- Gift Vouchers
It was well noted by contemporary historians that, far from being dirt encrusted barbarians with matted hair, the Vikings were in fact fastidiously clean people (or at least, by the standards of the day). It is therefore no surprise that excavations on Norse settlements and tombs often unearth items for personal grooming such as combs, tweezers and ear picks (also known as ear scoops and ear spoons). In the absence of that miracle of the modern age known as the cotton bud, the Norse (and associated peoples of that era) would use these tiny ear spoons. Perhaps the intricacy of their decoration was indicative of their importance – which may have been due to ‘social grooming’. As often a person having his/her ears cleaned would lie or bend down with his/her head in the lap of the person doing the cleaning. The cleaning of ears was often performed by a parent on a child or, among adults, by one's partner. Perhaps even close friends or siblings were given the chore. So, as bizarre as it may sound today – an ear pick could well have been associated with social and familial bonding. The designs often showed great imagination and sometimes even a sense of humour, of which this lovingly made copy is a prime example – as the spoon’s stem, in this case, is the tongue of a dragon! They were invariably made with a ring at the end, presumably to attach a cord. Perhaps they were worn around the neck or tied by a long string to a garment, of this we cannot be sure.
Made of brass, the overall length is 6.9cm, the ring section is half a centimeter wide and the bowl is 4mm x 3mm. The width of the handle is 1.2cm at its widest point.
Reference: Kirsten Wolf (2004). Daily life of the Vikings. Greenwood.