Prehistoric medicine

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Prehistoric Civilisation

Knowlege is based on ancient archaeological discoveries and upon comparisons with pre-literate but nevertheless modern-day societies - such as that of Australian Aborigines.

Could not write.

  • Could not pass on medical or other knowlege other then through speaking.

However they have adapted to survive.

  • They have a system of skills and behaviours that keeps them healthy in their environment.

They were Nomadic.

  • Couldn't build hostpitals or obseve human bodys.
  • Prohibitated meadical advancements.

Thought unpradicatable spirits were at the heart of death, disease, health and life.

Had no knowlege of pubilc health and what caused diseases.

Had no-one we would call "doctors" but could of had witch-doctors who combined healing with other spiritual functions.

Have found practical cures but didnt know they were the cause of the cure.

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Prehistoric knowledge about the body and disease

Didn't know much about the inside of the body

Had a burial practicise where bones were stripped of the flesh

  • Must have Known something about the skelitle system

Evidence of canabilism

  • Suggests they know somthing about the organs and flesh

They belived that life and the functions of the body were controled by spirits

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  • Able to stich up wound
  • Set broken bones by creating a cast of mud
  • Evidence from prehistoric graves of heald but badly set bones suggesst that they didnt do it well


  • Where they would create a hole in the skull
  • Thought to remove spirits
  • To treat epilepsy and headachs
  • Evidence of regroth proves that some patients survived the procedure- had knowlege and ability to be successful surgens
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Prehistoric methods of diagnosis and treatment

No evidence to prove that they did diagnose and treat people so most knowlege is taken from modern tribes and the native americans.

The Aborigines diagnosed disease in a spiritual way,

  • 'Seeing' the cause of an illness in a trance etc..

Many of their cures were spiritual too

  • Using dancing and ceremonies etc..

Its possible that they used plants and various substances to cure disease.

  • The native american new over a 100 herbs and substances that had healing properties.
  • This can't be used as prof that they had a pratical way of treating inisses as they caould of been used in there spiritual prcatisec of if they worked "its was down to the spirits".

Its possible that prehistoric shamans diagnosed and treated disease in similar ways.

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