Bronze Age trepanned skull, Jericho, Palestine, 2200-2000 BC.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Bronze Age skull excavated from Jericho, showing four healed trepannings (holes cut in the skull bone). Trepanning may have been intended to release from the brain or mind the evil spirits and demons believed to cause mental illneses, migraine and epilepsy. Drilled holes were roughly circular, whereas knife-cut holes tended to be squarer. Some people, including this individual, survived the proces. This can be deduced from the fact that the bone shows signs of healing.