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Date Made/Found: 80-400
Material and Medium: Copper Alloy
Dimensions: 126mm x 5mm x 2mm
Department: Archaeology
Accession Number: J11.
This Romano-British bronze needle may have been used for surgical procedures.

Surgery in the Roman period was undertaken only if a cure could not be achieved by any other means as there was little knowledge of human anatomy, there were no effective anaesthetics and people didn't keep the surgical areas or instruments sterilised. Most surgery was superficial and performed with speed.

When surgery was necessary, it would be performed by a physician but specialist surgeons were found in big cities. A wide range of surgery was nevertheless practised. Eye complaints were common in Roman times and although many of these were treated with salves and ointments, other disease such as cataracts could be successfully treated with a needle.
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