Prehistoric Man

Prehistoric Man

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Prehistoric Man (up to 3000bc)
It is difficult to find out about prehistoric man, because there is no writing -
prehistory means before writing. The evidence we do have is archaeological -
bones, tools and cave paintings. Because there is no writing to explain these
remains, historians use inferential evidence to help them interpret them. This
means looking at people like aborigines whose way of life has changed very little
since prehistoric times, and seeing if their beliefs can help us understand those of
early man. However, remember that aborigines are not prehistoric men - their
beliefs may be similar, but do not confuse the two.
Prehistoric man used spirits to explain things he couldn't understand, including
illnesses, but his way of life was very close to nature, and he probably would have
had some understanding of the uses of plants and herbs.
Anatomy Location and importance of heart (cave painting).
Knowledge came from cutting up animals to eat.
Physiology Didn't know how the body worked - explained in terms of
spirits (e.g. aborigine explanation of pregnancy - a spirit
entering the body).
Cause Injuries had obvious causes, but diseases and illnesses
explained by evil spirits entering the body, or bad feelings,
or by the spirit leaving the body.
Cure Injuries probably treated with natural remedies (e.g.
aborigines treatment of cuts and broken bones).
Some natural remedies used for illnesses (e.g.
aborigine treatment of stomach upset by chewing
certain shoots of plants).

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Prehistoric Man (up to 3000bc)
Most illnesses and diseases had spiritual treatments
(e.g. aborigines driving out evil spirit with pointing
Doctors Medicine man or Witch doctor. These would be trained in
the mysteries of the spirits. If their treatment failed, it was
because the spirit was too strong.
Surgery Trephining - carried out by the Medicine man to release an
evil sprit. Sometimes successful (because many trephined
skulls have been found), and survived (bone grew back).
Probably also knew how to set broken bones.…read more


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