How do archaeologists know that trepanning happened when the cavemen were alive? They could have died, their skin rotten away, and their skulls – some caveman’s art project.

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How do archaeologists know that trepanning happened when the cavemen were alive? They could have died, their skin rotten away, and their skulls – some caveman’s art project.

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Because when bones have been broken in some way and then healed you can see that, so the trepanned skulls have the round hole, with regrown bone around them.

Bones will grow back over a long time. This is how a fracture will heal up over time. The process is slow and it only grows back a few millimeters a year. But it does take place. So we can clearly see when a fracture is healing as it grows back in a perticular way that cause it to be more rounded. And any microcracks which forms as you fracture bones will be healed within a very short time. Living bones is also quite different from dead bones as there is a lot of soft tissue making up the structure of the bone. So if the bone is fractured long after the person is dead then it will look differently. This is quite facinating science which is used by archeologists to date different fractures in bones from historical sites. We can tell what caused the fractures and how long before death it was made or if it was made after death. A fracture can therefore not have been lethal or made after death if there is significant signs of bones growing back which would have required years.

Because it was a specific wound that showed signs of healing over. This is also combined with there being multiple fossilized skulls with this pattern.