The 81st Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2012)

Temporal trends in dental health and diet in the archaeological populations of Utah


1Antiquities Section, State Of Utah, 2Department of Anthropology, University of Utah

Thursday All day, Plaza Level Add to calendar

As part of Utah State NAGPRA biological profile, dental health, radiocarbon dating and stable isotope data from a total of 58 adults representing the Archaic (~7,000 to ~2,500 ybp), Fremont (~2,000 to ~700 ybp), Anasazi (~2,000 to ~700 ybp), and Historic (~ 400 to 100 ybp) time periods have been collected. This data provides an opportunity to examine the relationship between dental heath and diet, as indicated by stable isotope data, among the archaeological peoples of Utah. Each group practiced very different modes of subsistence. The Archaic groups were hunters and gatherers utilizing wild resources. The Fremont practiced mixed subsistence patters with varying degrees of hunting/gathering and maize horticulture. The Anasazi primarily practiced maize horticulture. The Historic groups practiced primarily hunting/gathering with increasing utilization of historic Anglo food stuffs after the mid-nineteenth century.

It has been noted that populations dependent on maize tend to have higher rates of dental caries, abscesses, and antemortem loss than hunter/gatherer populations. For Utah populations it can be hypothesized that the Anasazi will have the highest rates of dental disease followed by the Fremont, Historic and Archaic groups in that order. Similarly it can be hypothesized among the Anasazi and Fremont individuals with greater dependence on maize will have higher dental disease rates than those with lower dependence. This poster will present correlation analyses using dental disease indicators, stable isotope data, age, sex, and population variables to test the hypotheses and examine trends in dental health and diet among the archaeological populations of Utah.

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