Greek team finds ancient skull that underwent surgery: reports
SALONIKA, Greece (AFP) — Archaeologists have unearthed the skull of a young woman in northern Greece who is believed to have undergone head surgery in the third century, Greek news media reported Wednesday.
A Greek team discovered the skeleton at an ancient cemetery in Veria, with the skull including an injury that led them to conclude the surgery had been performed.
"We think that there was a complex surgical intervention that only an experienced doctor could have performed," said Ioannis Graikos, the head of the archaeological dig.
"Medical treatment on the human body in the Roman Veria is part of a long tradition that began with Hippocrates up to Roman doctor Celsus and Galen," he said, cited in the Ta Nea newspaper.
Hippocrates is believed to have lived in the fifth century BC, Celsus between 25 BC to 50 AD, and Galen from 131 to 201.
The procedure believed to have been carried out was a trepanation, an ancient form of surgery to address head injuries or illnesses.
In 2003, Greek archaeologists discovered a man's skull in a tomb on the Aegean island of Chios from the second century BC that had also undergone a trepanation.
The patient was believed to have lived a number of years after the operation.
Another trepanation was discovered in 2006 in Thrace on a young woman from the eighth century BC believed injured by a weapon.