6 Jun, 2012 @ 10:00
1 min read

Medieval skulls discovered in Spain

TWO trepanned medieval skulls, whose owners had holes drilled through their heads probably while they were still alive, have been unearthed in Spain.

The 13th and 14th century skulls were found in a medieval cemetery in Soria, in Castile and Leon.

Trepanation was a prehistoric surgical technique used to treat migraines, to remove debris from skull fractures or to free the individual from evil spirits.

It involved scraping or drilling a hole through the head with a sharp object – often while the patient was still alive.

Particularly surprising is that one of the skulls found is from a female, aged between 45 and 50.

“In Spain, only 10 per cent of those trepanned skulls found belonged to women,” said an expert.

James Bryce

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  1. I think you may mean Always while the patient was still alive, that was the whole point. The fascinating thing is how many of the skulls, even from truly prehistoric times, show signs of bone healing round the trephination. It was also used, and is used to this day, to relieve intracranial pressure after a blow to the head, to prevent death from sub-dural or sub-arachnoid haemorrhage.

  2. Hi PM. Thanks for your comment. According to my research, there is evidence to suggest trepanation might have also been carried out after death in order to remove evil spirits before the afterlife. I don’t think we can be sure though as obviously this was happening rather a long time ago…

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