Greek archaeologists discover evidence of a skilled surgeon who practiced centuries before Hippocrates.

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Sometime before 600 B.C., a surgeon in the settlement of Abdera on the north coast of the Aegean faced a difficult case. Standing back from his patient, a young woman in her late twenties lying on the table before him, he examined the wound cautiously. Normal practice required that the healer ask how an injury occurred, but here it was clear from the broken flesh and hair matted with blood. A stone or lead missile, hurled from a sling by one of the native Thracians intent on the colony's destruction, had hit her on the back of the head. Stepping closer, a grave expression on his face, the surgeon gently explored the wound by hand and with a bronze probe. As he feared, the impact was at a point where the bones came together, joining in a suture--the weakest point of the skull.

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