Measurements: extractor: 13.1 cm length; arrowhead: 4.6 cm − height, 1.1 cm − width


Description: A set consisting of a double-sided ancient Roman bronze arrow extractor and a Hellenistic Greek socketed bronze lanceolate bilobate arrowhead with spur and prominent flange midrib. Bilobate heads appear to have been developed in the Pontic Steppe area in the 8th century BC. They preceded the trilobate shapes. By the 7th century they had a large distribution in Anatolia and the Caucasus, and later they appear in the Near East and Europe.


Frequent wars provided opportunity for the Romans to develop surgical procedures for a wide variety of combat wounds. Physicians developed the arrow extractor, suture, tourniquet, and special forceps and probes for extracting different kinds of missiles from the body. This particular extractor type is suited to extracting barbed arrowheads: as the barb passes through the open-ended extractor claw, the tool is rotated to secure and then pull the arrowhead from the wound. Roman field surgery reached a very high level of skill, with surgeons sterilising their equipment in boiling water before usage. Whilst these items are sold together as a set, the arrowhead predates the arrow extractor.


Reference: Gabriel, R. A., 2002, The Great Armies of Antiquity, p. 243.

McCallum, J. E., 2008, Military Medicine: From Ancient Times to the 21st Century, p. 64


Period: arrowhead: 7th - 3rd century BC; arrow extractor: 1st - 3rd century AD


Condition: Very fine, intact, with patination over the whole. The arrowhead has a small chip to its socket.


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