Russian Scientists discover 5,000-year-old skull of failed brain surgery patient in Crimea

Archaeologists have found clear proof of an ancient surgical procedure, called trepanation which involved drilling small holes in the skull

Russian Scientists discover 5,000-year-old skull of failed brain surgery patient in Crimea

Archaeologists have unearthed the skull of a 5,000 year old man in Crimea who underwent ancient brain surgery during the Bronze Age. Image by Darya Veselkova

Russian scientists have discovered a 5,000-year-old skull of a man who had undergone ancient brain surgery and most probably died from it.

According to a report in Times Now, researchers have shown incredible 3D images from Crimea which show proof of trepanation surgery (practice of drilling a hole in the skull of the patient) on the Bronze Age man who was in his 20s. The researchers said that the surgery was not successful and the “unlucky” patient did not survive for long after undergoing a stone ‘scalpel’.

According to Head of the Laboratory of Contextual Anthropology Dr Maria Dobrovolskaya, this is evident from the absence of obvious traces of healing since traces of trepanation are otherwise clearly visible on the surface of the bone.

According to a report in Daily mail, scientists from the Institute of Archaeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow said that the ancient doctor most definitely possessed a surgical set of stone tools.

The report adds that the skull was found on a skeleton in a deep grave in a burial mound and as per researchers, judging by the position of the bones, the body of the patient was laid on its back carefully and slightly turned on its left side. The legs of the deceased were bent at the knees and turned to the left. Two flint arrowheads were also buried with the ancient man.

Dr Dobrovolskaya said that despite the fact that the survival rate after trepanation was high in ancient times, the man was unlucky enough to have perished.

Olesya Uspenskaya, a researcher in Stone Age archeology added that the three types of mark found on the body were left by the prehistoric surgeons using different kinds of stone blades.

According to researchers, brain surgery in ancient times may have been used to ease severe headaches, cure hematoma, repair skull injuries, or conducted to overcome epilepsy.

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