Thursday, March 13, 2008

Ancient Brain Surgery

Just saw this on Yahoo News, though I'm sure it's been reported on other Classics sites already. Here's the intro:

THESSALONIKI, Greece - Greek archaeologists said Tuesday they have unearthed evidence of what they believe was brain surgery performed nearly 1,800 years ago on a young woman — who died during or shortly after the operation.

Although references to such delicate operations abound in ancient writings, discoveries of surgically perforated skulls are uncommon in Greece.

Site excavator Ioannis Graikos said the woman's skeleton was found during a rescue dig last year in Veria, a town some 75 kilometers (46 miles) west of Thessaloniki.

"We interpret the find as a case of complicated surgery which only a trained and specialized doctor could have attempted," Graikos said.

A bone expert who studied the finds said the skeleton belonged to a woman up to 25 years old who had suffered a severe blow to the crown of her head, Graikos said. The operation was apparently an attempt to save her life.

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