The Earliest Evidence of Ear Surgery
A 5,300 year old skull from the Dolmen of El Pendón site in Spain shows the earliest evidence of ear surgery to date
Since 2016, the late Neolithic site at Dolmen of El Pendón in Spain has been excavated. The site dates back to the 4th century BCE. Among the megalithic monument is an ossuary containing the remains of about 100 individuals. Two years into the excavations, the team recovered a skull of what is thought to be a female who was at least 65 years old as she had no teeth, loss of bone density, and thyroid cartilage that was calcified.
A closer look at both of the mastoid processes, a structure behind the ear, showed perforations and cut marks1. Clearly, these marks were the result of surgical interventions. The right earmarks were clearly older, remodeled and scarred down, and likely her first operation. She survived this procedure as the markings on the left ear were less remodeled indicating this occurred later in her life.
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