Bronze stylus, bone sewing needle found in Romania’s Alba Iulia


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An archaeological site in Alba Iulia, where several gold artifacts from the Roman rule in Dacia were recently discovered, has offered archaeologists new surprises.

Research activity is underway in the area of Dealul Furcilor, on land where the municipal cemetery is set to expand. In one of the 61 archaeological complexes studied in recent months, a bronze stylus for writing on wax tablets was found.

The stylus and sewing needle discovered in Alba Iulia ([Credit: Alba24]

“Beautiful pieces continue to emerge in the archaeological complexes we are studying, telling a story of the settlement that once existed here. In one of these complexes, a complete bronze object was found. It is a stylus, a writing instrument used in the Roman period. It is intact and has two ends. The sharp end was used to scribe on the wax tablet, and in case of errors or if something needed to be erased, the other end was used for scraping. When the tablet was completely scraped, it became ‘tabula rasa,’ thus becoming unusable,” said archaeologist George Bounegru, the coordinator of the research team.

According to Bounegru, this ancient stylus will become an exhibit in the permanent exhibition at the National Museum of the Union in Alba Iulia. The archaeologist believes that identical replicas could be made and sold at the museum’s gift shop. In the same complex, a sewing needle was also discovered, an object dating back nearly 2000 years, which, although it may seem mundane, has some unique features.

“The sewing needle has three holes at the tip, with the larger one likely meant for a woolen thread or a thicker one, while the two smaller ones were for using thinner textile threads. Such sewing needles were crafted from bone or horn through lathe-turning,” added George Bounegru.

Source: Historia [November 02, 2023]



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