Ancient surgeon found buried with his scalpels, awls, needles, and other tools of the trade

Archaeologists in Lambayeque, Peru discovered the 1,000-year-old tomb of a surgeon who was buried with his scalpels, needles, and other implements. According to the director of the Sicán National Museum, the particular assortment of tools suggest that the surgeon was an expert in trepanation, drilling a hole in a patient's head to treat a variety of maladies. (I wrote about modern trepanation advocates for Boing Boing Digital back in 1999!) From Ancient Origins:

The deceased surgeon had been placed in seated position with his legs crossed. Within the grave, archaeologists found various grave goods including a golden mask with feathered eyes, a large bronze breastplate, and gilt copper bowls, which speak of his high status, as well as the surgical implements.

According to Arkeonews, the tomb contained "about 50 knives in total, some with a single cutting edge. Most are a bronze alloy with high arsenic content. Some have wooden handles. There is also a tumi, a ceremonial knife with a half-moon blade. By the tumi was a metal planchette with a symbol associated with surgical instruments. Two frontal bones, one adult and one juvenile, were found next to the planchette. Marks on the bones indicate they were deliberately cut with trepanation techniques."

images: National Museum of Sican