The present research seeks to assesses the presence and prevalence of two distinct dental pathologies: linear enamel hypoplasia and caries in an ancient Maya juvenile subsample from Altun Ha, Belize spanning the Preclassic (ca. 600 B.C.) through the Terminal Classic (ca. 900 A.D.) periods. Teeth offer a remarkable wealth of information about the human experience in the past. Developmental and post-eruption pathology can provide insight into cultural and evolutionary processes by illuminating social and biological factors such as diet, weaning, illness, and overall health that manifest in observable changes to the composition of teeth. In addition, growth and developmental stages of juveniles provide an ideal framework in which to qualify paleopathological research. From a biological standpoint, high ante-mortem resistance to physiological stress and post-mortem preservation make teeth ideal for analyses of pathology in archaeological contexts. For the analysis of the Altun Ha juvenile subsample, a cohort approach is used in the presentation and discussion of results. Discrete pathologies are analyzed based on age cohorts, individual, tooth type, tooth surface location, and archaeological time period. The results indicate an increase in prevalence of pathology concurrent with increasing dental age as well as a predisposition to pathology among specific tooth types and locations on the crown surface and within the dental arcade as well as temporal shifts in pathology prevalence. These analyses demonstrate the importance of assessing juveniles within the archaeological record with emphasis on the transitory developmental stages experienced by children.
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Sciences
Orlando (Main) Campus
Length of Campus-only Access
Lefebvre, Lindsey D., "Prevalence of Dental Pathology in a Juvenile Population from the Ancient Maya site of Altun Ha" (2017). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 383.