Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/557

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PREHISTORIC TREPANNING.

Apparently in all these cases the persons who were trepanned walked about among their fellows with always a soft place in their heads. But sound skulls have also been found with disks from other men's heads securely lodged within their own. These disks must have been introduced after death, and must have had a religious purpose.

The first of those so discovered was in the museum of Grenoble; it was noted in 1867 by M. Chambre, who completely misunderstood it, and supposed that the disk was a sort of bone spoon.

Another very singular discovery among the sepulchral remains of the same epoch and race concerns skulls, though not the trepanning of them. A considerable number of heads have been discovered stuffed with children's bones, and bearing traces of having been polished by friction. The skulls have apparently been carried hung round the neck as a sort of pocket on the breast, and small bones belonging to several children have been packed within them, specimen bones, as it were, taken from several different subjects.

The explanation of this is much easier than that of the trepanned skulls. It is supposed that a widow carried about with her the head of the "late lamented," and that in it she preserved memorials of her children who had died young, for the purpose of keeping by her a couple of bones of each of her pets.

The practice of wearing disks of skull was not confined to the people of the stone age. Two such have been found with holes for suspension in a Gaulish sepulchre at Wargemoulin, in Champagne, suspended to a bronze torque. Another was found with the body of a child of the Gaulish epoch. Others have been found in the cemeteries of Marne appertaining to the same people and to the historic period. In some cases undoubtedly heads were operated upon after death, and portions removed to serve as trophies, much as a North American Indian carried off and gloried in the scalps he obtained. But the evidence is all against this as explaining the greater number of cases of holed heads.

What is more probable is that these cranial disks were employed as amulets. In the exhibition at Milan in 1881, M. Bellucci showed such a portion of a skull that had been actually in use at the present day among the Italian peasantry as a cure for convulsions and epilepsy.

The writer of this article remembers some forty years ago making the acquaintance of a very charming Irish gentleman and lady. One day she thought she observed that his eyes were resting inquiringly on her brooch, which was of gold, inclosing a mass of fractured bone. She laughed and said: "Are you admiring my brooch? I will tell you the story of it. One day, some