In the Roman necropolis of Wehringen near Augsburg, an over seventy-year-old physician was buried with his medical instruments. In a gold-embossed case surgical cutlery consisting of three scalpel blades with interchangeable blade inserts was kept together with a bone lever, a retractor and a pair of tweezers. A small bronze box was used to store plant and mineral pharmaceutical ingredients. With the help of a grind stone and spatula, the physician was able to mix fresh ointments and medicines during his rounds visiting the sick. The box could be closed with a sliding lid and locked on one narrow side. The interior of this portable pharmacy was divided into five small compartments, each with a hinged lid and a small handle. The inner compartments still contained residues of dried herbs and solidified ointments. Markings with the names of several pharmacists on two products show that the physician from Wehringen purchased ophthalmic products from specialists. Three silver coins in the medicine box indicate that the physician from Wehringen was buried soon after AD 240. The grave itself gives a spatial reference to the extraordinary burial site of a wealthy family in Wehringen with imposing tombs and rich burial objects. It seems that an economically and socially influential family had their aged personal physician buried near the family tomb after his death.
Archäologische Staatssammlung München
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