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Sinking Archaeological Teeth into the Dental Modification Issue: An Examination of Midnight Terror Cave

Author(s): Cristina Verdugo

Year: 2015

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Evidence for dental modification practices have been found throughout Mesoamerica since the Early Preclassic Period (Williams and White 2006) and were noted by Diego de Landa in the 16th century. Examples for these practices have been found not only among human remains, but also in iconography and in architecture. Investigations into the aesthetic or ritual purpose for dental modification have yielded a number of possibilities. These possibilities include its use as an indication of social status, defining local family organization, as a rite of passage or as having religious connotations (Becker 1973; Gonzalez 2007; Oliveres 1998; Romero 1958; Tiesler 2001). The recovery of eighty five examples of modified teeth from Midnight Terror Cave provides a sufficiently large sample to allow for me to draw some tentative conclusions on varied hypothesizes regarding social status, social organization, and ritual of passage thought to attribute function to the practice of dental modification.

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Sinking Archaeological Teeth into the Dental Modification Issue: An Examination of Midnight Terror Cave. Cristina Verdugo. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395430)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America