One piece of obsidian, possibly used as trephining instrument by Dr. T. Wilson Parry, in experiments on neolithic trephination, England, 1918-1920
Obsidian is a naturally occurring volcanic glass. It is a hard wearing material and can cut through materials such as marble and bone. It is shown here with a piece of skull trephined with an obsidian knife. The hole produced is 19 mm in diameter. The inscriptions tells us that it took half an hour to produce the hole and that the skull belonged to a 44-year-old male. This experiment was carried out by Thomas Wilson Parry (1866-1945), an English doctor who was interested in the tools and techniques of Neolithic trephination. Parry collected skulls from around the world and experimented on them with different types of tools.
- Object Number:
- furnishing and equipment
- tools & equipment
- surgical equipment
- surgical instrument
- Loan, Wellcome Trust
Cite this page
We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.
Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero
Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence
Download catalogue entry as json
View manifest in IIIF viewer
Download manifest IIIF
Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.