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Roman "Swiss Army Knife"

Middle Roman 201 CE - 300 CE 

Silver and Iron 

8.8cm X 15.5 cm

GR.1.1991

This folding eating gadget has a three-pronged fork, a spoon,a spatula,a pick, a spike and an iron knife that has eroded away. There is a hinge to allow each item to be folded out when it was needed, or folded away for ease of transporting it. The spike might of helped in extracting the meat from snails, and the spatula in scraping sauce out of narrow-necked bottles. Some have even suggested the pick with the tiny spoon on the end could have been used to remove earwax. 

While many less elaborate bronze folding knives have been discovered from antiquity, this one's complex design and the fact it is made from silver suggests it is a luxury item. Perhaps a useful gadget for a wealthy traveller or soilder to show off, but not really intended for heavy use, as silver is a soft and pliable metal.  

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