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Bronze lancet, found at Ephesus

A lancet was a useful tool used in bloodletting – a once popular treatment prescribed for a wide range of medical conditions. This bronze lancet was found during an archaeological excavation in Ephesus, in modern day Turkey. Ephesus is now deserted but was once an important Greek and Roman port and home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World – the Temple of Artemis. The lancet came from the private collection of Dr Noel Hamonic (active 1850-1928), and was sold by Hamonic’s sons in two parts to Henry Wellcome, the first in June 1928 for £4,400 and the second in July 1928 for £803.

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Related Themes and Topics



Glossary: lancets

A surgical instrument of various forms, commonly sharp-pointed and two-edged. The lancet is used in venesection (the act of opening a vein for bloodletting), and in opening abscesses.

Glossary: bloodletting

Puncturing a vein in order to withdraw blood. A popular medical practice for over two thousand years. Bloodletting often involved withdrawing large quantities of blood in the belief that this would cure or prevent many illnesses and diseases. The practice has been abandoned for all but a few very specific conditions.