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Roman 'Leatherman' spied on web

Multi-tools join sanitation, roads, the fresh water system, public health as stuff the Romans did for us

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And there you were tinking that the Leatherman or Swiss Army Knife in your pocket was a relatively modern invention. Not so - the Romans had multi-tool gadgets too.

Case in point: the "compound utensils" held in the collection of Cambridge's Fitzwilliam Musuem, snaps of which were recently posted on the institution's website and subsequently spotted by Neatorama.

Fitzwilliam Museum Roman Multi-tool

Manufactured from iron and silver, the multiplex knife contains a blade of fearsome pointiness, a fork, a spatula, a spike and a pick.

Fitzwilliam Museum Roman Multi-tool

The utensil was actually described way back in 1988 by archaeologist David Sherlock in his seminal work A combination Roman eating implement, published in the Antiquaries Journal, [xlix, 310-311] and which harks back to Sherlock's earlier opus Roman folding spoons [Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society, 62, 1976, p.128-129].

The gadget was manufactured between AD201 and AD300. ®

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