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New Approaches to Study Health and Disease in the Pre-Colonial circum-Caribbean

Author(s): Kirsten Ziesemer ; Allison E. Mann ; Bernd W. Brandt ; Corinne L. Hofman ; Christina G. Warinner

Year: 2017

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The most frequent pathologies found throughout the circum-Caribbean before arrival of the Europeans are dental and periodontal diseases. To date, ancient oral health has been studied using a variety of techniques, and recently ancient DNA (aDNA) analysis of dental calculus (calcified plaque) has shown great promise in revealing not only (oral) health and disease, but also diet and the composition of the oral microbiome over archaeological timescales. In this paper, we present ancient metagenomic data generated from human dental calculus from multiple archaeological sites in the circum-Caribbean. We compare the phylogenetic and taxonomic composition of pre-colonial oral microbiomes to modern dental calculus samples and find that the microbial composition of the pre-colonial Caribbean oral microbiome is similar to that of present-day populations. Our findings also shed light on the oral health and disease of indigenous communities before European contact.

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New Approaches to Study Health and Disease in the Pre-Colonial circum-Caribbean. Kirsten Ziesemer, Allison E. Mann, Bernd W. Brandt, Corinne L. Hofman, Christina G. Warinner. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429061)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -90.747; min lat: 3.25 ; max long: -48.999; max lat: 27.683 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15270

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