The rogue nostril hairs and ear wax they once removed have long since decomposed, thankfully – but ancient Roman tweezers and ear cleaners found at Ebbsfleet remain in remarkable condition.
The 2000-year-old artefacts were among a number of finds uncovered by archaeologists working at the site of the new Springhead Bridge, which is being built over the River Ebbsfleet at Ebbsfleet Garden City, near Dartford.
The team also found a piece of timber thought to have been used in construction, which they believe found its way to the bottom of the River Ebbsfleet after being dropped from a barge during transportation 2000 years ago.
Ebbsfleet Development Corporation, which is building the bridge, has commissioned specialists to preserve the timber in wax in a process which takes more than a year, and all the items discovered at the site have been removed for further examination and documentation.
The corporation employed full time archaeologists at the site due to significant finds elsewhere in the area, including elephant bones found during the construction of the High Speed 1 line.
The Roman ear cleaner – like a cotton bud but made entirely of metal – was discovered during the excavation of a drainage trench on the south side of the River Ebbsfleet, and is thought to date back between 1600 and 2000 years.
The tweezers dating back to 2000 years were shaped exactly as modern day tweezers; while pottery discovered in various locations across the site were identified as of Saxon origin.