Trepanation in theArchaeological Record   Karrah Christenson    7 September 2012        Session 8
Skeletal Pathologies• The most common pathology to affect  skeletal remains is degenerative change• The second most common...
Artificial Deformations• Artificial deformation  is a result of cultural  practices• Most artificial  deformations are  ma...
TrepanationTrepanation is a practice in which anartificial hole is made in the cranial vaultof a living person (Folkens & ...
History of Trepanation• Written accounts reveal that  ancient Greeks practiced  trepanation• Archaeological records show  ...
Common Methodologies-scraping        a patch ofbone away-cutting a patch of boneout by making groovesthrough the vault-dri...
Why Practice Trepanation?• Thought to be done in order to relieve  intracranial pressure being caused by  injuries/ compre...
Success Rate?• Survival rate of those  practicing trepanation was  rather high• This is evident in the  number of healed  ...
Trepanations in Menorca?• Excavations at La Cova des Cárritx revealed a  necropolis with collective inhumations• Three exa...
Our Current Findings at Binimel là• During this session’s excavations at the  prehistoric Talaiotic cave, a portion of fro...
What does our find mean?• First case of trepanation  found at this site• Reveals that the practice  was occurring in  preh...
ModernTrepanation
Sources• The Human Bone Manual. Tim D. White  and Pieter A. Folkens 2005• Arqueologia Menorca. Los tres Cráneos  de la Cov...
Trepanation Presentation by Karrah Christenson  Session 8 2012
Trepanation Presentation by Karrah Christenson  Session 8 2012
Trepanation Presentation by Karrah Christenson  Session 8 2012
Trepanation Presentation by Karrah Christenson  Session 8 2012
Trepanation Presentation by Karrah Christenson  Session 8 2012
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Trepanation Presentation by Karrah Christenson Session 8 2012

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Trepanation Presentation by Karrah Christenson Session 8 2012

  1. 1. Trepanation in theArchaeological Record Karrah Christenson 7 September 2012 Session 8
  2. 2. Skeletal Pathologies• The most common pathology to affect skeletal remains is degenerative change• The second most common pathology is trauma• 3 types of trauma – Fracturing & dislocating bone – Disrupting blood or nerve supply to the bone – Artificial deformation
  3. 3. Artificial Deformations• Artificial deformation is a result of cultural practices• Most artificial deformations are manifest in the cranium – These include : • Wrapping the crania of infants • Applying pressure to the cranium to deform the cranial vault • And trepanation
  4. 4. TrepanationTrepanation is a practice in which anartificial hole is made in the cranial vaultof a living person (Folkens & White 2005)Ortner and Putschar (1981) saytrepanation is perhaps the mostremarkable pathology seen by thepathologist.
  5. 5. History of Trepanation• Written accounts reveal that ancient Greeks practiced trepanation• Archaeological records show that the practice goes deeper into the past appearing in Europe, the Pacific, North and South America, Africa, and Asia• Oldest surgical procedure for which archaeological evidence has been found
  6. 6. Common Methodologies-scraping a patch ofbone away-cutting a patch of boneout by making groovesthrough the vault-drilling small holesaround the plug of boneto be removed
  7. 7. Why Practice Trepanation?• Thought to be done in order to relieve intracranial pressure being caused by injuries/ compressive fractures of the skull vault• Relieve common headaches• Cure mental illnesses• Let out evil spirits• As a sign of social status- supernatural powers
  8. 8. Success Rate?• Survival rate of those practicing trepanation was rather high• This is evident in the number of healed trepanations found in the archaeological record• Sometimes bone completely regenerates Trepanation from 5100 BC demonstrating post-operative healing
  9. 9. Trepanations in Menorca?• Excavations at La Cova des Cárritx revealed a necropolis with collective inhumations• Three examples of trepanation were found at the site, including 1 juvenile and 2 adult individuals• Because the individuals show no other trauma/ pathologies for a necessary trepanation, its been suggested that the operations were done as part of a magic ritual- perhaps these were high status individuals with supernatural powers• The remains from this Menorcan cave can be seen in the Ciutadella Municipal Museum
  10. 10. Our Current Findings at Binimel là• During this session’s excavations at the prehistoric Talaiotic cave, a portion of frontal bone was found with evidence of trepanation• The bone appears to show partial regeneration- meaning the individual survived for some time after the trepanation was completed
  11. 11. What does our find mean?• First case of trepanation found at this site• Reveals that the practice was occurring in prehistoric Talaiotic culture around the island• The wound was partially healed – would have been of significant size in a prominent location
  12. 12. ModernTrepanation
  13. 13. Sources• The Human Bone Manual. Tim D. White and Pieter A. Folkens 2005• Arqueologia Menorca. Los tres Cráneos de la Cova des Càrrtix, tres ejemplos de trepanacion prehistorica• Rituales de Vida y Muerte en la Prehistoria de Menorca: La Cova de Càrrtix. Vincente Lull

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