Dentistry as Social Discourse: Aspects of Oral Health and Consumer Choice using a Bioarchaeological Perspective
Author(s): Lisa R. Matthies-Barnes
This study examines the presence (or absence) of professional dental restorative work in the form of fillings, crowns, bridges, or even full sets of dentures, using an integrative biocultural approach. The dataset is derived from an intensive survey of historic cemeteries subjected to bioarchaeological analyses, and include differences in geography (urban versus rural), gender, race/ethnicity, age, and commensurate socioeconomic levels. Since restorative dental work was both expensive and considered extravagant by many in the 19th and early 20th centuries, its presence within a given population can act as a signifier to individual consumer choice, greater economic mobilities, or offer insight into the contrast between urban and rural landscapes in the era of emerging urbanism within American society. Significant variability within and between these skeletal populations—which represent distinct social divisions and diverse geographies – offer great insight into these vanished communities which span the antebellum era to the Great Depression.
Cite this Record
Dentistry as Social Discourse: Aspects of Oral Health and Consumer Choice using a Bioarchaeological Perspective. Lisa R. Matthies-Barnes. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 434702)
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