Skull & Pleistocene mammoth femur, Bronze Age.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The skull shows four healed trepannings, excavated from Jericho, 2200-2000 BC. Diseased femur with large bone cysts from a small mammoth, Pleistocene Age, Alaska, USA, between 3 million and 100,000 years old. Trepanning (cutting holes in the skull bone) was probably intended to release evil spirits believed to cause illnes. Drilled holes were roughly circular, knife-cut ones were usually more square. Some people, including this individual survived, deduced from the fact that the bone shows signs of healing.