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Two possible cases of Trephination from Australia
American Journal of Physical Anthropology (1988)
  • Steve Webb, Australian National University

Cranial surgery has been performed for thousands of years among a wide range of cultures. Although the extent of its use has varied, ethnographically the operation has almost always been used as a form of medical treatment following cranial trauma or as a remedy for head pain. This paper describes two cases of cranial trauma on Australian Aboriginal remains from widely separated areas of the continent. The position and morphology of the trauma, as well as other associated features, suggest that these individuals underwent some form of surgical procedure. The features are similar to those found on accepted cases of trephination from elsewhere. If these individuals did undergo some sort of trephination, they are the first to be reported from Australia. Confirmation of the diagnosis would also increase our understanding of the geographical range of the technique in this part of Oceania, which was known previously only from parts of Melanesia.

  • Australian Aborigines,
  • palaeopathology,
  • surgery,
  • trauma
Publication Date
April 1, 1988
Publisher Statement

Citation only

Webb, S.G. (1988). Two possible cases of Trephination from Australia. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 75 (4), 541-548.

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© Copyright Alan R. Liss, Inc., 1988

Citation Information
Steve Webb. "Two possible cases of Trephination from Australia" American Journal of Physical Anthropology Vol. 75 Iss. 4 (1988)
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