Archaeologists discover the tomb of two wealthy brothers who had access to ancient “neurosurgery”

Brown University scientists have discovered two aristocratic brothers buried in a Bronze Age tomb in  Israel , one of whom was being treated with trepanation. The study is published in the journal PLOS ONE .

Archaeologists have found the remains of two people under the elite residence of Tel Megiddo in Israel. DNA analysis suggested that the buried were brothers. Both men suffered from chronic diseases (clavicular cranial dysplasia, anemia, and possibly leprosy) and lived around 1500 BC. The tomb of the brothers was decorated with exquisite ceramics.

Extensive bone lesions indicate the severity of their condition. Nevertheless, these people lived for many years, perhaps due to wealth and status. Moreover, they had access to Bronze Age “neurosurgery”: one of the men has a square hole measuring about 30 mm in the frontal bone of the skull.

Trepanation has been used to treat various ailments by reducing pressure in the skull. No signs of bone healing were found in the bone. This means that the person died during the operation or shortly after.

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