NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Edwin Smith Papyrus, Ancient Egyptian surgery. This papyrus is the world's oldest surviving surgical text. It was written in Egyptian hieratic script around the 17th century BC, probably based on material from a thousand years earlier. The papyrus is a surgical textbook describing 48 cases dealing with wounds and trauma. US archaeologist Edwin Smith discovered the papyrus in Egypt in the 1860s. This part of the scroll (two columns of text) describes pulled, dislocated and broken ribs, as well as the treatment of chest tumours. For the full sequence showing the text on the scroll, see images C023/3425 to C023/3438.
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