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Pre - History

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Hwk Monday 20th September 2004 Pre - History This year in history we are studying Medicine through time. We began this course with pre - historic Medicine. In my essay I will explain what pre - history is and the types of treatments and preventions of diseases. By pre - history, we mean history before the written word (up to 10,000 BC). Although we have a lot of information on pre - history it is actually very difficult to find out about life in the pre - historic times. This is because we do not have much evidence to work with. Archaeologists have found clues which tell us something about medicine in prehistoric times, but much of the evidence is missing and some the evidence is hard to make sense of. There are two main ways of finding out about pre - history. The first one is through archaeological evidence such as left over bones, or preserved bones and cave paintings. The other way of finding information on pre - history is life style evidence. ...read more.


Special individuals, like Shamen, were thought to be able to contact the spirit world and seek their guidance when they entered mysterious trances. These men and women would call upon the spirits to bring good hunting or heal the sick and were possibly the first doctors. Spirit healers would perform ceremonies and cast spells to treat the sick. We also believe that they dispensed the first medicines. Drinking the blood of a wild animal killed in the hunt would give hunters special powers or eating special plants known only to the shaman could treat sickness. It is possible that these treatments would sometimes have a beneficial effect and it is thought that drugs like digitalis and morphine were first discovered in this way. The lifestyles of certain groups of people such as the aborigines and African tribes show us about prevention of illnesses and diseases. This is because aborigines and African Tribes moved around a lot: this left their waste behind them which prevents things like diseases and certain illnesses spreading around through the people of the tribes. ...read more.


Another form of archaeological evidence is cave paintings. An example of this was found in the three brothers' cave. Lifestyle evidence can also tell us a lot from the remains of the Aborigine Tribes and the African tribes. For example images of the medicine man treating his patients show us different types of cures done by the medicine man from the Aborigine and African tribes. A comparison between archaeological evidence and lifestyle evidence is that aborigine and African tribes used magic to cure and archaeological evidence was more involved with superstition for example a spirit having entered your body if you had a headache. In conclusion, prehistoric medicine was extremely basic the treatments that were used reflected their close relationship to nature and their superstition about spirits. Though prehistoric people had very little idea of how the body worked treatments included: * Simple cures using medicinal herbs. * Setting broken limbs. * Blaming evil spirits for diseases. * Employing "medicine men" whom they believed wielded power over spirits. The main types of evidence can tell us that there wasn't any professional treatment during the pre -historic times and that pre - historic medicine was no more than superstitions and herbal cures. By Hatice Giritli 10 cu ...read more.

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