Interesting trepanation news last week: In Soria, Spain, two skulls have been exhumed showing evidence of trepanation. This is remarkable because they date from the 13th and 14th centuries C.E.—a time when trepanation was not usually done in the region.
From Science Daily:
The two skulls found in the cemetery in Soria belong to a male between 50 and 55 years and a woman between 45 and 50 years. The expert points out that “another interesting aspect of this finding is that trepanation in women is considered rare throughout all periods in history. In Spain, only 10% of those trepanned skulls found belonged to women.” [ … ]
The trepanation technique differs in each of the skulls. The skull of the male has been grooved with a sharp object and it is unknown whether trepanation occurred before or after his death. López Martínez confirms that “if the procedure took place whilst still alive, there is no sign of regeneration and the subject did not survive.”
In the woman, a scraping technique was used while she was still alive. According to the researchers, she survived for a “relatively long” amount of time afterwards given that the wound scarring is advanced.
This got me thinking about a documentary I saw a while back about a Brit named Amanda Feilding. Here’s a clip of her trepanning herself in front of a mirror. (Probably unnecessary warning: graphic.)
When I get migraines, I fantasize about self-trepanation. But only for about ten seconds.
Image: Detail from “The Extraction of the Stone of Madness”, a painting by Hieronymus Bosch depicting trepanation (c.1488-1516). Via Wikipedia.