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History

Prehistoric methods of diagnosis and treatment

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The shaman

Compare these two images of shamans. The first is a 19th-century drawing of a Native American shaman, the other is a replica of a 20,000-year-old cave painting.

19th-century drawing

19th-century drawing of Native American shaman, dressed in bear skin

19th-century drawing of Native American shaman, dressed in bear skin

The Native American shaman thought that, by wearing the skin of the bear, he was absorbing the power of the spirit of the bear, and that this would make him stronger to influence the spirits.

Cave painting

Coloured replica of a 20,000-year-old cave painting found in France - it possibly represents a shaman dressed in a deer skin

Coloured replica of a 20,000-year-old cave painting found in France - it possibly represents a shaman dressed in a deer skin

This cave painting may show a shaman, whose ideas may have been similar to those held by Native Americans of the 19th century. All theories about paintings such as this, however, are pure guesswork.

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