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.
A report by the Latin American Herald Tribune said that the find is of an oil lamp, which according to Archaeology professor at Madrid's Universidad Complutense Angel Morillo, is a unique find without parallel in the Roman world.
It is an exceptional piece that illustrates the presence of doctors in the city, and - specifically - a military hospital, according to Morillo.
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 added.
"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," said Morillo.
Currently, the piece "is in the hands of private individuals", but it will be sent to the Leon Provincial Museum, he added.