Evidence of First Ear Surgery

A group of archaeologists have found 5,300-year-old skull in a Spanish tomb, that shows possibly the oldest evidence of ear surgery.


  • Several cut marks are visible in the skull across the left ear canal. This implies that, surgery may have been done to relieve pain.
  • It shows the evidence of two perforations, near its mastoid bones, on both sides of the skull. It highlights that, surgery was done to relieve growing pressure on the ear canal.
  • Researchers concluded in an article published in “Scientific Reports” on that, these evidences point to a mastoidectomy.
  • Mastoidectomy is a surgical procedure, that was performed to relieve the pain of the prehistoric individual, who may have suffered because of otitis media and mastoiditis.

Where was skull found?

The skull seems to have belonged to a middle-aged woman from Neolithic Age. It was discovered in a tomb, known as “Dolmen de El Pendon”. It is located in Burgos, Spain. Researchers had found the skill in 2016, along with remains of nearly 100 others.

The Dolmen of El Pendon

This tomb is located in the village of Reinoso (Burgos). It is an exceptional site for its occupational sequence as well as for singular ritual-funerary practices that are documented in its ossuary. In this work, first results of its excavation are presented. Excavation is still in process. It was developed as a project of enhancement of the monument, because it was thought to be destroyed completely due to continuous plundering.

Neolithic Age

Neolithic Age is the final division of Stone Age. During this period, a wide-ranging set of developments appeared to have arisen independently in several parts of the globe. It is first seen around 12,000 years ago when the first farming appeared in Epipalaeolithic Near East. This period lasted until the transitional period of Chalcolithic, in 4500 BC. It is marked by development of metallurgy, leading to the Bronze Age and Iron Age.




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