Scientific Correspondence | Published:

Cranial surgery dates back to Mesolithic

Abstract

Alt et al. have reported in Scientific Correspondence1 what they thought to be the first ‘unequivocal’ evidence for the existence of healed trepanations (cranial surgery) from Ensisheim, Alsace, dated to 5100 bc. However, there is compelling evidence that such intra vitem surgery was carried out at an earlier date in eastern Europe, during the preceding Mesolithic period.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1

    Alt, K. W.et al. Nature 387, 360 (1997).

  2. 2

    Lillie, M. C. Curr. Anthropol. 37, 135–142 (1996).

  3. 3

    Lillie, M.C. in Invisible People and Processes: Writing Gender and Childhood into European Archaeology (eds Moore, J & Scott, E.) 213-228 (Leicester Univ. Press, London, 1997).

  4. 4

    Gokhman, I. I. Naselenie Ukrainy v epokhu mezolita i neolita: anthropologicheskiy ocherk (The Population of the Ukraine in the Mesolithic and Neolithic Periods: an Anthropological Outline) 141-142 (Nauka, Moscow, 1966).

  5. 5

    Potekhina, I. D. & Telegin, D. Ya. Curr. Anthropol. 36, 823–826 (1995).

  6. 6

    Jacobs, K. Curr. Anthropol. 34, 311–324 (1993).

  7. 7

    Lisowski, F. P. in Diseases in Antiquity: a Survey of Diseases, Injuries and Surgery of Early Populations (eds Brothwell, D. and Sandison, A. T.) 651-672 (C. C. Thomas, Illinois, 1967).

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Further reading

Figure 1: Photographs of cranium of skeleton No.6285-9 from the cemetery of Vasilyevka II.
Figure 2: Skeleton No.54 from the Vovnigi II cemetery (after Gokhman 1966:142).

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.