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Oral health in Late Pleistocene and Holocene North West Africa

De Groote, I, Morales, J and Humphrey, L (2018) Oral health in Late Pleistocene and Holocene North West Africa. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. ISSN 2352-409X

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Archaeological sites in North West Africa have yielded a rich record of human occupation, including well dated human burials from the Late Pleistocene Iberomaurusian and early Holocene Capsian periods. The transition broadly coincides with climatic amelioration at the end of the Holocene enabling expansion into slighter dryer inland areas. Here we investigate possible changes in oral health and subsistence behaviours during the transition between the Iberomaurusian (n = 109 individuals) and the Capsian (n = 19 individuals), based on the study of dental remains. Frequencies in oral pathologies (caries, abscesses, periodontal disease and antemortem tooth loss) were studied to assess possible differences between the late Pleistocene and early Holocene. The Late Pleistocene Iberomaurusians were characterised by high caries frequencies (60% of observed teeth). The Capsians displayed very similar patterns in oral pathologies but a slightly lower percentage of carious teeth (49%). The similarity in oral health in Iberomaurusian and Capsian populations is consistent with similarities in diet and oral hygiene. The implication of cultural and biological continuity between the Iberomaurusian and Capsian periods is supported by indicators, such as exploitation of wild plants and snails, tooth evulsion and craniofacial and dental morphology. © 2018

Item Type: Article
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
R Medicine > RK Dentistry
Divisions: Natural Sciences & Psychology (closed 31 Aug 19)
Publisher: Elsevier
Date Deposited: 25 May 2018 11:19
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 10:28
DOI or ID number: 10.1016/j.jasrep.2018.03.019
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/8721
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