Sutures made of thorns and fibre cord from Mombasa, Kenya.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
These sutures made from thorns lashed together with fibre cord are from Mombasa, Kenya. In some Australian Aboriginal and African cultures, sharp thorns were used to sew up wounds, with threads of vine or creeper jammed into a split at the wider end. The thorns could be made even harder if placed in the embers of a fire, which also had the effect of killing any germs present.