1Department of Archaeology, Durham University, 2Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, 3Division of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Sciences, University of Bradford, 4Leeds Dental Institute, University of Leeds, 5Skyscan, Kontich, 6Institute of Forensic Medicine, Univerity of Copenhagen
Thursday All day, Plaza Level
Isotope analysis of human dental enamel is used to study migration, diet and pollution. Enamel is resistant to diagenesis and because it does not remodel, it acts as an archive of the elements ingested from the diet as the tooth develops. However, the pattern of organic matrix deposition and initial crystal seeding which produces incremental features such as the lines of Retzius, does not necessarily reflect the pattern of mineralization of the tooth during the maturation phase, when the bulk of the mineral is incorporated into the apatite crystals within the enamel (Suga 1982, 1989). Inter-tooth analysis extends the temporal range of information, but intra-tooth analysis is problematic because of the complex pattern and duration of mineralization in human teeth.
Micro-CT scans of permanent teeth at different stages of development from both archaeological and modern juveniles have been produced using SkyScan 1072 and 1173 high-resolution desk-top micro-CT systems. The pattern and progression of initial mineralization and maturation of incisors, canines, premolars and molars has been investigated using bone mineral density calibrated using phantoms and an aluminium tooth standard to address potential beam hardening artifacts.
Different tooth types show variation in the complexity and progression of maturation. Intra-enamel isotope profiles from individuals with known migratory or dietary changes during crown formation have been produced using laser ablation and micro-drilling following the maturation time-lines established from the CT-scanning results. The results suggest that choosing a tooth with a simple linear pattern of maturation significantly increases the potential of extracting time-related isotopic information.
This study was funded by the NERC, grant number NE/F018096/1.