Scientists have determined that people had their teeth drilled at least 9,000 years ago. University of Kansas anthropologists dated skulls containing drilled teeth that were found in a Pakistan graveyard. The research was published in the scientific journal Nature, which also released photos demonstrating how a drill fashioned from flint, a rod, and a bow string might have been wielded sometime around 5500 - 7000 B.C.. From the Associated Press:
"The holes were so perfect, so nice," said study co-author David Frayer, an anthropology professor at the University of Kansas. "I showed the pictures to my dentist and he thought they were amazing holes."Link (Thanks, Vann Hall!)
How it was done is painful just to think about. Researchers figured that a small bow was used to drive the flint drill tips into patients' teeth. Flint drill heads were found on site. So study lead author Roberto Macchiarelli, an anthropology professor at the University of Poitiers, France, and colleagues simulated the technique and drilled through human (but no longer attached) teeth in less than a minute.
"Definitely it had to be painful for the patient," Macchiarelli said.
David Pescovitz is Boing Boing's co-editor/managing partner. He's also a research director at Institute for the Future. On Instagram, he's @pesco.