Social organization influences individual well-being and overall community health, which may lead to health disparities that manifest in teeth. The research in this thesis explores social variability by analyzing patterns in dental disease at the archaeological site of Kuelap in Chachapoyas, Peru. The ancient Chachapoya (AD 900-1535) were a complex society but the nature of that complexity is not well understood based on traditional archaeological correlates. Since burials at Kuelap lack grave goods that are often used to discriminate variation in social status or identity, bioarchaeological dental proxies were tested. The dental remains of 106 individuals (7 subadults, 54 adult males, and 46 adult females) from five different types of mortuary contexts were analyzed using a two stage methodological approach. Three pathological indicators (caries, antemortem tooth loss, and calculus) were examined to explore cultural influences of diet and the external environment on human biology. While no significant differences exist in any of the conditions among individuals from five diverse mortuary contexts, there were statistically significant differences between males and females. These results indicate that there was a lack of explicit health disparities and hierarchical ranking (social inequality) at Kuelap. Instead, bioarchaeological analysis suggests that there is social variability with gendered differences in oral health. This thesis presents the first analysis of dental pathology from Kuelap and furthers knowledge of ancient dental health patterns and social variability in both the Chachapoya and larger Andean region. Overall, this research broadens anthropological understanding of the interconnectedness among health, social variability and complexity in ancient societies.
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Toyne, J. Marla
Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Tran, Vu, "Patterns in Dental Health: Investigating Dental Disease at the Archaeological Site of Kuelap in Chachapoyas, Peru" (2016). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 4980.