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EARLY IRON AGE SURGICAL TECHNOLOGIES: ANTE-MORTEM TREPANATION AMONG THE EARLY NOMADS OF GORNY ALTAI

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Abstract

Results of a science-based analysis of ante-mortem trepanation carried out by Scythian Age surgeons of Gorny Altai (4th–3rd centuries BC) are presented. Inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry, energy dispersive X-ray fluorescent analysis using synchrotron radiation, and magnetic resonance tomography were supplemented by micro-wear experiments. All trepanations were performed by scraping and included two stages. The bone tissue around the holes reveals high concentrations of copper and tin but no traces of iron or arsenic, suggesting that surgical instruments were made of tin bronze. A knife, experimentally manufactured of copper, tin, and zinc alloy and shaped like knives used
by Southern Siberian nomads, was successfully used to perform trepanation on a cadaver.

About the Authors

T. A. Chikisheva
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, Pr. Akademika Lavrentieva 17, Novosibirsk, 630090, Russia
Russian Federation


P. V. Volkov
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, Pr. Akademika Lavrentieva 17, Novosibirsk, 630090, Russia
Russian Federation


A. L. Krivoshapkin
Meshalkin Research Institute of Circulation Pathology, Ministry of Health Care and Social Development of the Russian Federation, Rechkunovskaya 15, Novosibirsk, 630055, Russia
Russian Federation


A. T. Titov
Institute of Geology and Mineralogy, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, Pr. Akademika Koptyuga 3, Novosibirsk, 630090, Russia
Russian Federation


V. P. Kurbatov
Meshalkin Research Institute of Circulation Pathology, Ministry of Health Care and Social Development of the Russian Federation, Rechkunovskaya 15, Novosibirsk, 630055, Russia
Russian Federation


A. V. Zubova
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, Pr. Akademika Lavrentieva 17, Novosibirsk, 630090, Russia
Russian Federation


A. P. Borodovsky
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, Pr. Akademika Lavrentieva 17, Novosibirsk, 630090, Russia
Russian Federation


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For citation:


Chikisheva T.A., Volkov P.V., Krivoshapkin A.L., Titov A.T., Kurbatov V.P., Zubova A.V., Borodovsky A.P. EARLY IRON AGE SURGICAL TECHNOLOGIES: ANTE-MORTEM TREPANATION AMONG THE EARLY NOMADS OF GORNY ALTAI. Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia. 2014;60(4):146-154. (In Russ.)

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ISSN 1563-0110 (Print)