Trepanned skull, Ugandan, 1925.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The large hole in the front of this skull is a trephination opening. The patient died in 1925 after a surgeon of the Lugwari tribe surgeon had trephined and put medicine on the dura mater. Trepanning is the practice of cutting holes in the skull, probably with the intention of releasing evil spirits or demons from the mind, which were believed to be responsible for causing mental problems or headaches.