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Inca Skull Surgery

The Inca were not only skilled engineers and warriors but also successful surgeons. Five hundred years ago, without the benefit of steel scalpels or antibiotics, the Inca performed a type of operation called trepanation—literally carving holes in patients' skulls. How did they do it, and why? In this audio slide show, bioarcheologist Valerie Andrushko of Southern Connecticut State University explains.

ByMelissa SalpietraNova

National corporate funding for NOVA is provided by Draper. Major funding for NOVA is provided by the David H. Koch Fund for Science, the NOVA Science Trust, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and PBS viewers.