According to the researchers, these remarkable skeletal remains may present a rare Middle Ages example of a primitive brain-surgery technique called trepanation. This procedure involved drilling or scraping a hole into the patient's skull to relieve pressure and theoretically a whole host of medical ailments.
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In this case, sadly, that relief may not have been enough. The grave in question was discovered in , during an excavation of the town of Imola in northern Italy, near the city of Bologna. The skeletal remains of the mother were found among several other burials that researchers dated to the Lombard period lasting from the 7th to 8th century A.
Because the woman's remains were found face-up and surrounded by cut stones, the researchers concluded that she was intentionally buried and likely hadn't been moved or altered before now. The woman was likely in her mids to 30s and appeared to be nearing the end of her pregnancy when she was buried.
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Although the baby's sex was impossible to determine, leg measurements suggested that it was near the 38th week of gestation. At the top of the woman's skull, researchers detected a small, circular hole measuring 4. The puncture was precise and round, suggesting that it didn't result from violence or a single, extreme blow, the researchers wrote. Rather, the wound appeared consistent with repetitive drilling directly into the bone — a hallmark of some trepanation surgeries, the study said.
Because the skull showed early signs of healing near the wound, it was likely that the hole was inflicted at least one week before the woman's death, not posthumously, the scientists said. The researchers also found a linear cut mark a few centimeters above the hole, measuring less than 3 mm 0. This, they said, could indicate an area where the scalp was cut or peeled away to prepare the skull for surgery.
fr.kovalev.com.ua/scripts M Pelling, 'Barbers and barber-surgeons: an occupational group in an English provincial town, ', Bulletin of the History of Medicine , 28 , pp All Glossary terms. A liquid injected into the anus.
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Enemas can be carried out for medical reasons, as a treatment for constipation, or as a way to give drugs. Science Museum. Brought to Life: Exploring the History of Medicine.
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