This article aims to evaluate the likelihood that whelk dye was known in Anglo-Saxon England, either in the form of imported cloth and textile products, and/or as an activity carried out in England. The nature of whelk dye and the likely processing options available to early societies are considered in the light of extant records and modern experimentation in Israel and Britain. The currently available ‘hard’ evidence is then presented from archaeology, manuscript studies, and the chemical analysis of textiles. Finally, the semantic and literary evidence is considered, including three passages from texts by Bede and Aldhelm, and a new interpretation of OE cornwurma.
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