Unique piece is to be sent to the Leon Provincial Museum
LEON, SPAIN -- A group of archaeologists has found in the northern Spanish region of Leon a ceramic lamp dating from the beginning of the 1st century that shows a representation of the gynecological exam performed on a sick woman.
Archaeology professor at Madrid's Universidad Complutense Angel Morillo, told Efe that this is a "unique find without parallel in the Roman world."
Morillo on Tuesday night in Leon city will present the results of the investigation that has lasted six years during a conference entitled "From the Legions to the Barbarians: New perspectives on Roman Archaeology."
The find is of an oil lamp, "an exceptional piece that illustrates the presence of doctors in the city," and - specifically - a military hospital, the expert said.
On the lamp's surface "appears a very slender woman, possibly affected by a serious illness, like cancer, and a doctor who is performing a gynecological exam with a vaginal speculum," Morillo said.
Possibly the image is of a specific examination that one of the Roman doctors performed, he said.
"We know that during that period there were vaginal speculums, which are practically the same as the ones we have (now), but ... representations of them have come down (to us) on very few occasions and never - so far - in the case of a lamp," he said.
Currently, the piece "is in the hands of private individuals" but it will be sent to the Leon Provincial Museum, he added.