Stone Age Amputation Provides Evidence of Fairly Sophisticated Medicine

At a site south of Paris, France, archaeologists Cécile Buquet-Marcon and Anaick Samzun discovered what they believe to be evidence of a successful and intentional arm amputation:

The man, who lived in the Linearbandkeramik period, when European hunter-gatherers began subsistence farming, was found to be missing his forearm and hand bones.[...]

Pain-killing plants such as the hallucinogenic Datura are likely to have been used in the operation, and the wound was probably cleaned using antiseptic herbs like sage, the scientists said.

“I don’t think you could say that those who carried out the operation were doctors in the modern sense that they did only that, but they obviously had medical knowledge,” Mrs Buquet-Marcon said.

Link | Photo: Stephanie Watson

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recent advances in medical science are built on previous advances which are built on advances that preceded THOSE advances....

in a lab, to test a hypothesis you do an experiment.
trial and error.

it is how we have acquired scientific knowledge.
I think it is important to understand that.
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I agree with the second part of your comment, ARAM, but I think it's wrong to say all medical knowledge is trial and error. Many recent advances in medical science have been because we know A about the body and B about a certain compound, and someone put those things together to get treatment C. That we submit them to experiments is to eliminate the possibility that that someone was horribly wrong, but it's nothing like the groping about in the darkness that stone age medicine likely was.
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ultimately, all medical knowledge has been acquired through trial and error. also, the article doesn't say anything about what they "actually did know", it only make suppositions about what they might have known or done.
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