head flattening

Encyclopedia

head flattening

practice of intentionally changing the shape of the human skull, once common in some cultures. Head flattening was practiced by a number of North, Central, and South American Indian tribes, particularly before European colonization. It was most commonly accomplished by securing an infant in a cradleboard that had a moveable cover over the forehead; the pressure of the cover, gently and consistently applied over time, caused the child's forehead to elongate, creating a nearly smooth silhouette from the tip of the nose to the crown of the head; flattening could also be achieved by binding an infant's head with cloth. Head flattening appears to have had no effect on an individual's mental capabilities. See also body modifications

Learn more about head flattening with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source
Explore Dictionary.com
Previous Definition: head fish
Next Definition: head fold
Words Near: head flattening
More from Thesaurus.com
Synonyms and Antonyms for head flattening
More from Reference.com
Search for articles containing head flattening
More from Dictionary.com Translator
Dictionary.com Word FAQs

Dictionary.com presents 366 FAQs, incorporating some of the frequently asked questions from the past with newer queries.

Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature