Scientific Correspondence | Published:

Cranial surgery dates back to Mesolithic


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.

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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).


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