Woman with brain surgery to be revived
A “revival” project is being carried out on a woman’s skull, which was discovered in 1989 during archaeological excavations in the Aşıklı Mound in the Central Anatolian province of Aksaray and is believed to have undergone the first brain surgery in history.
It is believed that it was the skull of a nearly 25-year-old woman and that after the surgery, she lived for about 10 days. The 10,400-year-old Aşıklı mound, located in Kızılkaya village of Gülağaç district, is known as the first village of Central Anatolia and Cappadocia. The mound has hosted many firsts in history. For example, the first agricultural experiments were made there as well as the first domestication of sheep and goats. The skull, on which the first brain surgery was performed, is of great importance in terms of medical history and is exhibited in the Aksaray Museum.
Speaking to the state-run Anadolu Agency, the Aksaray Museum Director Yusuf Altın said that there were two holes in the skull and that they believed that it was the traces of the first skull surgery performed in history.
Noting that 9,500 years ago, the average age of people was between 30 and 35, Altın said: “The studies carried out on the skull by scientists revealed that the woman who had the surgery lived about 10 days after the operation. The Aksaray Municipality started a project on the skull exhibited in the Aksaray Museum. We had a 3D scan of the skull done. We will portray a 25-year-old woman from 9,500 years ago, and two 3D copies of it will be made. One will be exhibited at the Aksaray Science Center and the other will be in our museum. These studies are being carried out in Germany. After they are finished, we will present the copies to visitors. They will be made of beeswax.”
Mihriban Özbaşaran, professor at the Istanbul University’s Prehistoric Archaeology Department and the head of Aşıklı mound excavations, said the excavations at Aşıklı Höyük started in 1989.
“Excavations have continued uninterruptedly since then. There is agriculture and animal husbandry in Central Anatolia today. We see it in the mound, too, namely the first people who were engaged in agriculture and animal husbandry. The first settlement began there in 8,400 B.C. Aşıklı mound was a place of the first village settlement, the first agricultural experiments and the place where the first sheep and goats were domesticated,” she said.
Özbaşaran said that the woman of the skull was buried with her baby and they found it that way.
“In the examinations at Hacettepe University, it was revealed that this skull was especially pierced and the operation was performed very sensitively. It was revealed that this was an operation performed using obsidian drillers. Then there was regeneration in the cells in the skull. So it seems that the woman lived for some time after the operation. When the project is finished, we will meet the woman of Aşıklı.”