A Romano-British medical set

Roman medical implements.
(left to right: PRM 1884.140.530, 1884.140.531, 1884.140.1532 &1884.140.509)

Four Roman medical implements have recently been catalogued and researched as part of the Excavating Pitt-Rivers project. These implements are made of copper alloy and would have been cast and then hammered into shape. These objects are recorded as being from London Wall where we know Pitt-Rivers completed excavations in 1865, 1866 and 1867.

The two implements on the left are waisted leaf-shaped spatulas; they would have been used to mix and apply ointments to patients. Sometimes the spatula was also used as a cautery, as a tongue depressor and as a blunt dissector (Baker 2009).

The two implements on the right are spoon probes with olivary ends. These are similar to the spatula probe, but have narrow leaf shaped spoons in place of the spatula. The spoon could have been used for a number of different purposes to remove medicines from containers, to mix ointments, as a curette and possibly in lithotomy operations. The olivary end could also be used to mix ointments, to create a drip effect, to explore fistula and examine carious bone. (Baker 2009).

More information on these particular objects and other Roman medical implements can be found in this paper by Patricia Baker

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