Projects and Science

Country undetermined


Europa, Fingerkunkel
Early Byzantine bronze (finger) distaff (6th/7th century AD) with a bird on the top and a hoop on the other end. Length: 7.9".

Roving was wound on the distaff and then spun into fine yarn, the decorative elements preventing the slippage of the roving. The hoop was placed on the little finger.

Marieluise Cremer , Antike Spinnrocken. In: Boreas. Münstersche Beiträge zur Archäologie 19, 1996, 235-241.  
Marielouise Cremer, Fingerkunkel und Zettelstecker. In: Boreas. Münstersche Beiträge zur Archäologie 21, 1998, 327-333. 

Europe, Balkan, distaffs


The exact origin of these distaffs is unknown, but they are probably from the Balkans. The blade of the left one was once painted as traces of red and yellow color show (see detail). The right distaff had a small mirror inserted into the center of its blade. 19th -20th  Century. Lengths: 39.76" and 34.25".

Europe, Balkan, distaff
Distaff of unknown origin. Probably Eastern European. The blade of the distaff is carved on both sides and shows traces of red color. On one side the year 1939 can be seen. Length: 37.4".
Europe, stool distaffs with spindles
Two stool distaffs with flax or hemp. In both ones a hand spindle with spindle whorl is stuck into the fiber bundle (detail views, top right). On the right distaff a small bowl is fixed to the shaft. It held water to moisturize the fibers while spinning (detail right).


Mädchen beim Spinnen
Girl spinning.

Europe, girl spinning

Girl spinning. Probably Balkan region.

Old woman spinning with a drop spindle (country unknown, probably Greece). The spindle whorl was placed over already spun thread wound onto the spindle shaft. There is no text on the postcard and it was never mailed (no stamp).
Frau beim Spinnen
Woman spinning.
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