Bingen Trepanation Set

A trepanation set after the find from a Roman doctor's grave in Bingen, Germany, excavated in 1925 and dated to the 2nd century AD. The method of handling the tool as well as medical indications of when to use it are described in detail by Aulus Cornelius in Book VIII of his De Medicina from the 1st century AD.

The bow is foldable, probably for ease of transportation, the center bit of the drill is removable as per Celsus' description. It is not entirely clear from the publication if that is the case with the 2 drill bits from Bingen, though. What also remains unclear is how the drill bit was designed exactly to be driven by the bow. I opted for a design already conceived by Alexander Zimmermann from our VEX LEG VIII AVG  years ago. It is based on contemporary finds of Roman wood drills and also offers an explanation of the holes at the top of the drill cylinders of the Bingen finds.


Besides the Bingen pieces only 2 more bows, both foldable, and one drill bit have been found to my knowledge.


Como, Jakob. Das Grab eines römischen Arztes in Bingen. in Germania: Anzeiger der Römisch-Germanischen Kommission des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts Bd. 9 Nr. 3 (1925). pp 152-162.