Table of Contents
Please note that this guide has not been fundamentally changed from the original print version of the Finds Recording Guide (Geake 2001), written when the database contained just 8,800 non-numismatic records.
Like sewing pins and lace-tags, these slender objects do not survive well in ploughsoil. Their head ends can be recognised because the long oval eye tends to be set within a groove with a pointed end to facilitate threading. Needles of this type tend to be dated to the early post-medieval period onwards, but there are also very similar Roman needles (Bishop 1996, fig. 16). Needles were retained in holders, for which see their own guide.
‘Couching needles’ of the kind published in Biddle (1990, 807) are as yet of uncertain function, but probably embroidery needles. They seem to date to early in the medieval period.
The term ‘bodkin’ (a kind of blunt needle) has occasionally been used in the past for an object that is now recognised as an early 17th-century head-dress pin of Dutch type (see recording guidance in our guide to Pins).
PAS object type to be used
PAS object classification to be used
Add couching needle, as appropriate
Needles are documented on the PAS database from prehistoric times onwards. For medieval needles see Egan (1998, 269) fig. 207.