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Incan Skull Surgery
Science News ^ | 4-25-2008 | Bruce Bower

Posted on 04/26/2008 7:32:58 PM PDT by blam

Incan skull surgery

By Bruce Bower
April 25th, 2008

Holes in ancient skulls reflect skilled medical care

Healing Hole in the Head

ANCIENT SURGERY A new analysis of ancient skulls reveals skills of Incan healers in cranial cutting.Valerie Andrushko

When Incan healers scraped or cut a hunk of bone out of a person’s head, they meant business. Practitioners of this technique, known as trepanation, demonstrated great skill more than 500 years ago in treating warriors’ head wounds and possibly other medical problems, rarely causing infections or killing their patients, two anthropologists find.

Trepanation emerged as a promising but dangerous medical procedure by about 1,000 years ago in small communities near the eventual Inca heartland in Peru’s Andes mountains, say Valerie Andrushko of Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven and John Verano of Tulane University in New Orleans. Incan healers later mastered certain trepanation methods, performing them safely and frequently.

“Far from the idea of ‘savages’ drilling crude holes in skulls to release evil spirits, these ancient people were highly skilled as surgeons,” Andrushko says.

The researchers’ new investigation, published online April 3, will appear in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.

Prehistoric trepanation in this part of South America consisted of four techniques, the scientists say. Practitioners cut out squares of bone, bored holes in the skull, scraped away bone to create an opening or made circular incisions to remove a plug of bone. Inca surgeons specialized in the latter two methods. Excavations, however, have not yielded trepanation instruments.

In pre-Inca times, only one-third of skull surgery patients survived the procedure, as indicated by short- or long-term healing around cranial openings. Survival rates rose to between 80 and 90 percent during the Inca era, from A.D. 1400 to 1532. Few skulls showed signs of infection near surgical holes.

(Excerpt) Read more at sciencenews.org ...


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: freepun; ggg; godsgravesglyphs; incan; skull; surgery

1 posted on 04/26/2008 7:32:59 PM PDT by blam
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To: SunkenCiv

GGG Ping.


2 posted on 04/26/2008 7:33:20 PM PDT by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: blam

***“Far from the idea of ‘savages’ drilling crude holes in skulls to release evil spirits, ***

I saw a documentary film at the theater in 1966 about this in Africa. Horrible!


3 posted on 04/26/2008 7:38:19 PM PDT by Ruy Dias de Bivar
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To: blam
"... rarely causing infections or killing their patients ..."

But the post-op headaches were probably a bitch.

4 posted on 04/26/2008 7:40:48 PM PDT by LiberConservative ("Typical" White Guy)
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To: blam

But ... was this healthcare free?


5 posted on 04/26/2008 7:41:34 PM PDT by ClearCase_guy
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To: blam
In pre-Inca times, only one-third of skull surgery patients survived the procedure, as indicated by short- or long-term healing around cranial openings. Survival rates rose to between 80 and 90 percent during the Inca era, from A.D. 1400 to 1532. Few skulls showed signs of infection near surgical holes.

So what were they drilling for and did they cure anything?
6 posted on 04/26/2008 7:47:45 PM PDT by uncbob
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To: uncbob

I’d also like to know what the life expectancy was then, too.


7 posted on 04/26/2008 7:55:24 PM PDT by susannah59
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To: blam
WOW!

A holey Skull.

.

8 posted on 04/26/2008 8:00:22 PM PDT by R_Kangel (`.`)
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To: blam
Practitioners of this technique, known as trepanation, demonstrated great skill more than 500 years ago in treating warriors’ head wounds and possibly other medical problems, rarely causing infections or killing their patients, two anthropologists find.

Yeah. I need trepanation like I need a hole in the head. Or something...

9 posted on 04/26/2008 8:03:11 PM PDT by Grizzled Bear ("Does not play well with others.")
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To: blam

Uhh...maybe it wasn’t surgery but torture.


10 posted on 04/26/2008 8:07:09 PM PDT by Eagles6 ( Typical White Guy: Christian, Constitutionalist, Heterosexual, Redneck)
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To: LiberConservative

I wonder how they know for certain that the patients rarely died.


11 posted on 04/26/2008 8:30:58 PM PDT by Radl
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To: Radl
I wonder how they know for certain that the patients rarely died.

Probably from signs of bone healing.

12 posted on 04/26/2008 9:18:05 PM PDT by TChad
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To: blam
Don't exactly know why this is printed as something new.

I've seen the photos, read the stories decades ago - along with the description of their surgical instruments - the Aztecs performed the operation also, using instruments made from volcanic glass that held a super sharp edge.

Hippocrates also performed trepanning almost 2,500 years ago...

13 posted on 04/26/2008 9:52:08 PM PDT by maine-iac7 (Typical Gun-Toting, Jesus-Loving Gramma)
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To: blam

“There once was a tribe called the Incas,
“Who got to be known as big drincas.
“They worshipped the sun,
“And had lots of fun,
“But the peasants all thought they were stincas.”

;^)


14 posted on 04/27/2008 3:18:30 AM PDT by elcid1970 (My cartridges are dipped in pig grease.)
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To: blam
"My God, man. Drilling holes in his head isn't the answer. "

Mark

15 posted on 04/27/2008 4:52:01 AM PDT by MarkL
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To: blam

The last paragraph makes the “just medicine” theory hard to believe. Look at the ratio of people who had this surgery. You’d think it would be rare if it was heal head wounds from battle... but the article says 16 to 36 percent contained these holes?!??!? That’s crazy


From 411 skulls unearthed by different teams at six Peruvian sites dating from A.D. 1000 to the end of the Incas’ reign, the researchers identified 66 cases of trepanation. At pre-Inca sites, 5 to 8 percent of skulls displayed surgical openings. At Inca sites, 16 to 36 percent of skulls contained one or more trepanation holes.


16 posted on 04/27/2008 5:44:10 AM PDT by Mount Athos (if water boarding was a sexual preference, they'd be teaching it in public schools)
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To: blam

Yep, and they were really great at cutting out hearts too.


17 posted on 04/27/2008 6:11:15 AM PDT by Malesherbes
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To: Mount Athos

16% to 36% is a very high number for medical treatment, exceeeding the rate of serious but normal diseases and physical ailments in the population.

Leading me to the conclusion that they must have thought that trepanation was the cure for the commone cold.

“Now this will hurt a bit, but for God’s sake, don’t sneeze!”


18 posted on 04/27/2008 9:47:56 AM PDT by wildbill
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To: Malesherbes
Yep, and they were really great at cutting out hearts too.

I was gonna say the same thing, but I think it was the Mayans that did the "cut your heart out and hand it to you in a doggy bag" thing.

19 posted on 04/27/2008 9:49:21 AM PDT by LiberConservative ("Typical" White Guy)
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To: LiberConservative

Aztecs did that. They also wore their victim’s skin.


20 posted on 04/27/2008 9:50:32 AM PDT by RightWhale (Repeal the Law of the Excluded Middle)
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To: blam; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; 1ofmanyfree; 24Karet; 3AngelaD; 49th; ...

· join list or digest · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post a topic ·

 
Gods
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Thanks Blam.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
GGG managers are Blam, StayAt HomeMother, and Ernest_at_the_Beach
 

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21 posted on 04/27/2008 4:20:36 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/_____________________Profile updated Saturday, March 29, 2008)
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To: SunkenCiv; blam

skull found in the River Thames, note brow ridges.

22 posted on 04/27/2008 5:11:44 PM PDT by Fred Nerks (a fair dinkum aussie)
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To: Fred Nerks

Nice, thanks!


23 posted on 04/27/2008 5:35:19 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/_____________________Profile updated Saturday, March 29, 2008)
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To: Fred Nerks

Heavy.


24 posted on 04/27/2008 8:21:59 PM PDT by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: blam

Well-preserved skull of Gadevang Man, a prehistoric 'bog body', dated 480-60 BC, found in Denmark. The skull shows signs of a surgical trephination procedure

25 posted on 04/27/2008 8:56:52 PM PDT by Fred Nerks (a fair dinkum aussie)
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To: blam; SunkenCiv
from what I can gather, there is evidence of 'skull surgery' on every continent. Egypt, Turkey, England and Ireland, and Denmark for example, aside from the large collection held in the museum at Lima, Peru.

Example from Ireland:

Leads me to believe there must have been a common cause. People wouldn't be cutting holes in their heads for no good reason...

26 posted on 04/27/2008 11:37:32 PM PDT by Fred Nerks (a fair dinkum aussie)
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