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Prehistoric medicine

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									Prehistoric medicine
       A recap
  Aims of this revision session
By the end of this revision lesson you should
• Understand the problems we have with the
  evidence and prehistoric medicine
• Describe the main features of prehistoric
• Compare and contrast prehistoric
  medicine and aboriginal medicine and to
  draw some conclusions
           Prehistoric times
• Prehistoric means before history but really
  means before written history
• As a result we have very little evidence
  and as a result have to make educated
  guesses about what life was like for
  people in prehistoric times
• Usually refers to the people who lived
  before 10 000BC
    Problems with the evidence
• We only have archaeological
  evidence – problem is it
  cannot tell us the whole story
• We also have cave paintings
  and other finds
• One way that we can find out
  evidence is to look at people
  around the world who lived
  similar lifestyles to prehistoric
  people until relatively recently
    Lifestyle of prehistoric man
• Hunter gathers
• Followed the animals that they
• Did not farm
• Rarely lived beyond 30 years
• Did not write things down
• Used flint and had a basic
  understanding of the world
• Very religious – blamed spirits
  for good and bad things
             Practical ideas
• Have evidence that they
  used herbs and spices to
  treat diseases
• Evidence that they may have
  healed broken bones using
  casts and splints
• Used berries to cure
  common conditions such as
  constipation and diarrhoea
               Medicine men
• Prehistoric men used
  medicine men to help them
  to get rid of the evil spirits
  that thy thought caused
• Used lucky charms to help
• Used chants and magic
  spells to help people to get
• PH man performed this
  operation without anaesthetic
  – removed a piece of the skull
  to relieve pressure on the
• We know that people survived
  because we have found skulls
  where the bone has started to
  grow back
• Evidence of early knowledge
  of surgical techniques
• Yet this reason was done for
  supernatural as opposed to
  natural reasons
• They did in order to create a
  hole through which an evil
  spirit (which they thought
  caused the disease) could
• Also did surgery to remove
  cysts and moles
             The aborigines
• These are the original
  inhabitants of Australia
• Until 100 years back they
  lived in a similar way to
  prehistoric men
• We can make educated
  guesses about prehistoric
  men from looking at their

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