Ancient brain surgery proved   1 comment

 

Source Xinhua 

THE modern technology of craniotomy, an operation performed on the brain through an incision in the skull, may have been in use in China nearly 3,000 years ago.

Scientists made the conclusion after a detailed study of 13 perforated skulls that have been unearthed in the northwestern region of Xinjiang.

The skulls were found in a cluster of more than 2,000 ancient tombs in the desert outside Turpan, 200 kilometers east of the regional capital of Urumqi, said Lu Enguo, a researcher with the Xinjiang Institute of Archeology.

He said the skulls had between one to five holes each, although one had seven. “The holes were either round or square, and the healing tissues near the holes suggested they must have been made while the people were still alive – probably for medical purposes.”

Through laboratory tests, Lu found that nearly all the perforated skulls had signs of brain injuries.

“They might have fallen off their horses, for example, so the shaman priests, who also worked as doctors in those times, probably performed a primitive version of life-saving craniotomy,” he said.

Shamans enjoyed a lofty status in ancient society because people believed they could communicate with the gods and conjure up the dead. Shamanism used to be common in many parts of northern China.

Lu and his colleagues also found 600 mummies in the tombs, a dozen of which are believed to have been shamans because sacks of marijuana leaves were found next to the corpses.

“The marijuana must have been buried with the dead shamans who dreamed of continuing the profession in another world.”

The best preserved mummy is a Caucasian male about 1.2 meters long. Experts said the man must have been between 40 and 50 when he died.

The mummy was dressed in a leather coat, a knitted cloak, hat and boots. He wore earrings and a necklace, and held a copper-laced staff in one hand and a bronze axe in the other.

Three harp-like instruments were found, which archeologists believe were used by the shamans to communicate with the gods. “We assume the shamans played them during religious rituals to inform the gods of human deaths,” Lu said.

Archeologists say the tombs, which date from the Bronze Age to the Tang Dynasty, belonged to several large nomadic tribes.

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Posted December 15, 2013 by kitokinimi in Uncategorized

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One response to “Ancient brain surgery proved

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  1. Ouch

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