Book ID: CBB000212329

Holes in the Head: The Art and Archaeology of Trepanation in Ancient Peru (2016)


Verano, John W. (Author)

Dumbarton Oaks

Publication Date: 2016
Physical Details: 324 pages
Language: English

Trepanation is the oldest surgical procedure known from antiquity, extending back more than five thousand years in Europe and to at least the fifth century BC in the New World. Anthropologists and medical historians have been investigating ancient trepanation since the mid-nineteenth century, but questions remain about its origins, evolution, and the possible motivations for conducting such a dangerous surgical procedure. Peru is particularly important to these questions, as it boasts more trepanned skulls than the rest of the world combined. This volume presents the results of a long-term research project that examined more than 800 trepanned skulls from recent archaeological excavations and from museum collections in Peru, the United States, and Europe. It examines trepanation in ancient Peru from a broad anthropological and historic perspective, focusing on the archaeological context of osteological collections and highlighting the history of discoveries. It explores the origins and spread of the practice throughout the Central Andes, with a focus on trepanation techniques, success rates, and motivations for trepanning. It examines the apparent disappearance of trepanation in the Andes following Spanish conquest, while noting that there are reports of trepanations being performed by healers in highland Peru and Bolivia into the twentieth century.

Reviewed By

Review Stanley Finger (2017) Review of "Holes in the Head: The Art and Archaeology of Trepanation in Ancient Peru". Journal of the History of the Neurosciences (pp. 228-229). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Finger, Stanley
Stefanie L. Bautista
David Beresford-Jones
Catriel Greco
Alexander Herrera
Matthew E. Biwer
Journal of the History of the Neurosciences
Asclepio: Archivo Iberoamericano de Historia de la Medicina
Medicina Historica
Technology and Culture
Science, Technology, and Human Values
University of California Press
Temple University
University of Pittsburgh Press
University of Chicago Press
Swets & Zeitlinger
Reaktion Books
Mines and mining
Mercury (element)
Indigenous technology
Squire, Ephraim George
Hippocrates of Cos
Cunha, Euclides da
Time Periods
16th century
19th century
17th century
Early modern
21st century
20th century, early
South America
Amazon River Region (South America)
Latin America

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