I put together a video of music and 33 photos documenting 19 skulls from a collection of over 1,000, each showing verified signs of ancient brain surgery. I was really fascinated when I found the pictures in a book in my personal library. It’s called 16th Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, J.W. Powell, Director 1894 – 1895. It’s an old Government book that takes historic account of a few active projects at the time of the Bureau of American Ethnology, which was created in 1879 by Congress to transfer archives, records and materials relating to the Indians of North America from the Interior Department to the infamous black hole, the Smithsonian Institution.
Most of the photos really are very clear evidence, and apparently the original researcher and collector had a lot more work and evidence, but that was lost in a fire, as so many other private collections of well meaning researchers have.
Video of all the Photos of the 19 Skulls
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Skulls Showing Ancient Brain Surgery
I also want to include the most of the Prefatory Note from the book because it includes great information about the original researcher and collector of the skulls in the video.
During several years prior to 1893, Dr. Manuel Antonio Muniz, some time Surgeon-General of the Army of Peru, traveled extensively through the ancient land of the Incas, and made large collections from the huacals and scattered graves of the Andean valleys and and the desiccated Piedmont zone inclining from the Cordillera toward Pacific ocean. Lowland Peru is arid, and even the rugged highlands fronting the Pacific receive but limited rainfall; and by reason of a combination of conditions the air and so the soil are dry nearly all the year, and in some places the ground is saline or nitrous. Accordingly organic matter buried in the earth is preserved in a manner hardly conceivable to those accustomed to the conditions of humid lands; and thus Dr. Muniz’ explorations were remarkably fruitful.
The material collected from the long-neglected tombs of Peru by Dr. Muniz comprised weapons of war and the chase, implements in wide variety, domestic utensils, costumery of skins and stuffs, and articles of adornment, all in considerable quantity; though his tastes and training let him to devote especial attention to the somatic remains of the ancient people. His collection comprised something over a thousand crania; of these, nineteen were found to be trephined, several more than once.
In 1893 Dr. Muniz attended the “International Congress of Anthropology of the Word’s Congress Auxiliary of the World’s Columbian Exposition” at Chicago, for the purpose of exhibiting and describing the trephined crania. His formal communication, translated into English, forms the accompanying “summary statement.” Afterward he attended the Pan-American Medical Congress at Washington, and exhibited the collection informally, and still later he transferred it’s custody to the writer, on behalf of the Bureau of American Ethnology, for use in preparing the accompanying description of the remarkably interesting series of specimens of primitive surgery.
On his return to Lima, toward the end of 1893, Dr. Muniz had the misfortune to encounter a political movement; before it ended his house was sacked and burned, his library and his rich collections were destroyed, and he was exiled. Of all of the archeologic material brought together during his years of labor, only the collection of trephined crania remains; and the energetic collector has insured the safety of this remnant by transferring it to the Bureau of American Ethnology for preservation in the United States National Museum, save for a single specimen (the triple-trephined cranium, from Cuzco) which has been placed in the United States Army Medical Museum.
The Muniz crania have been examined by many scientific and medical men in the United States; since they were brought before the World’s Congress at Chicago and the members of the Pan-American Congress at Washington, they have been exhibited and discussed before the Anthropological Society of Washington, the Archeological Association of Philadelphia, the Medical Society of the District of Columbia, Washington, and the Historical Club of Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore; and in addition they have been inspected by many visitors to the Bureau. The accompanying description has been prepared in the light of much discussion concerning the collection, and is framed to answer, so far as may be, the principal inquiries made by students. As originally made, the collection of trephined crania was supplemented and illuminated by the collateral objects representing the arts of the primitive trephiners; but since the remainder of the collection is, unhappily, lost irretrievably, it has been deemed desirable so to extend the description and discussion of the crania and the details of the operation as to render the series self-explanatory in every respect. It may, however, be noted that the inferences as to methods and motives are in precise accord with the testimony of associated objects. For purposes of comparison, illustrations of the “Inca Skull” brought from Peru by the late E. G. Squier, and of eight trephined crania preserved in the Municipal Museum at Cuzco, are introduced. A more exhaustive discussion of primitive trephining in Peru by Dr. Muniz may be looked for in the future.