Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/556

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

up in the valley of the Petit-Morin with the whole top of the head removed, but these belong to an entirely different category. They are all cases of mutilation after death—mutilation, in all probability, of the heads of enemies.

One of the skulls found by the Baron de Baye was that of a man of advanced age who had been trepanned twice at different periods, and had recovered from both operations.

But this is not all. Not only were skulls of living men systematically trepanned among the men who raised the rude stone circles and dolmens, or, as we call them, cromlechs, but they preserved and used as ornaments or amulets the pieces of skull thus removed. A great number of such cranial disks, pierced with one or two holes for suspension, have also been found in their sepulchres, and these are not infrequently polished or rubbed by fine long usage.

It does not appear that this strange custom of removing portions of the skulls of living men and women was confined to the men. Skulls similarly treated have been found elsewhere. If it were a fashion, it spread among other races.

One portion of a skull bored with holes for suspension was found in a tumulus in Thuringia belonging to the bronze age. A trepanned skull was extracted from a covered stone avenue at Borreby, in Denmark; another from a dolmen at Näs, in the isle of Falster; another comes from Karleby, in West Gothland, from a tomb of the transition period from polished stone to bronze, and this, so far, is the sole example from Sweden.

But prehistoric trepanning was practiced in America. In the Peabody Museum is a skull thus treated. Another comes from Peru. A mound on the Devil's River furnished another example. More trepanned skulls have been found near Lake Huron and Grape Mound. A skull in a great tumulus on the river Detroit had two holes cut in it. A sepulchre at Chaclocayo, near Lima, contained a head that had undergone like treatment. A trepanned skull was found in a tomb in the upper basin of the Amazon. But all the American cases are of cranial mutilation after death.

To come to Europe, in addition to those trepanned skulls already mentioned in Sweden, Denmark, and France, they have been found in tombs of the neolithic age in Portugal and in Spain.

Dr. Boulongue, in his work on Montenegro, says that it is a custom of the natives of the Black Mountain to have portions of their skulls removed for the smallest motive, merely if troubled with headache, and not at all solely because of a blow and breakage of the skull and concussion of the brain. He says that he knew of individuals who had themselves trepanned seven or eight times without its affecting their health.