Greek and Roman surgical instruments and medical objects in the British Museum

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The British Museum has an important collection of Greek and Roman surgical instruments and medical implements and related medical artefacts, the majority in the Departments of Greek and Roman Antiquities and Britain, Europe and Prehistory, with a small component in Ancient Egypt and Sudan and Coins and Medals, little of which has been properly published.

Since the early 1980s Ralph Jackson's research, and that of others, has helped to define a diagnostic range of Roman medical instruments.

This has been achieved by concentrating on securely-contexted and well-dated finds. It is now possible to identify with confidence the many important, but often un-contexted, instruments in museum collections. By combining this study with clear and accurate drawings and photos and detailed scientific analyses, the publication of the British Museum collections will comprise a major contribution to the understanding of ancient surgical instruments, of Roman surgery and of the history of medicine.


Publication as a British Museum catalogue.