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The 2,000-Year-Old Elongated Skull Shows Indications of "Advanced" Craniotomy

By: April Carson

The scientific community has been intrigued by an unusual, ancient Peruvian warrior's skull with a 2,000-year history. The skull appears to show one of the oldest cases of successful neurosurgery ever recorded.

What do we know about elongated skulls?

Skull elongation was practiced by many civilizations throughout history. The oldest instances of elongated skulls in Europe seem to date back to the Neolithic, when people in the Middle East altered their lifestyles dramatically.

In the Bronze Age, around 3000-2500 BC, many pastoral cultures took up the practice. If deformation of the crania is more prevalent in females in the early stages, it becomes apparent primarily in boys among pastoralists during the Bronze Age.

Then, this practice was taken up by people in South and Central America. The ancient Peruvian Paracas Culture, for example, believed in the practice of ‘infant head binding,' which involved using a variety of instruments and goods to alter the form of infants' heads. Thousands of years later, however, no one truly understands its purpose or origin.

What is trepanation, and how did ancient people perform it?

Trepanation is one of the oldest known surgical techniques, although its original goal is unknown. This treatment was described by Hippocrates around 400 BCE, when he stated that it helped blood to drain after a serious brain injury. According to other sources, this surgery, which entails drilling a hole in the skull, was utilized as a therapy for mental illnesses.

Up until recently, it was believed that the main objective of trepanation was to alleviate pressure within the skull in order to restore an individual's mental health. There are numerous signs that support this theory, namely the frequent cases of deformities in skulls affected by this method prior to its implementation.

Overall, there are several theories, and the cause might have been different in cultures all over the world. One thing is certain: head injuries were prevalent in battle and the Peruvian fighter whose skull is being studied now appears to have a fractured skull.

According to experts, Peruvian ancient surgeons were genuine specialists in trepanation injuries since archaeologists have discovered more skulls with trepanations in Peru than from throughout the rest of the world.

One of the oldest operations in history is shown by a Peruvian skull

This procedure is not the earliest skull surgery, but the 2,000-year-old elongated skull kept in the Museum of Osteology in Oklahoma is proof of one of the first. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that it was a success.

Should we point out that all of these procedures were completed while the patient was still living and without anesthesia? Consider the will and fortitude of those antique humans.

The metal implants used to preserve the Peruvian elongated skull set it apart from other discovered examples. Surgeons appear to have found a method to join the fractured skull using metal.

According to experts, gold and silver were most common in such treatments. In conclusion, this will not be the last time we hear about this unusual elongated skull.

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About the Blogger:

April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on

To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav



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