fibres into yarn, for later making into textiles.

How is a spindle made in spinning?

In spinning, a weaver builds a spindle by inserting a wooden dowel through the hole in a spindle whorl. The raw fibers of plants or animal wool (called roving) are attached to the dowel, and the spindle is then made to rotate, in a clockwise or counterclockwise fashion, twisting and compressing the fibers as it collects them on top of the whorl.

Are there any lead spindle whorls from Colchester?

There are no lead spindle-whorls from Colchester (see Crummy 1983, 67). It seems that thinner spindles were used in this and the preceding Iron Age period, as compared to later, and that spindle whorls of Roman date can be expected to have perforations c. 4-8 mm in diameter.

What are spindle whorls?

Spindle whorls are perforated weights from wooden drop spindles. Their weight helped give the spindle momentum in the twisting, or spinning, of fibres into yarn, for later making into textiles.

How is a spindle made in spinning?

In spinning, a weaver builds a spindle by inserting a wooden dowel through the hole in a spindle whorl. The raw fibers of plants or animal wool (called roving) are attached to the dowel, and the spindle is then made to rotate, in a clockwise or counterclockwise fashion, twisting and compressing the fibers as it collects them on top of the whorl.

How old are stoneware spindle whorls?

Stoneware spindle whorls were common in the first half of the 16th century ( Gaimster 1997, 248-250; fig. 104), possibly within a wider date range ( Hurst and Moorhouse 1981 ).

How do you use a drop spindle?

Before using a drop spindle, practice drafting out the fibers. Take a handful of wool in one hand and with the other hand, gently pull some of the fibers away from the mass and then add some twist by twisting the fibers in one direction between your fingers.

What are spindle whorls used for?

Spindle whorls were used as weights on a hand-held distaff or spinning stick. They are amongst the most common Medieval finds. The majority of whorls were made from stone or recycled pot but some, like the example shown here, are cast lead. Metal whorls may have continued in use into the post-Medieval period.

What are domed lead spindle whorls?

Spindle Whorls (under construction) Domed lead spindle whorls are generally Roman but go through to the post medieval period. Before the use of spinning wheels, spinning was carried out with a spindle and a whorl.

What is a whorl on a spinning wheel?

Spinning with a whorl (c) on a spindle (b) and distaff (above) A spindle whorl is a disc or spherical object fitted onto the spindle to increase and maintain the speed of the spin. For ages the whorls have been made of many different materials: amber, antler, bone, coral, glass, metal (iron, lead, lead alloy), and wood (oak).

What is the diameter of a Roman spindle?

It seems that thinner spindles were used in this and the Roman period, as compared to later, and that spindle whorls can be expected to have perforations c. 4-8 mm in diameter. Many Roman spindle whorls were made from reused ceramic sherds, or from stones such as shale. There are no lead spindle-whorls from Colchester (see Crummy 1983, 67).

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