Primitive Dentistry from a Native American Burial in the Southern Chesapeake Region, Virginia


This is an abstract from the "SAA 2019: General Sessions" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Dovetail Cultural Resource Group conducted an emergency excavation of two Native American burials in the Southern Chesapeake Region of Virginia which were AMS dated to 620±20 and 540±20 RCYBP. The ensuing analysis of the human remains showed evidence for prehistoric dentistry in one of the individuals, a male who died between the ages of 40–45. A large circular carious lesion in the mandibular left second molar led to consultation with several dental and physical anthropology experts. The tooth was subsequently examined with optical focus-stacking microscopy, periapical radiography, cone beam computed tomography, and micro-CT scanning to image the carious lesion and compare it to a smaller carious lesion on another tooth. The imaging revealed compelling evidence for purposeful removal of decayed tissue. Scanning electron microscopy was also utilized to examine striations observed on the interior surface of the cavity to identify the tools and methods employed in the treatment of the tooth. In addition, there is evidence for extraction of the mandibular right third molar, suggesting that the individual sought treatment for dental ailments on at least two occasions. This paper will discuss the analyses and conclusions drawn from the studies as well as potential future research avenues.

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Primitive Dentistry from a Native American Burial in the Southern Chesapeake Region, Virginia. Kerry Gonzalez, Joseph Blondino, Joanna Wilson-Green, Jazriel Cruz, Martin Levin. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 449530)

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Abstract Id(s): 24994