Archaeologists have found a 2,000-year-old skull of a Peruvian warrior bound with metal, considered one of the oldest examples of ancient surgery.
The scientists keep the “elongated” skull fused with the metal currently in the SKELETONS, Museum of Osteology in Oklahoma, USA.
An elongated skull is defined as a deliberate modification of the skull structure by external pressure.
The museum hailed the find as one of its most interesting artifacts. The skull is believed to be a Peruvian warrior and was damaged in battle about 200 years ago. It is believed that Peruvian surgeons performed a miraculous operation on the warriors’ skulls when they returned from battle seriously wounded.
The museum said through its official account on “Facebook” that the elongation of the skull structure “was achieved by attaching the head from a very young age.” This is a practice that demonstrated social standing.
It is believed that ancient Peruvian surgeons implanted a piece of metal to repair a broken skull.
The museum said: “The material used was not poured as molten metal. We don’t know the composition of the plate. The plate was used to help connect the broken bones.”
He continued, “Although we cannot guarantee the use of anesthesia, we know that there are many natural remedies for surgical procedures during this time period.”
Experts say the operation on the skull proves that ancient peoples were able to perform complex surgeries and medical procedures.
The museum published: “We don’t have a lot of basic information on this piece, but we do know that it survived this procedure. Based on the broken bone surrounding the metal approved for repair, you can see that it is firmly stuck together. It was a successful surgery.”
A spokesperson for the SKELETONS Museum explained to the British newspaper “Daily Star”: “Traditionally, silver and gold have been used for this type of procedure.”
The region where the skull was discovered in Peru has long been famous for its surgeons who devised a series of complex procedures to treat skull fractures.
There are multiple reasons for the elongation of the skull, ranging from as a means of distinguishing society’s elites from the common people, to serving as a form of defence.
Injury to this skull was fairly common at the time, due to the use of projectiles such as slingshots during battles.
It is noteworthy that elongated skulls were also common in Peru at that time. It is stretched by applying pressure to a person’s skull, and is usually joined between two pieces of wood.
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