Thessaloníki, Greece; March 12, 2008—Greek archaeologists believe a large hole in the skull of a third-century A.D. skeleton is rare evidence of ancient—and failed—brain surgery.
The patient, a young woman, is believed to have died during or shortly after the operation.
Although references to such delicate operations abound in ancient writings, discoveries of surgically perforated skulls are uncommon in Greece.
Site excavator Ioannis Graikos said the woman's skeleton was found during a rescue dig last year in Véria, a town some 46 miles (75 kilometers) west of Thessaloníki.
"We interpret the find as a case of complicated surgery, which only a trained and specialized doctor could have attempted," Graikos said.
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