Week 2 ArchNews

http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/ancient-cultures/daily-life-and-practice/medicine-in-the-ancient-world/

 

This article from “Bible History Daily” talks about medical and surgical procedures during ancient times. The beginning of the article talks about how ancient peoples were just as concerned with disease prevention as we are now. Gods played a major role in human health during that time period, and were linked to surgical procedures. Archaeologists have discovered that the remains left behind by the ancient peoples allude to the medical practices that were done. Certain skeletons that have been discovered during excavations show surgical procedures. The article then goes on to say that evidence of the most sophisticated ancient surgery can be found in skulls that show signs of trepanation. Trepanation is a procedure that we still use today that is preformed by drilling a hole into the skull to relieve intracranial pressure. Trepanated skulls from the ancient societies in Central/South America, Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East date as far back as the Mesolithic period (about 12,000 years ago). Excavations have also shown evidence of sophisticated dental practices. Found in a mass grave at Horvat en Ziq in the northern Negev desert of Israel, a skull that dates back to about 200 B.C. was found to contain one of the earliest known dental fillings. Archaeologists discovered that a 2.5 millimeter bronze wire had been inserted into the tooth’s canal. Other skulls recovered from the catacombs in Rome were discovered to have gold fillings. Do you believe that ancient doctors and medical procedures influenced modern medicine and doctors?

3 thoughts on “Week 2 ArchNews

  1. I most defiantly believe that ancient medical practices had a large influence on today’s modern medicine. The saying only goes “practice makes perfect” and from history we learn from our mistakes so that we cannot repeat them. Ancient societies using medical procedures not only tell us the sophistication of the society being able to use what little they had and still relieve one of suffering. It tell us what the past society viewed as our own anatomy as well as common disease and symptoms that existed back then. Many surgical procedures such as trepanation can be extremely modified and still used today. The past makes us better. Rome could have been the first ancient society to give modern day dentists the ideal way of how to use filling and correct teeth. Doctors can also look at past skeletons and see where they went wrong with procedures and diagnosing symptoms and now formulate medical procedures that are almost undoubtedly perfected.

  2. Kailyn,

    I would definitely argue that past doctors and medical procedures have had a significant impact on today’s doctors and dentists. Medicine has always been considered a “practice” for many reasons, primarily because nothing is truly guaranteed. I believe that by studying the past, modern doctors learned to avoid many of the same mistakes their predecessors made. Vast knowledge can be gained by doing things the wrong way and avoiding them in the future, just as Edison did with his 1,000 ways to not make the light bulb.

    I also somewhat agree with Rachel’s opinion about “practice makes perfect” in the sense that with enough practice, one becomes proficient. I could read about a medical procedure over and over, however, I’m sure most people would not want me to perform that procedure just because I read about it in a book. I also believe that past doctors may have operated in the same way as modern doctors, though the titles may have changed a little. Today, there are residents that work alongside physicians to gain experience in order to practice on their own. In the past, I’m sure it would be more closely related to an apprenticeship and that the student would work alongside the teacher in order to aid the teacher and develop their own skills.

    Thanks,
    Cory

  3. Hello, Kailyn!
    I am a firm believer that ancient medical procedures and doctors strongly influenced medicine today. If you think about it, the medical advances that ancient doctors made back then slowly evolved over generations and over time and those advances directly led to the advanced medicine we have today. I find it extremely interesting that ancient doctors performed trepanation. I had no idea that such complex and risky surgeries were performed back then. A question that comes to mind when hearing about these ancient medical procedures is what did these ancient peoples use to ease the pain of the patient? Did they use any anesthesia? The dental filling procedures mentioned in the article would be extremely painful without pain medication. It is mentioned in the article that Indian hemp was used as an anesthetic, however, that is much less powerful that anesthetics used today. Without ancient medicine, modern medicine would not have been able to reach the complexity that it has today.
    Best,
    Sami Baker

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