Inhabitants of Israel performed operations on the skull at least 3500 years ago

(ORDO NEWS) — For thousands of years, people have been practicing craniotomy: ancient surgeons were among the inhabitants of South America, Africa, and now, as it turned out, in the lands of Israel, where such operations were carried out at least in the late Bronze Age.

The operation of trepanation of the skull , that is, the formation of a hole in the cranium, has been known since ancient times. It has been performed all over the world for both medical and ritual purposes.

And this time, archaeologists found a skull with traces of a similar operation in the ancient Israeli city of Megiddo : its owner lived in the 15th century BC, in the late Bronze Age.

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During the excavations led by Rachel Kalisher ( Rachel Kalisher ) from Brown University (USA), the remains of two people of the upper class were found.

On the skull of one of which, scientists found traces of a surgical operation performed shortly before death.

During the trepanation of the patient, a chisel-like instrument was used to cut four intersecting lines in the skull, after which a rectangular piece of bone was removed using a lever.

DNA analysis showed that the two discovered skeletons belonged to siblings, and the location of the burial (in the central area of ​​​​the city, close to the palace part) shows that these men were the elite of Megiddo society and, possibly, even members of the ruling family.

This is confirmed by pottery and other valuable items buried with them.

Apparently, trepanation was performed on one of the brothers for medical purposes, but did not bring the expected effect.

In general, both brothers were quite sickly: they found several developmental anomalies, as well as signs that in childhood they suffered from iron deficiency anemia.

However, it was not congenital defects that ruined them, but some kind of infectious disease such as tuberculosis or leprosy: one brother died at about the age of 20 years, the second between 20 and 40 years.

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Skull with a neatly carved hole of almost rectangular shape

Now the bones of the brothers are being examined in Germany: scientists plan to conduct a more accurate DNA analysis and detect bacterial DNA, which will determine the cause of death of these people.

In general, emphasizes Kalisher, the find confirms that already in the late Bronze Age, people with congenital malformations could live a relatively long life, relying on the care of others.


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