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History of Science
History of Science 2220

September 18, 2013 HIS 2220 Pre-Historic Medicine • You can only hypothesis because they didn’t have any form of writing • Most common methods of how do we find out? Archeologist use: o Paleopathology –study of disease in the remains of humans and animals from ancient times using primary source evidence o Primary evidence example: signed document, journals, books – historians rely on hand written documents  Remains of animals – diet – also if get a sense of what animals suffered from, you could get an idea of what humans suffered from because sometimes animals transferred disease to humans o Archeological chemistry – “remains have been found and dated how old they are” =carbon dating  Also can tell what the cause of death – although it is difficult  Study of animals help ex: Apes – shows us that living in the state of nature would have been harmful to humans  Bog person – body was preserved due to the chemicals in the bog – skin looks almost shiny • Also tell us about diet – ancient people ate barely, grass, wheat, herbs, etc.  Older than bog people = Ice Man (Europe’s Oldest natural mummy – 3300 B.C) • Discovered in the Alpes between Austria and Italy • Almost immediately after he died, storm came through and snow preserved him • When he was studied, found he had blackened lungs = smoking (bonfire) • Also had parasite and he also had digested a mushroom (birch fungus) which is known to have antibacterial September 18, 2013 properties (was on his belt therefore suspected he knew that they helped with bacteria)  Human feces – provide information about diet and health – tells us essentially about the humans day to day life • We know there was illness in pre-historic, elements of diets – but we do not know what they thought about medicine, how they conceived disease in their lives Aborigines (Europeans visited late 19 , early 20 C) – central and southern Australia • Before the visitation, they had no contact with others • Lived in harsh conditions, contained food through hunting and gathering • Spoke many languages but were not “real” – therefore considered pre-historic • Through world started in “dream time” – reality =dream time • Used dreams to try to better understand the world – found things around them difficult and hard to explain • Believed spirits were the cause of new life • Anything that wasn’t obvious by looking at it, was explained as work of spirits • Treated some things very common sense – ex: broken arm, would set it with clay and this would act as a cast • Clay to cover cuts =
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