Surgical shears, Roman, 199 BCE-500 CE

Made:
199 BCE-500 CE in Roman Empire
maker:
Unknown
Surgical shears, bronze, Roman. Graduated matt black perspec background.

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Surgical shears, bronze, Roman. Graduated matt black perspec background.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Surgical shears, bronze, Roman

Bronze, an alloy of copper and tin, was the metal of choice for surgical and medical instruments in the Roman period. Quite strong and durable, it could be fashioned into effective surgical instruments such as these shears, believed to have been used for cutting through body tissues.

Now corroded, this instrument would once have had a shiny polished surface. Bronze instruments were eventually replaced following the introduction of iron and steel in the 500s and 600s CE. These were stronger materials that gave a better cutting edge.

Details

Category:
Classical & Medieval Medicine
Object Number:
A622585
type:
surgical shears, archaeology (roman) surgery (general), bone shears and archaeology (roman)
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • surgical equipment
  • surgical instrument