Human Skull with World’s Oldest Successful Brain Surgery discovered in India

Scientists have discovered the world’s oldest known case of a successful human brain surgery after unearthing a 4300 year old skull from the site of the ancient Harappan Civilization site in India. This discovery was done by the scientists from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) who found evidence pointing this to be the oldest known case of Trephination in the world meant to treat a skull injury.

Trephination is the process of drilling holes in the damaged skull to remove shattered bits of bone from a fractured skull and clean out the blood that often pools under the skull after a blow to the head.

The 4,300 year old Skull which underwent brain surgery. Image Courtesy: Current Science

Around 40 years ago similar skull evidences discovered in nearby locations had indicated towards trephination being performed during the times of the ancient Indian Civilization. However, the current discovery gives a concrete proof about this being a case of a successful brain surgery. The damages to the skull which looks like was caused by a strong blow on the head, and the areas of the surgical incursions performed with healing skull structures clearly show that the person survived the surgery for a considerable time after the brain operation.

Much older Trephination cases have been found across the world. However, this one clearly points towards a case where the person who underwent the surgery had survived the drilling of his skull.


  • Blackholesun

    Indus valley civilization and/or Saraswati civilization are same, but they are not Vedic civilizations. It is considered pre-Vedic civilization.

    The civilization that came up after the Indus valley civilization was Vedic Civilization.

  • hindu

    its good to know that it were ancients hindus otherwise ASI if they found after the dating of skull to be after 700AD they would have proclaimed it a muslim science

  • Umesh Raichur

    Hi Guru,

    I recollect having read somewhere that the ancients, across some parts of the world, had a practice of drilling holes in the skulls of the mentally ill in-order to release the supposed evil spirits from their heads. Is the above case not something like that?

    Umesh Raichur

    • itzguru

      No, this one is a confirmed brain surgery, since it has been confirmed that the person had a critical physical injury in his skull after which the surgical procedure was carried out to treat the injury, and the person survived the surgery for considerable amount of his lifetime. The marks of the original injury, the place of surgery and the resultant healing that took place in the skull confirm this.

      There have been even ancient discoveries of skulls across the world, like in France which show drilling of the skull, but none of them point towards a healing surgery, instead look like the cases you have mentioned or some sort of ritualistic practice. However this case looks to be a clear medical intervention by some good surgeon of the time.

      • dsb_dsb

        Any credible sources ?