The 1,800-year-old stylus was uncovered at the Assos archaeological site in the western Turkish city of Canakkale.
The 1,800-year-old stylus was uncovered at the Assos archaeological site in the western Turkish city of Canakkale.

Researchers have uncovered a 1,800-year-old writing implement, or stylus, at the Assos archaeological site in northwestern Turkey.

Assos, also known as Behramkale, was one of the most important ancient port cities. It contains crucial cultural heritage from the region's Roman period, including an antique theatre, agora, necropolis and walls.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, the head of the Assos excavations, Professor Nurettin Arslan from Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University said the bronze instrument was pointed at one end and flat on the other.

According to Arslan, the tool which was discovered recently would have been used to write, take notes and make calculations on wax tablets used during that period.

"The flat part at the back side of the stylus was used to make corrections," he said, likening it to today's erasers.

Noting that students and merchants at that time used these sorts of writing tools, Arslan said that some pupils used it to write on sand or ceramic floors.

"Students who were financially better off, used it to write on wax tablets, to learn how to read and write as well as to practise their handwriting," he said.

Merchants and the rich who did their own accounting also used these kinds of gadgets during the period, he added.

According to Arslan, one needed to be literate to own these kinds of styli. He said that not only free people but also some slaves were literate then.

"Educated slaves could also use these ... for their owners' calculations or for certain notes," Arslan added.

According to Arslan, as people during Roman times used wax tablets, they needed to make writing tools from hard materials. That is why bronze or bone was generally used to make styli.

The Turkish archaeologist said every period had its own stylus designs, but bronze was more commonly used during this era as it was hard.

Arslan also said that the Assos excavations had uncovered a piece from a 2,500-year-old vase, which was imported from Athens and a 2,000-year-old ceramic remnant.

Source: AA