A 4300 year old skull from the Harappan times has shown signs of brain surgery. A paper in “Current Science” says that it is an “unequivocal case” of a procedure called Trepanation on the skull.
Trepanation – is a common means of surgery practised in prehistoric societies starting with the Stone Age, involved drilling or cutting through the skull vault, often to treat head injury or to remove bone splinters or blood clots caused by a blow to the head.
There have been evidences of similar procedures being done in other places as well in prehistoric times – regions in Peru, Europe and Bronze Age Jericho of Palestine.
Sometimes similar procedures were done for ritualistic purposes, but this case seems to be more for therapeutic purposes, as there is evidence of healing indicating that the patient survived many years after the procedure.
There is evidence too of healing, “indicating that the victim survived for a considerable time after the operation,” the paper adds. “Scholars have recorded striking similarities in trepanation techniques across the continents, and therefore consider it as important evidence for prehistoric movements of people and for transfer of surgical skills from one society to another,” the authors say.
One wonders how they would be doing such surgeries without the anesthesia?