Prehistoric and primitive medicine
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PREHISTORIC AND PRIMITIVE MEDICINE. Assist . Prof.Dr . Mehmet KARATAŞ Department of History of Medicine and Ethics. Findings / Evidences. Human mummy Human skeleton S tatuary Wall / stone figures. USA, Kyphosis. H arelip / Stroke. France, 15 . 000-10 . 000 BC. Branches of Science.

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Prehistoric and primitive medicine


Assist.Prof.Dr. Mehmet KARATAŞ

Department of History of MedicineandEthics

Findings evidences

  • Human mummy

  • Human skeleton

  • Statuary

  • Wall / stone figures

Usa kyphosis
USA, Kyphosis

H arelip stroke

France 15 000 10 000 bc
France, 15.000-10.000 BC

Branches of science
Branches of Science

  • Archeology

  • Paleontology

  • Paleopathology

  • Physical anthropology

Findings evidences1

  • Evidences of infectious diseases,tuberculosis and parasitic infestations have been found in the tissues of mummies in Ancient Egypt

  • Evidences in teeth and bones; osteomyelitis, incorrect fracture union, trauma, spinal tuberculosis, bone tm

  • Decalcification, bone thickness, the bone growth

Findings evidences2

  • Bone deformities caused by syphilis

  • Signs of rickets in northern regions

  • Bile/kidney stones, congenital anomalies

  • Evidences of arteriosclerosis, pneumonia, stones (kidney), parasites in AncientEgyptianmummies

Lack of evidences
Lack of Evidences

  • There isn't enough information about prehistoric medicine

  • No evidence before 4000 BC

Life span
Life Span

  • Women live shorter than men

    (more birth, less food)

  • Men live longer than women

Azte c goddess w hile g iving b irth
Aztec Goddess (whilegivingbirth)

The basis of the medical practises
The Basis of the Medical Practises

  • Diseases: A foreign power or a spirit takes control of the body with magic

  • Supernatural powers

  • A combination of religion, magicandmedicaltreatment

Usa warts verru
USA, warts (verru)

Prehistoric treatment methods
Prehistoric Treatment Methods

  • Fighting against diseases with magic

    (Appease the evil spirit or expelling)

  • Herbal treatment; fever reducers, diuretics, analgesics, sedatives, stimulants (curare, opium, cannabis, coca)

  • Massage

  • Water vapor treatment

  • Craniotomy, circumcision

Trepanation in neolithic period in france
Trepanation in Neolithic Period in France

  • Expelling the evil spirit

  • A realsurgical intervention


  • Europe

  • Anatolia

  • Caucasus

  • Iran, Israel regions

  • North Pacific islands

  • South America

Trepanation tools
Trepanation Tools

  • Flint

  • Volcanic obsidian

  • Animal bones

Medical applications
Medical Applications

  • Various dances were performed in order to appease or expel the evil spirit

  • Masks, animal skins, drums… were used for this procedure

  • Absorption (snake bite), bottle drawing, blood flow, smoking

  • Finding guilty objects (Indians)

Medical applications1
Medical Applications

  • Tourniquet to stop the bleeding, pressuring, cauterization

  • Amputation (usually/more for offerings)

  • Suture with sewing needles made ​​of bone and tendon

  • Reduction of dislocations

  • Fracture treatment (wooden hanger, animal skin)

Medical applications2
Medical Applications

  • Handicapped people were killed/protection

  • Mentally ill people were killed/excluded (Because it was the expression of the evil spirit)

  • The killing of the elderly in order to lighten their loads

  • Eskimos left their mother/father on ice

Medical people
Medical People

  • Having mental illness is enough to be shaman in Amerindians and Siberians

  • Medicine, from father to son

  • There also some female physicians

  • Physicians protect from bad weather conditions, loss of herd, bad harvest and all types of disaster

  • Their social political status is high

  • Surgeries only do trepanation, blood streaming, wound drainage. They don’t do othertreatments.

Medical people1
Medical People

  • American Indian physician (expert magicians, snake bite, injury, herbal therapy)

  • Professional magicians in the Congo

  • Siberian shaman has drum, hat, mask and he intermediates spirits, predicts future events, says magical words

Konuyla lgili soru cevap
Konuyla İlgili SORU/CEVAP

Soru 1:

Tarih öncesi dönemdeki tıbbi uygulamalara ait bulgular nereden elde edilmektedir?

Cevap 1: Mumyalaşmış cesetler, insan iskeletleri, figürler, duvar resimleri, heykeller

Soru 2:

Tarih öncesi dönemde hastalıkların tedavisinde kullanılan yöntemler nelerdi?

Cevap 2: Büyü, bitkiler, masaj, su buharı, kraniyotomi, sünnet


  • A. Selim ATAY, İnönü Üniversitesi Tıp Fakültesi, translation

  • Tolga GÜVEN, Marmara Üniversitesi Tıp Tarihi ve Etik AD ders notları

  • Ali Haydar BAYAT, Tıp Tarihi

  • Emine ATABEK, Şefik GÖRKEY, Başlangıcından Rönesansa Kadar Tıp Tarihi

  • Çağlar Boyu Tıp, RocheYayınları