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Estimating Age at Death of Archaeological Remains: A Comparison of Transition Analysis and Traditional Estimation Methods

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Objectives: The objective of this research is to develop a better understanding of the ways in which Transition Analysis estimates differ from traditional estimates in terms of age-at-death point estimation

Objectives: The objective of this research is to develop a better understanding of the ways in which Transition Analysis estimates differ from traditional estimates in terms of age-at-death point estimation and inter-observer error. Materials and methods: In order to achieve the objectives of the research, 71 adult individuals from an archaeological site in northern Sudan were subjected to Transition Analysis age estimation by the author, a beginner-level osteologist. These estimates were compared to previously produced traditional multifactorial age estimates for these individuals, as well as a small sample of Transition Analysis estimates produced by an intermediate-level investigator. Results: Transition Analysis estimates do not have a high correlation with traditional estimates of age at death, especially when those estimates fall within middle or old adult age ranges. The misalignment of beginner- and intermediate-level Transition Analysis age estimations calls into question intra-method as well as inter-method replicability of age estimations. Discussion: Although the poor overall correlation of Transition Analysis estimates and traditional estimates in this study might be blamed on the relatively low experience level of the analyst, the results cast doubt on the replicability of Transition Analysis estimations, echoing the Bethard's (2005) results on a known-age sample. The results also question the validity of refined age estimates produced for individuals previously estimated to be in the 50+ age range by traditional methods and suggest that Transition Analysis tends to produce younger estimates than its traditional counterparts. Key words: age estimation, Transition Analysis, human osteology, observer error

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Date Created
  • 2017-05

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Morphological and Development Analysis of Teeth Recovered from an Archaeological Teratoma

Description

Teratomas are germ cell tumors that can generate a broad spectrum of biological tissues including: hair, oil glands, bones, and teeth. Little research has focused on the detailed comparison of

Teratomas are germ cell tumors that can generate a broad spectrum of biological tissues including: hair, oil glands, bones, and teeth. Little research has focused on the detailed comparison of teeth from growing within teratomas to teeth that grew normally within the oral cavity. Broad similarities in the overall pattern of dental growth have previously been observed using average enamel thickness, a measurement of enamel height, comparisons. Enamel thickness is used to infer functional aspects of dentition. Relative enamel thickness values have not been used in previous studies to account for the difference in size of the teeth.

ASU’s Bioarchaeology of Nubia Expedition (BONE) led by Dr. Brenda Baker discovered the remains of a female individual from the Classic Kerma period with a preserved large teratoma containing hard tissue components including two molariform teeth. There are only three previous recorded instances of teratomas in a paleopathological setting.

This study analyzed the characteristics of teeth found within a teratoma and compared them to permanent oral dentition to ascertain the degree to which dental development is affected by local growth environment. Permanent (oral) molars from multiple individuals and 2 teratoma teeth from a singular individual from the BONE site were analyzed alongside a comparative sample of permanent (oral) molars from an unrelated, more modern population. MicroCT scans were used to create digital renditions of the teeth to create 3D and 2D models to analyze the enamel and dentine of the teeth to measure their morphological characteristics. The relative enamel thickness and the absolute occlusal enamel volumes were calculated. The study found that there are significant differences in enamel thickness between the teratoma teeth and any of its oral cavity counterparts.

This study is unique in that it is the first study to analyze teeth from a teratoma to permanent teeth from the oral cavity using 2D and 3D digital dental models created from microCT data. It is also the first study to analyze these morphological characteristics in an archaeological sample.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2019-12