Anthropology Speaker Series: Another Hole In The Head

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Anthropology Speaker Series: Another Hole In The Head
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Orlando Science Center says
Join us for the first edition of our four-part Anthropology Speaker Series, with special guest speakers from the University of Central Florida.

Have you ever felt like you needed another hole in your head? Modern medical miracles occur every day, yet some of the most amazing surgeries including trepanation, removal of a piece of cranial vault bone, have been discovered in human skeletal remains from ancient, seemingly primitive, societies from thousands of years ago.

Trepanation has long been of interest to anthropologists, and large collections of skulls have been studied over the years from various areas of the world. These surgeries have been performed via abrasion, scraping, cross-cutting, incising, or drilling, and recorded motives for these procedures include medical, psychosomatic, and spiritual therapies. Archaeological investigations of Peruvian collections have concentrated on the success of Late Prehispanic Inca practitioners identifying novel cases, often focusing on the relationship between these surgeries and warfare. New materials and methods allow us to explore larger collections and address issues of regional patterns.

Toyne’s research in the high-jungle of Peru has focused on examining human remains from the site of Kuelap, Chachapoyas, where a large number of trepanned skulls allowed her to explore patterns and possible motivations for these practices at a single site during earlier times.


J. Marla Toyne is an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Central Florida, earning herPh.D. from Tulane University (2009). She has conducted archaeological, bioarchaeological, and forensic anthropological fieldwork spanning Canada, Belize, Ecuador, and Louisiana, but her long term investigations have been focused in highland and coastal Peru. Dr. Toyne’s research interests span human osteology, bioarchaeology, biogeochemistry, ancient health and disease, Andean mortuary archaeology, landscape archaeology, and the anthropology of violence and conflict. She is the author of a dozen journal articles and book chapters, and has been the recipient of multiple awards for her scholarship since 1999.


Experience the Anthropology Speaker Series with admission to Orlando Science Center which is $27 for adults, $24 for seniors and students, and $18 for youth (ages 3 – 11). Tickets include access to all four floors of exhibits, the blockbuster exhibit Mummies of the World, giant screen and 3-D educational films, one Hollywood feature-length film, and live programming.

*Please note, tickets can be pre-purchased online at or at the door.
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By: Orlando Science Center

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