Look and Think activities should take 5 -10 minutes.

Do activities might take longer depending on the task and how creative you are feeling!

Roman “Swiss Army Knife”, Middle Roman 201 CE – 300 CE

Silver and Iron, 8.8cm x 15.5 cm, GR.1.1991


Many people have wondered how this was used 2,000 years ago.

Zoom in closer, what would you use each bit for?

What would you name each one?


Design a Roman Menu to eat with this tool. Need help with inspiration research?

Have a look at these recipes from the Classical Cookbook by The British Museum.

Make sure it has things to cut, scoop, pick and crack open.


Invent and design your own handy tool, what would it help you do?

Get some inspiration below…

Do: Invent your own multi-tool

Invent your own multi-tool, inspired by the tool above.

  1. Plan your multi-tool. What would you find most useful to have in one place?
  2. You can use whatever you like to make your tool. We used card and paper, but you could collage, paint, or even sculpt your tools!
  3. Fix them all together. We tied ours in the centre using an old keyring.

A grid of six photos showing how we made our version of the ancient Roman multi-tool.

More information

This folding gadget has a three-pronged fork, a spoon, a spatula, a pick, a spike and an iron knife that has eroded away. There is a hinge to allow each item to be folded out when it was needed, or folded away for ease of transporting it. The spike might of helped in extracting the meat from snails, and the spatula in scraping sauce out of narrow-necked bottles. Some have even suggested the pick with the tiny spoon on the end could have been used to remove earwax.

While many less elaborate bronze folding knives have been discovered from antiquity, this one’s complex design and the fact it is made from silver suggests it is a luxury item. Perhaps a useful gadget for a wealthy traveller or soldier to show off, but not really intended for heavy use, as silver is a soft and pliable metal.

Downloadable Resource

Download this Look Think Do as a PDF or a Word document.