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Copy of Roman artificial leg, London, England, 1905-1915

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The original of this artificial leg was made of bronze. It was excavated from a grave in Capua, Italy. Dating from c. 300BCE, the artificial leg was designed to replace the lower part of the leg, below the knee. It was probably attached to the body using a waist band of sheet metal. This was also found with the skeleton. The leg was the oldest artificial limb discovered. It was kept at the Royal College of Surgeons in London until it was destroyed in an air raid during the Second World War.

Object number:

A646752

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Glossary:

Glossary: orthopaedics

The branch of medicine concerned with the preservation and restoration of the muscular and skeletal systems in the body.

Glossary: prostheses

Artificial body parts, or materials inserted into tissue for functional, cosmetic, or therapeutic effect. Prostheses can be functional (artificial arms and legs), or cosmetic (artificial eye).

Glossary: artificial leg

A device, either external or implanted, that substitutes for or supplements a missing or defective part of the body.

Glossary: replica

Use for precise reproductions of valued objects, usually in the same dimensions as the original. For reproductions of an image alone, use "reproductions" or "facsimiles." Use also when more than one similar object is produced by the same artist, craftsman, or studio, with little or no variation between them; if variation is apparent, use "versions." Distinct from "forgeries" and "counterfeits," which are produced with the intent to deceive.