Canaanites Performed Primitive Brain Surgery 3,500 Years Ago in Northern Israel

Skeletons of severely malformed brothers who survived their maladies (if not the trephination) found in Megiddo show the ancient Canaanites cared for the disabled

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Two 6,000-year-old trephinated skulls from the Judean desert. Bone regrowth showed the individual on the right survived the procedure. The one on the left did not.
Two 6,000-year-old trephinated skulls from the Judean desert. Bone regrowth showed the individual on the right survived the procedure. The one on the left did not.Credit: Ariel David
Ariel David
Ariel David

Archaeologists digging at ancient Megiddo, in today’s northern Israel, have unearthed the remains of two brothers who survived into adulthood even though they were born with congenital anomalies and were hit by debilitating diseases later in life. The researchers found evidence that the men were cared for by their family or the community, to the point that a complex medical procedure was performed on one of them at the end of his life in a desperate – and unsuccessful – attempt to save him.