2. Trepanning: Boring Holes in the Skull
Trepanning was a ghastly form of surgery to treat head trauma, dating back to the prehistoric Neolithic period. It involved drilling a hole in a living person’s skull and removing a piece of bone to expose the dura mater without causing damage to the brain.
Wondering why would someone be subjected to this horrifying ordeal in the name of medical treatment? Well, you are not alone, as scientists are still unsure why it was performed. Two possible theories state that trepanation could have occult origins to exorcise the ill or could have been a rather grisly way to treat blood clots and abscesses and cranial injuries.
Trepanning was widely practiced across the globe and time periods as revealed by excavated skull remains. These skulls also showed healing, suggesting that many of the patients surprisingly survived the surgery.