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found on skulls partially cremated; and if it could be clearly demonstrated that cremation was never used in neolithic times, this would prove that the practice of trephining extended into the age of bronze; but in the sepulchres from which these skulls were taken, no trace of metal was found, and the two modes of interment by inhumation and cremation were found to exist side by side.

On the other hand, one of three perforated skulls was discovered by M. Gassier at Entre-roches, near Angoulême, among relics which he assigned to the paleolithic period; but Dr. Broca shows that from pottery and a polished hatchet having been found in the same sepulchre, as also bones of animals all belonging to existing species, this interment was certainly neolithic, and he does not think trephining can be traced to an earlier epoch than the neolithic. As regards its area and origin, he says the custom obtained in a large part of France, from the artificial grottoes of the department of Marne on the north, to the natural grotto of Sordes (Basses-Pyrénées) on the south; the extreme stations to the south-east being those of Lozère discovered by Prunières. Similar discoveries have been made by various archæologists in the department of Charente on the west, in the great dolmen of Bougon (Deux Sèvres), and in two sepulchres near Moret (Seine-etOise). "Pre-historic trephining, therefore," says Dr. Broca, "was not a local practice confined to a single tribe; it occupied an extensive area among people who without doubt were numerous and distinct, but who were certainly bound together by strict social and religious ties, and by a common civilization.1 Whence came this curious practice? If we judged according to the frequency of the facts, we should be disposed to believe that it originated in the region which now forms the department of Lozère, since it is there that the greater number of specimens have been found. But this result is probably due to the indefatigable 1 These trephined skulls have since been found in many other parts of Europe, as will be seen later.


activity and the rare aptitude of M. Prunières, whose sagacious eye allows no detail to escape. It is not yet three years (1879) since the first discussion in the Anthropological Society of Paris drew the attention of French pre-historians to the subject; it is only since then that other neolithic stations have been studied with this especial object, and the already numerous facts gathered will doubtless soon be multiplied. It is no less probable that similar facts will soon show themselves beyond the geographical area indicated. I am not of the number of those who attribute to one people all the megalithic monuments, and all neolithic civilization; but it appears to me indisputable that this civilization has been spread most frequently by means of migration, and the determination of the places to which the practice of trephining has been extended may throw much light on the direction of these migrations.

"If the incomplete trephinings were as well known and as clearly demonstrated as the perfected; if, in other words, their witness was as decisive, the skull of Roknia described above would lead us to believe that the therapeutic surgery of the neolithic epoch had been imported into Northern Africa by the constructors of the dolmens of that region; perhaps we see there the origin of these trephinings, which have been in use from a very remote period among the Kabyles, and of which M. le Baron Larry has spoken before the Medical Academy of Paris. But a fact at present unique is not sufficient to establish such a conclusion."1

There can be no doubt that neolithic monuments similar to those in which these trephined skulls have been found in France exist in large numbers in our own country, and more especially in Ireland, Wales, and the West of England; but as far as I am aware no record exists of the discovery of a skull thus treated in Great Britain or in Ireland; nevertheless I think it probable that such may yet be found; and indeed, some recently discovered by General Pitt-Rivers at Rushmore

1 Sur la Trépanation du Crâne, et les Amulettes Craniennes à l'époque Néolithique. Par M. Paul Broca, 1879, pp. 69, 70.

may possibly belong to this category, and if so they would bring down the practice to a much more recent time than that suggested by Dr. Broca.1

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The subject doubtless bears strongly upon the religious beliefs of the people practising it. The hole bored in the skull had its origin in the belief in spiritual possession, which existed even within historic times in cases of epilepsy and other convulsive disorders. "The intervention of a supernatural agent," says Dr. Broca,2 appeared still more evident because certain individuals displayed in their convulsive movements a strength beyond their ordinary strength, nothing but a spirit imprisoned in the body could produce such effects; he is agitated and angry in his prison; if a door could be opened for him he would escape, and the sick would be healed. This probably gave birth to the idea of pre-historic trephining." This of course presupposes a belief in spirits, beings supernatural and intangible, yet requiring visible means of egress and ingress.

It may be regarded as almost certain that the holes found in the stones forming the entrance to dolmens in India as well as in our own country, have their origin in this belief, and the custom which has hardly died out, of passing children through such holes for the cure of certain diseases, appears to bear some analogy to the practice of trephining, although whether the custom of trephining originated in the holed stone, or whether the hole in

1 I find a notice in The Academy (December 2, 1846) of the discovery in an ancient burial-ground at Selby, near York, of a skull with a small round hole in it, "evidently artificial, and resembling in every respect a perforation in the skull of a Roman lady discovered in one of the old cemeteries at York ;" and the writer continues, "What was the object of these peculiar efforts of ancient surgery? It has been suggested that they might be intended to cure epilepsy." I do not know what has become of these skulls, nor whether their age has been ascertained, but if they were specimens of genuine trephining they would be valuable. In any case the discovery is curious and suggestive, as is also the report of the discovery in tombs in the same neighbourhood, of hazel twigs or rods in the hand of four out of seven skeletons found, which bears upon my previous chapter on Divination.

2 Sur la Trépanation du Crâne, M. Paul Broca, pp. 69, 70.

the stone made for the passage of the spirit was taken from the surgical operation, is yet to be ascertained. I fancied I observed a survival of this curious custom of trephining during my sojourn in the South of France. At Cannes I saw several dogs with oblong patches of red leather stuck on their heads, and on inquiring of a man who had one of these dogs the meaning of this curious adornment, he replied, "You see, Madame, all young dogs are subject to fits, and it is supposed that this piece of leather worn just on the brain will prevent these attacks." "And does it really have that effect?" I asked, desirous of finding out how far the idea extended. "Ah, Madame," was the answer, with the inimitable French shrug of the shoulders, "how can I say? I am not a keeper of dogs, but they say so." I observed also in Milan that almost every dog wore on the top of the head under the compulsory muzzle, a little ornamental patch of cloth or leather, generally red, but whether with the same idea of warding off madness or fits I could not ascertain.

Dr. Broca has told us that even to the present day the shepherds of Lozère trepan giddy sheep, by taking the head of the sheep between their knees, applying the point of their large knife to the skull, and turning it between the hands until a hole is made, and he thinks this might have been done by a flint knife in neolithic times, although this process would not make a similar perforation to that in the trephined skulls; but the people of some of the South Sea Islands, who still practise trephining, perform the operation by scraping with a piece of glass, which-substituting flint for the glass-Dr. Broca thinks to have been the process in neolithic times, since he found by experiment that he could by that instrument, used as a scraper, make just the elliptic opening found upon the neolithic skulls. The Kabyles of Algeria," says Dr. Broca, "who often practise trephining, use saws, by the aid of which they circumscribe the piece to be removed." Mr. Squier discovered in an ancient Peruvian tomb a skull which had been trephined by means of four sections, cut at

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right angles, so as to take away a square piece. The Greek surgeons opened the skull by means of a turning instrument, called the trepan, but this, as Dr. Broca points out, could only have been after the discovery of metals, and yet the origin of the operation had been forgotten in the time of Hippocrates, in the fifth century before our era.

With regard to cranial amulets, Dr. Broca says that although those of which he has spoken are all of the neolithic period, yet there are traces of their use long after that time. There is one in the Collection Morel, at Chalons-sur-Marne, suspended from a Gallic torque by a hole in the centre. A similar amulet pierced with holes was found by M. de Baye, also in the Department of Marne, and he possesses several others, which although not suspended to torques, were in all probability made to be hung round the neck like medals, and we may believe that this Gallic custom had descended from neolithic times, although perhaps the Gauls did not attach to them the same ideas as their predecessors; and that which had originally been an amulet, might in time have become simply an ornament, for we know how persistently certain popular customs become perpetuated under their material sign, even when the original design of the custom is lost."1 But a singular illustration of the survival of the ancient belief in the efficacy of amulets cut from the human skull as a protection from epilepsy, may be found in the English Illustrated Magazine for May 1886, where, in an article entitled " In Umbria,” we meet with the following passage.

"A very curious amulet (in Perugia) was the fragment of a human skull enclosed in a little brass reliquary, and considered to be a sovereign protection against epilepsy and kindred disorders. Tradition said that this bit of bone had belonged to the skull of a person dead two hundred years before, who had worked so many wonderful cures by his skill in medicine, and had lived such a long and saintly life, that he had been

1 Les Trépanations Prehistoriques, Broca, p. 6.

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