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November 12, 1910


JAMA. 1910;55(20):1736-1739. doi:10.1001/jama.1910.04330200046019

NEW SOURCES OF MEDICAL HISTORY  During the past twenty or thirty years the field for medico-historical investigation gradually has expanded so that its bounds are now far beyond the medical texts of the early and middle ages. The medical historian in his search for new materials has entered the territories of anthropology, ethnology and archeology, and there discovered much that is of tremendous importance for the growth of his science. As illustrations must be mentioned especially the results of recent archeologic exploration in Asia Minor in their bearing on the history of ancient medicine. Discoveries in the last decennium by Assyriologists have moved the beginnings of things medical much farther backward than indicated by the papyrus Ebers and other papyri. Indeed, traces of Assyrio-Babylonian medicine have been followed as far back as four or five thousand years before Christ. During the reign of King Hammurabi, about 2,200 years B. C., medical laws were codified1