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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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Biocultural Perspectives on Jomon Dental Ablation

Biocultural Perspectives on Jomon Dental Ablation

Social Complexity, Identity, and Visage

(p.125) 9 Biocultural Perspectives on Jomon Dental Ablation
A World View of Bioculturally Modified Teeth

Amanda R. Harvey

G. Richard Scott

Evan Pellegrini

Christy G. Turner II

University Press of Florida

Ritual dental ablation involves the culturally prescribed extraction of healthy teeth. In Japan, this form of dental extraction was extensively practiced by groups from the Middle Jomon to Late-Final Jomon Periods. Dental extraction comes in many forms, affects multiple tooth combinations, and varies by sex and age. Traditionally, Jomon ablation patterns have only been assessed skeletally. Using an artist’s rendition of ancient Jomon individuals, this chapter “fleshes out” skulls to show how specific patterns of ablation might have appeared in the living. Considering the human face, or visage, is one of the most interactive parts of the body, dental ablation is an immediate and permanent identity marker. Jomon ablation patterns served multiple purposes within their social complexity, highlighting homogeneity while marking internal differentiation of positions within the hunter-gatherer society. For the Ancient Jomon, dental ablation is a constant, visual, biocultural indicator of identity and social complexity.

Keywords:   Jomon, dental ablation, hunter-gatherer, social complexity, visage, identity

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