Searching for death

by Hugh Thomas

A few weeks ago I was in a classroom in the University of Sydney lecturing about ancient trepanation, the process of drilling into someone’s skull to relieve pressure caused by the brain swelling, whilst they are alive and likely conscious. A few minutes before I was flashing up images of mass graves found in Athens, full of unceremoniously dumped plague victims including men, women and children. The day before I had lectured about women who had torn out their hair in mourning or had scratched large cuts into their cheeks with their nails. My name is Hugh Thomas and I study dead people!

Studying Athenian gravestones in the Agora
Studying Athenian gravestones in the Agora. Photo by Melissa Kennedy

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