Scientists studying a 2000 year-old Roman shipwreck off the coast of Tuscany believe that the zinc tablets found aboard were used for medicinal purposes.
Six flat grey tablets (see photo), measuring approximately 1.6 inches (4 centimeters) in diameter and 0.4 inches (1 cm) thick were found in a round tin box, and are believed to have been used for treating eye and skin ailments.
Other medical cargo found with the wreck, including an iron probe and a bronze bloodletting vessel, suggest that a physician may have been travelling aboard when the ship was lost.
Image of a round tin box holding 2,000-year-old zinc tablets from the Roman shipwreck Relitto del Pozzino. (Right: contents of the tin box.)
CREDIT: Giachi et al., PNAS. Courtesy of www.livescience.com.