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found at Newstead, Roxburghshire

Postcard of Styli.
© National Museums Scotland


A stylus is a needle-like implement for writing, often used on wax tablets. The sharp end was used to write with, the blunt to rub out mistakes. These iron examples were found at the site of the Roman fort at Newstead in Roxburghshire.

Iron stylus from Newstead

Iron styli are simpler in form than bronze ones. They had to be forged individually, making ornamentation much more difficult and time-consuming. Some iron styli from Newstead probably contained a separately fitted point, perhaps of agate.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-190-001-199-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.FRA 706
Date: Between 80 and 180 AD
Material: Iron
What: Stylus
Who: Newstead Collection
Where: Scotland, Roxburghshire, Melrose, Newstead
  • Clarke, D.V., Breeze, D.J., and Mackay, Ghillean. The Romans in Scotland. An introduction to the collections of the National Museums of Antiquities of Scotland. Edinburgh: National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland, 1980, p 51. 
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