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Surgical shears, Roman, 199 BCE-500 CE

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.

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Glossary: surgical shears

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