In 1995, a burial ground with 29 pit tombs for inhumation was unearthed in Fidene (late 1st - late 2nd century AD). Great interest was aroused in Tomb 26, containing the remains of a 5-6 year old girl, laid supine, probably wrapped in a shroud, with a large hole on the right side of the frontal bone, the characteristics of which allow to exclude its origin diagenetics. Paleopathological analysis revealed that the girl underwent cranial trepanation, which she survived for a few weeks. It remains to be clarified how a child belonging to an extremely poor community could have been operated on by such an experienced doctor. Found in 1995, in a small necropolis near the ancient city of Fidene, “the girl of Fidene” represents a unique case of medicine from the imperial age.
This is an exceptional find that seems to testify in favor of a palliative type operation. The skull is very expanded and shows an ellipsoid trepanation in the right fronto-parietal region. On the exo- and intracranial surface, near the trepanation gap, there are evident signs of bone reaction which took place intra vitam. These findings suggest that the girl's brain was compromised by a tumor mass that must have induced a significant increase in intracranial pressure and that the opening of the hole in the skull was made in order to allow for expansion of the brain and relieve symptoms. .