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A World View of Bioculturally Modified Teeth$
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Scott E. Burnett and Joel D. Irish

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780813054834

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813054834.001.0001

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Tooth Ablation in Early Neolithic Skeletons from Taiwan

Tooth Ablation in Early Neolithic Skeletons from Taiwan

(p.102) 8 Tooth Ablation in Early Neolithic Skeletons from Taiwan
A World View of Bioculturally Modified Teeth

Michael Pietrusewsky

Adam Lauer

Cheng-Hwa Tsang

Kuang-Ti Li

Michele Toomay Douglas

University Press of Florida

This chapter documents tooth ablation in early Neolithic skeletons (ca. 5000–4200 BP) from the Nankuanli East (NKLE) site in southwestern Taiwan and makes comparisons to Iron Age skeletons (1800–500 BP) from Shihsanhang (SSH) in northwest Taiwan and other groups from Taiwan and surrounding regions. The most common pattern of tooth ablation in the NKLE skeletons is symmetrical removal of the upper lateral incisors and canines in adult males and females. No ablation was observed among the Iron Age skeletons from Taiwan. The manner and timing of tooth removal, a possible marker of cultural/kinship identity, and its absence in the SSH teeth are discussed. The pattern of tooth ablation observed in the NKLE skeletons is rare in other regions surveyed. Studies of skeletons from Mainland China help identify the possible origin of the pattern of dental modification observed in Taiwan’s earliest Neolithic inhabitants.

Keywords:   tooth ablation, Early Neolithic Skeletons from Taiwan, Iron Age skeletons from Taiwan, kinship identity

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