Several handled combs are known from Northumbria. One was found at the Anglo-Saxon monastery at Hartlepool (Daniels 1988, 195, fig.37) and a second came from the monastery at Whitby (Peers and Radford 1943, 70, No.106). A handled comb was found in a cist burial at Cambois, Northumberland (Alexander 1987, 101-2). There are several examples from York, including one published by Waterman (1959, 89), eleven from Coppergate, two from the Barbican Leisure Centre and three from Fishergate (Rogers 1993, 1389-94, fig.679). A fragment of a second handled comb was recovered from the plough soil at Cottam by metal detector users (No.067). This was also made from an antler tine which had been cut along half its length with a longitudinal groove; the decoration was unclear but may have comprised a cross-hatched panel flanked by two vertical grooves on each side.
On the Continent, antler handled combs have been found in excavations at Dorestad and in Frisian terp mounds, where a date range of c.700-850 AD was suggested for the type (Roes 1963, 22-3). Other examples are known from the Rhineland, Hedeby, Birka and from Scandinavian graves. Waterman (1959, 90-1) has suggested that the impetus behind their distribution was Frisian merchants and there are documentary references to a Frisian colony in York in the late eighth century (Rolleson 1998, 131-2). MacGregor points out, however, that there are several examples in the east and south of England, where they appear to be popular from the seventh century onwards (MacGregor 1985, 91). Riddler has suggested that they are frequent finds in Middle and Late Saxon England, with at least 100 from sites of this period throughout the country (Riddler forthcoming); a continental origin should therefore not be assumed.