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

Cementochronology, a test of Accuracy by age groups on a reference population


1Forensic Taphonomy Unit - Anthropology, Lille Northern France University F-59000, 2Direction de l'Archéologie, Communauté Agglomération du douaisis, 3UMR5199 PACEA, Bordeaux 1 University F-33000, 4Bioarcheology Laboratory, Centre Etudes Paléopathologiques du Nord

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The main goal of this poster is to demonstrate how tooth cementum annulations (TCA) method improves the field of age assessment, through a distinct physiological phenomenon. Acellular cementum begins its regular growth with tooth eruption and then continues to be produced throughout life as incremental layers of alternating dark and light bands. Cementochronology involves the counting of these incremental lines using light and polarized microscopy.

Since the first study of Stott et al. (1982), many researchers have published correlation rates above r = 0.9 effectively making cementochronology the most precise technique for individual skeletal age estimation. In our study, 350 recent teeth from known-age individuals, divided in six age categories of ten years range, were collected at the Lille Dental Surgery Department. All teeth were embedded in a two components epoxy resin and dried in a vacuum chamber. Six sequential 100-130 mm undecalcified cross sections were prepared for each tooth, from the middle third of the root, with a precision saw. Three observers were involved in each counting process. We have focused our study on two main issues in order to improve this method: Correlation by age groups between estimated and calendar ages. Comparison of cementochonology with others dental methods for age estimation (Lamendin, Bang and Ramm, Prince and Ubelaker).

Our results showed a statistically significant strong correlation between estimated and calendar ages for all age groups, with a small decrease of accuracy in old age individuals. In addition, cementochronology was always more accurate than others dental methods.

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