What did the Incas use trepanation for?
Inca surgeons in ancient Peru commonly and successfully removed small portions of patients’ skulls to treat head injuries, according to a new study. The surgical procedure—known as trepanation—was most often performed on adult men, likely to treat injuries suffered during combat, researchers say.
Who first used trepanation?
The famous Greek physician Hippocrates wrote of this practice being used when someone’s head was indented or bruised. During the Middle Ages and into the 16th century, trepanning continued to be used frequently.
When was trepanation first used?
The early origins of trepanation The oldest discovered skulls showing evidence of trepanation date back to the Mesolithic period — around 6000 B.C. They emerged in North Africa, Ukraine, and Portugal.
What was the Inca practice of trepanation?
But trepanation—the act of drilling, cutting, or scraping a hole in the skull for medical reasons—was practiced for thousands of years from ancient Greece to pre-Columbian Peru. Not every patient survived. But many did, including more than 100 subjects of the Inca Empire.
What is the purpose of trepanation?
In ancient times, trepanation was thought to be a treatment for various ailments, such as head injuries. It may also have been used to treat pain. Some scientists also think that the practice was used to pull spirits from the body in rituals. Many times, the person would survive and heal after the surgery.
Who was the major Inca god?
Inti, also called Apu-punchau, in Inca religion, the sun god; he was believed to be the ancestor of the Incas. Inti was at the head of the state cult, and his worship was imposed throughout the Inca empire. He was usually represented in human form, his face portrayed as a gold disk from which rays and flames extended.
What is trepanation psychology?
Also known as trepanation, or trepanning, the process of making a hole through the skull to the surface of the brain might be carried out to treat a range of medical conditions or for more mystical reasons. (
What was the purpose of trepanation in Peru?
John Verano, a professor of anthropology at Tulane University who studies trepanation in Peru, tells mental_floss he’s convinced that “in Peru, the South Pacific, and many other parts of the world, trepanation began as a very practical treatment for head injuries. Say somebody has a head wound that’s torn up their skull.
Where was trepanation performed in the ancient world?
Today, the medical community would refer to it as a craniotomy. Throughout history, trepanation has been practiced in nearly every part of the world. It was performed in ancient Greece and Rome, and is today even reportedly used in parts of Africa, South America, and the South Pacific.
What did the Peruvians do with their bare fingers?
For instance, Civil War surgeons regularly used unsterilized medical tools, and even their bare fingers, to dig inside head wounds or break up blood clots, said study co-researcher John Verano, a world authority on Peruvian trepanation at Tulane University in New Orleans.
How did the Incas improve their trepanation skills?
These skulls indicate that the Inca refined their trepanation skills over the centuries. For example, the Inca learned not to perforate the dura, or the protective membrane covering the brain — a guideline that Hippocrates codified in ancient Greece at about the same time, in the fifth century B.C.