The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2013)

Orthodontist needed! Crooked teeth at the New Kingdom site of Amarna, Egypt


1Anthropology, University of Arkansas, 2Biology, University of Arkansas, 3Anthropology, University of Tennessee

Saturday Afternoon, 200DE Add to calendar

The teeth of ancient people are usually free of malocclusion because large chewing forces stimulated jaw growth. One exception to this rule is the population of the ancient New Kingdom city of Amarna, Egypt, which was the capital of Pharaoh Akhenaten (c. 1349 – 1332 BCE). Although tooth wear was extensive, hence mastication forces large, malocclusion was the rule and not the exception. 58 individuals with complete articulating maxillae and mandibles were chosen for occlusion analysis: 86% had some form of malocclusion; 70% had one or more displaced teeth; 68% had one or more rotated teeth; and 41% exhibited more serious malocclusion such as over-bite, cross-bite, etc. Because displacement and rotation of anterior mandibular teeth was the most common problem, 41 mandibles (mostly from the current excavation) were selected for detailed analysis during the following field season in Egypt: 70% had at least one anterior tooth displacement; 86% showed at least one tooth rotation; and the sum of incisor displacements ranged from 0 to 17.6 mm. Metric analysis shows the problem to be deficiency in anterior mandible growth before the canines began to wedge themselves between the premolars and incisors. This conclusion is supported by skeletal analysis which shows Amarna adults to be shorter than other Egyptian groups and subadult long bone growth delayed up to 23.7 months. Amarna mandibular malocclusion is certainly due to delayed growth associated with living conditions, rather than failure jaw grow because of insufficient mastication forces.

Funded by the Center for Middle East Studies, University of Arkansas

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