Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus

Thanks to the Resource Shelf blog for the information that the Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus is now available online at the Turning the Pages Online website, from where you can load the virtual papyrus, or you can link to it directly by clicking here (it takes quite a while for the page to load). This is a terrific way of looking at the original papyrus. The Eye of Ra that shows under the papyrus allows you to zoom in on any part of it.

The Edwin Smith Papyrus, the world's oldest surviving surgical text, was written in Egyptian hieratic script around the 17th century BCE, but probably based on material from a thousand years earlier. The papyrus is a textbook on trauma surgery, and describes anatomical observations and the examination, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis of numerous injuries in exquisite detail.

American archaeologist Edwin Smith discovered the papyrus in Egypt in the 1860s, and his daughter donated the papyrus to the New-York Historical Society after his death. It eventually made its way to the Library of the New York Academy of Medicine, and it was recently translated for the first time in over 50 years into English by James P. Allen of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

No comments: