Partial Occipital Bone

Chip Clark, Smithsonian Institution
March 9, 2016
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Bone found at James Fort
Chip Clark, Smithsonian Institution

Partial occipital bone found at James Fort. Circular cuts represent the earliest known case in the English colonies of attempted trephination – drilling into the cranium to relieve pressure caused by brain swelling due to severe trauma. The patient died and the surgical procedure was aborted. Straight saw cuts on the superior edge provide evidence of the earliest known autopsy in the Chesapeake. Specimen courtesy of APVA Preservation Virginia / Historic Jamestowne.