Roman writing, drawing and painting tools are a brilliant design and technology solution. Perhaps we can learn again from these for sustainable design?

Walking and drawing around Roman sites in Norfolk such as Warham Camp and Caistor St Edmund recently prompted a visit to the British Museum Roman Britain collection. The writing tools may be decorated elaborately; but I was most taken by the simple function of the brush handle. A single strip of bronze folded at one end and rounded at the other. Formed to hold animal bristles or hair.

Roman pens at Vindolanda demonstrate more beautifully functional design. A spiral of flat metal coiled around a small stick to be held in the hand; the end of the coil pulled-out and pointed for drawing or writing.  So similar to the drawing pens I use now – I would love to try these.