E Tullo



Evidence for prehistoric trepanation is limited to preserved osteoarchaeological material, namely human skulls, and the occasional discovery of surgical instruments. However, the Roman empire gave rise to an abundant and diverse range of source types, including skeletal remains, material culture and detailed medical texts, each of which harbours the potential to contribute to our understanding of trepanation during this historical period. This paper highlights the advantages and inherent biases of each of these source types, and proposes that the simultaneous analysis and integration of different types of historical evidence is essential for the study of trepanation as a surgical procedure.

Keywords  Osteoarchaeology, Roman medicine, surgery, trepanation

Declaration of Interests  No conflict of interests declared.