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Trepanation and roman medicine: A comparison of osteoarchaeological remains, material culture and written texts

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Ellen Tullo


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Evidence for prehistoric trepanation is limited to preserved osteoarchaeological material, namely human skulls, and the occasional discovery of surgical instruments. However, the Roman empire gave rise to an abundant and diverse range of source types, including skeletal remains, material culture and detailed medical texts, each of which harbours the potential to contribute to our understanding of trepanation during this historical period. This paper highlights the advantages and inherent biases of each of these source types, and proposes that the simultaneous analysis and integration of different types of historical evidence is essential for the study of trepanation as a surgical procedure. © 2010 Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Tullo E

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh

Year: 2010

Volume: 40

Issue: 2

Pages: 165-171

Print publication date: 01/01/2010

ISSN (print): 1478-2715

ISSN (electronic): 2042-8189

Publisher: Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh


DOI: 10.4997/JRCPE.2010.215

PubMed id: 20695173


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