Museum of Ancient Inventions: Trepanation Kit

Trepanation Kit, Worldwide, 2000 BCE

Trepanation is a method of brain surgery whose origins can be traced to the Late Stone Age. Some remote societies still practice it today, and in some tribal cultures of East Africa it has survived as an integral part of traditional medicine. Doctors employed this invasive procedure to relieve distress caused by a variety of disturbances, including skull fractures, parasites, pressure, hydrocephaly, incurable headaches, and even evil spirits. Intricate and refined instruments aided prehistoric surgeons in the different methods of penetrating the skull, and sometimes in actually removing tissue from the brain.

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Constructed by: Dierdre Crane

This brass reproduction includes a wooden bow to drive the drill, a shaft for the drill, a removable, tube-shaped drill bit with a serrated edge, a center pin to guide the drill in the first stages and a wooden, removable cup to protect the surgeon’s hand.

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Health & Medicine, Inventions & Scientists
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Ancient History
K-6, Middle School, High School
Kindergarten, 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade, 9th Grade, 10th Grade, 11th Grade, 12th Grade

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