A wooden divination board, known as an itombwa. It is carved in the form of an animal and was used by diviners of the Kuba people to answer questions about an illness. The flat back is covered in oil and water and rubbed with the wooden block. When
Amulet representing the god Thoth, Ancient Egyptian, 4000-30 BC. Carved from the blue rock, lapis lazuli, Thoth was one of the most popular Egyptian gods and had multiple roles in Egyptian mythology. He was the god of wisdom, writing and the moon, t
Glass bottle, long neck, two handles, Roman, 251-450AD. Glass appears to have been produced as far back as the second millennium BC by the Egyptians and perhaps the Phoenicians. Around the end of the 1st century BC glass-blowing was developed, whereb
Bronze vaginal speculum, probably Roman, found in the Lebanon, made c. 100BC to 400AD, although the screw part is modern. It comprises a priapiscus with dovetailing valves which are opened and closed by a handle with a screw mechanism. It shows the r
Model of a blood letting device as described by muslim scholar Al-Jazari in AD 1204-6, and reconstructed in 1977. It measured the blood lost during phlebotomy (blood-letting) sessions, a popular therapy in the Arab world. It is illustrated in Al-Jaza
Statue of Hygeia, made of white marble, found at Ostia, Roman, 250-100BC. Hygeia was the Greek and Roman goddess of health and is the root word for hygiene.
Bronze cupping vessel, from Pompeii, Roman, 1-79AD. Cupping was an ancient therapy intended to restore the balance of the body. It remained popular in the Western world until the 19th century.
Faience amulet, djed, Egyptian, 400-30BC
This is a figure of a man lying on a bed with a pillow under his head. The figure is made of wood and the front can be removed to reveal the internal organs.
The humerus is the upper arm bone, between the elbow and the shoulder. This example is from the left arm of an adult and shows a healed unreduced fracture. It was excavated in Tell Fara, Egypt and is thought to originate from the Roman period, 100 BC