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Dental health indicators of hunterЦgatherer adaptation and cultural change in Siberia's Cis-Baikal.

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AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY 134:323–339 (2007)
Dental Health Indicators of Hunter–Gatherer Adaptation
and Cultural Change in Siberia’s Cis-Baikal
Angela R. Lieverse,1* David W. Link,2 Vladimir Ivanovich Bazaliiskiy,3 Olga Ivanovna Goriunova,3
and Andzrej W. Weber4
1
Department of Archaeology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada S7N 5B1
Historic Resources Management Branch, Government of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2P8
3
Department of Archaeology and Ethnography, Irkutsk State University, Irkutsk 664003, Russia
4
Department of Anthropology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2H4
2
KEY WORDS
enamel hypoplasia; periodontitis; antemortem tooth loss; dental attrition; alveolar
defect; caries; calculus; Middle Holocene; forager
ABSTRACT
This investigation of the Cis-Baikal dental record focuses on health and lifestyle reconstruction
of the region’s mid-Holocene foragers, with particular
interest in an apparent fifth millennium BC biocultural
hiatus. The four cemetery populations considered represent two distinct biological and cultural groups
separated by an apparent 700-year hiatus: the late
Mesolithic-early Neolithic Kitoi culture (6800–4900 BC)
and the middle Neolithic-early Bronze Age Serovo–Glaskovo cultural complex (4200–1000 BC). Research focuses
on the frequency and severity of seven dental health
indicators: enamel hypoplasia, caries, alveolar defects,
periodontitis, antemortem tooth loss, dental calculus,
and dental attrition. Together, these seven indicators
provide a basis not only for better understanding midHolocene lifeways in the Cis-Baikal but also for inde-
pendently assessing the relative effectiveness of the
different adaptive strategies employed by pre- and posthiatus peoples. Results reveal some discrepancies
between the Kitoi and Serovo–Glaskovo, specifically in
their relative vulnerability to physiological stress, providing evidence to support previous interpretations of
their distinct adaptive regimes (namely the narrower
resource base and decreased mobility of the former).
Results also suggest that some of the differences
observed among the four sites may reflect geographical
or environmental factors rather than simply cultural
ones. However, despite these distinctions, the overriding
trend appears to be one of general continuity, social
equality, and good health among all mid-Holocene occupants of the Cis-Baikal, pre- and posthiatus alike. Am J
Phys Anthropol 134:323–339, 2007. V 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Dental pathology—the study of disease processes (or
tissue abnormality) affecting the dentition–is a valuable
and commonly documented aspect of bioarchaeological
investigation. Not only are teeth one of the hardest substances in the human body and thus among the least
susceptible to taphonomic degradation, but like skeletal
tissues, they are also sensitive to environmental fluctuations and can reflect a wide variety of human behaviors
and conditions. These include diet, nutritional adequacy,
nonspecific physiological stress, oral hygiene, food preparation techniques, cultural modifications (e.g., enamel filing and inlay perforations), and nondietary uses of the
mouth (Larsen, 1997:2–5; Ortner, 2003:589–590). Despite
similarities between many of the pathological conditions
affecting bone and teeth, disease expression on the latter
reflects the fundamentally distinct nature of dental
tissues, namely their reduced capacity to respond to
pathological insults (Ortner, 2003:589–590). This is
particularly true for enamel which cannot be remodeled
after its formation but can be afflicted in vivo by both
mechanical (e.g., trauma, attrition) and chemical (e.g.,
caries) processes. While teeth are thus more susceptible
to disease than are most other organs (Aufderheide and
Rodrı́guez–Martı́n, 1998:393), they also provide permanent records of most of the pathological conditions having plagued them.
Cultural continuity in the Cis-Baikal region of Siberia
(Russia) appears to have been interrupted during the
fifth millennium BC. The late Mesolithic/early Neolithic
Kitoi culture (6800–4900 BC) was replaced, after a 700-year
hiatus, by the culturally and biologically distinct Serovo–
Glaskovo cultural complex (4200–1000 BC), which
spanned the middle Neolithic through early Bronze Age
(Weber, 1995; Weber et al., 2002). In this study, dental
remains from four middle Holocene Cis-Baikal cemeteries are examined in order to test the hypothesis that
Kitoi and Serovo–Glaskovo peoples employed different
adaptive strategies associated with distinct subsistence
patterns. Two of the four cemeteries represent the prehiatus Kitoi culture and two the posthiatus Serovo–Glaskovo. Analyses focus on the frequency and severity of
dental health indicators, both among and within the
cemetery populations, in order to reconstruct health and
behavior and to test for possible disparities which may
reflect the varying effectiveness of different adaptive
regimes. Seven dental health indicators are considered,
C 2007
V
WILEY-LISS, INC.
C
Grant sponsors: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
(SSHRC) of Canada’s Major Collaborative Research Initiative, Einaudi
Center for International Studies (Cornell University).
*Correspondence to: Angela R. Lieverse, Department of Archaeology,
University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada S7N 5B1.
E-mail: lieverse@usask.ca
Received 3 December 2006; accepted 9 May 2007
DOI 10.1002/ajpa.20672
Published online 13 July 2007 in Wiley InterScience
(www.interscience.wiley.com).
324
A.R. LIEVERSE ET AL.
Fig. 1. Siberia and the Cis-Baikal region.
providing a comparatively broad perspective on the distinctiveness and effectiveness of lifeways in the region:
enamel hypoplasia, caries, alveolar defects, periodontitis,
antemortem tooth loss (AMTL), dental calculus, and dental attrition. Because the four populations lie on either
side of the hiatus, they offer an excellent opportunity not
only to characterize hunter–gatherer adaptation as a
whole, but also to investigate the nature of cultural
change in the region and the circumstances surrounding
the fifth millennium hiatus.
BIOCULTURAL CONTEXT
Lake Baikal is located in the southern part of eastern
Siberia, between 528 and 588 North Latitude and less
than 200 km from the Mongolian border (Fig. 1). The
vast area surrounding the lake—the Baikal Mountain
Region—is divided into the Cis-Baikal to the north and
west and the Trans-Baikal to the south and east. This
paper considers the Cis-Baikal only, as the culture histories of the two regions are quite distinct (Khazonov
1994:91; Kuzmin and Orlova, 2000). The geographic definition of the Cis-Baikal utilized here follows that
adopted by Michael (1958:5). The region encompasses
the basin of the Angara River from its source at the lake
to Ust’-Ilimsk, the drainage of the upper Lena River to
Kirensk, and the west coast of Baikal itself, including its
largest island, Ol’khon (Fig. 2). It is situated within a
southern boreal forest (or taiga) biome, bordering the
steppe-forest transitional zone on its southern extent,
and exhibits a noticeably continental climate with long
cold winters and short mild summers. Detailed environmental reconstructions of the mid-Holocene Cis-Baikal
do not exist (Weber et al., 2002), but modern climatic,
floral, and faunal data constitute a reasonable proxy for
the potential range of past diversity.
The Cis-Baikal was undoubtedly hospitable during the
mid-Holocene, offering a broad range of potential food
resources, much as it is today. While the taiga consists
predominately of larch (Larix), spruce (Picea), pine
(Pinus), and fir (Abies), a wide variety of plant foods
(e.g., berries, pine nuts, and mushrooms) are available
seasonally. Terrestrial fauna is abundant and diverse in
the region, with over 100 mammalian and 300 avian
species identified. Of these, mammals, particularly ruminants such as red deer (Cervus elaphus), roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), elk (Alces alces), and reindeer (Rangifer tarandus), would have supplied the majority of
human dietary needs throughout the Holocene (Levin
and Potapov, 1965; Helm, 1981). Aquatic fauna is equally
rich in the Cis-Baikal, being concentrated in its three
main drainage basins (the lake itself, the Angara, and
the upper Lena). In addition to fish such as grayling
(Thymallus spp.), whitefish (Coregonus spp.), northern
pike (Esox lucius), taimen (Hucho taimen), and lenok
(Brachymystax lenok), freshwater seal (Phoca sibirica) is
also available from the lake. It is likely that plant communities, and thus the terrestrial fauna dependent on
them, were affected to some extent by climatic change
throughout the Holocene; however, those in the southern
Cis-Baikal were probably most vulnerable to environmental fluctuations and featured more dramatic shifts in
their distribution because of the area’s partly transitional location (Khotinskii, 1984a,b; Adams and Faure,
1998). Aquatic resources, on the other hand, particularly
those in the lake itself and the upper portion of the
Angara River, were likely less sensitive to environmental
changes because of the remarkable stability of Baikal.
The Cis-Baikal exhibits a rich archaeological record
documenting more or less continuous human occupation
for at least the last 20,000 years (Weber, 1995; Goebel,
1999). However, in the mid 1990s, the long-established
culture history sequence for the middle Holocene period
American Journal of Physical Anthropology—DOI 10.1002/ajpa
DENTAL HEALTH IN SIBERIA’S CIS-BAIKAL
Fig. 2. The Cis-Baikal and location of cemetery sites.
(ca. 7000–1000 years BC) was overturned. The revised
model, based on radiocarbon dating and a reevaluation
of archaeological material, discloses a considerable hiatus during the fifth millennium BC, after which biologically and culturally distinct people appear to have inhabited the region (Table 1; Weber, 1995; Weber et al.,
2002). This hiatus, dating to the middle Neolithic period
(ca. 4900–4200 BC), is reflected archaeologically by an
interruption in mortuary traditions and a lack of human
skeletal remains. In order to explain the circumstances
surrounding the hiatus, much of our research efforts
have focused on better understanding the characteristics
of the populations lying on either side of it: the prehiatus
Kitoi culture, spanning the late Mesolithic and early Neolithic periods (6800–4900 BC), and the posthiatus
Serovo–Glaskovo cultural complex, dating from the late
Neolithic through the early Bronze Age (4200–1000 BC).
Recent examinations of archaeological and stable isotope
data from the Cis-Baikal suggest that prehiatus Kitoi
and posthiatus Serovo–Glaskovo peoples differed in their
respective adaptive regimes (Weber, 1995; Katzenberg
and Weber, 1999; Weber et al., 2002). More specifically,
Kitoi populations appear to have employed lower residential mobility in the exploitation of a narrower subsistence
base focusing on aquatic resources. If these interpretations
are correct, then these distinctions may be reflected on the
dental remains of pre- and posthiatus individuals.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
This study investigates human remains from four distinct Cis-Baikal cemetery populations, two located
325
directly on the shores of Lake Baikal and two on the
banks of the Angara River. They represent the prehiatus
Kitoi sites of Lokomotiv and Shamanka II, situated on
the Angara River and lake shore, respectively, and the
posthiatus Serovo–Glaskovo sites of Ust’-Ida I and Khuzhir-Nuge XIV, also on the Angara River and lake shore,
respectively (Fig. 2). Two of the sites considered—Shamanka II and Khuzhir-Nuge XIV–are newly excavated
(since the late 1990s) and their skeletal and dental material previously unanalyzed. In both cases, human
remains were examined for dental health data and other
osteobiographical information immediately or shortly after excavation, and curatorial methods maintained both
individual and element integrity. However, despite careful excavation and curation, variable but generally poor
skeletal condition at Khuzhir-Nuge XIV and numerous
commingled individuals at Shamanka II have presented
some challenges to the investigation of skeletal and dental material from these two sites. Remains from the
other two sites (Lokomotiv and Ust’-Ida I) were excavated in the 1980s and early 1990s and examined for an
earlier study in 1995, in some cases more than 10 years
after their initial excavation (Link, 1996, 1999; Weber
et al., 2002). Unfortunately, poor curation of the material
during that period resulted in extensive commingling,
misplaced, fragmented, or otherwise unobservable elements, and sometimes completely missing individuals.
Many of these problems have since been rectified, resulting in the substantial modification to and enhancement
of the previously collected data, and warranting the
inclusion of these two sites in the current study. However, the negative effects of poor curation could not be
completely obliterated: numerous individuals remain
incompletely represented, particularly by small skeletal
and dental elements. Because of the challenges presented by all four assemblages, care has been taken in
the current investigation to control for the effects of poor
preservation, commingling, and inadequate element representation. This has been accomplished by using the
tooth (or the tooth type, in the case of dental attrition),
rather than the individual, as the unit of analysis.
Of the total 308 individuals represented by the four
sites investigated, 2,288 teeth and 2,864 tooth sockets
representing as many as 158 individuals were examined
and considered in these analyses (Tables 2–7). All dentition and/or alveoli were identified with the two-digit
system established by the FDI (Fédération Dentaire
Internationale, 1971), in which the first digit represents
the quadrant and the second digit the tooth’s location
within that quadrant. Observability for each tooth and
socket was based on its generation and preservation, as
well as individual age at death. Because no pathological
conditions (other than attrition, which was not scored)
were observed on deciduous teeth, dental health data
were documented only for permanent dentition and their
alveoli. Preservation was considered adequate for each
tooth if detailed surface features were visible macroscopically (i.e., not obscured by postmortem degradation,
extensive calculus deposition, severe attrition, etc.) and,
in the case of enamel hypoplasia, if the crown was represented by at least its cervical two thirds, or that portion
most likely to exhibit enamel hypoplastic lesions
(Goodman and Armelagos, 1985). Likewise, sufficient
preservation for each tooth socket was that characterized
by the visibility of detailed surface features. Individual
age at death was a factor for establishing dental and alveolar observability in all dental health categories except
American Journal of Physical Anthropology—DOI 10.1002/ajpa
326
A.R. LIEVERSE ET AL.
TABLE 1. Culture history model of the middle holocene Cis-Baikal
Period
Culture/mortuary complex
Radiocarbon age BP
Calibrated age BC
Late mesolithic
Early neolithic
Middle neolithic
Late neolithic
Bronze age
Early Kitoi
Late Kitoi
Hiatus
Early Serovo–Glaskovo
Late Serovo–Glaskovo
c. 8,000–7,000
c. 7,000–6,100
c. 6,100–5,300
c. 5,300–4,800/4,400
c. 4,800/4,400–3,300
c. 6,800–5,800
c. 5,800–4,900
c. 4,900–4,200
c. 4,200–3,400/3,000
c. 3,400/3,000–1,000
for enamel hypoplasia. Observable dentition and sockets
for caries, alveolar defects, periodontitis, AMTL, and calculus were those from adult individuals (20 years of
age) only, as none of these conditions (as described
below) were present on subadults (\20 years of age). For
dental attrition, permanent teeth from all dentally
mature individuals (generally 12 years of age) were
considered observable. Unfortunately, because there was
evidence of dental calculus having been removed from
tooth surfaces—potentially biasing interpretations—of
individuals representing the two previously excavated
sites of Lokomotiv and Ust’-Ida I, calculus was
not considered for these two populations. Thus, calculus
data are only available for the newly excavated sites of
Shamanka II (prehiatus) and Khuzhir-Nuge XIV (posthiatus).
The investigation of dental health data was limited to
macroscopic, noninvasive, and nondestructive techniques. All teeth were cleaned thoroughly with soft
brushes and examined under natural light, with documentation including standardized scoring, written
descriptions, and photography of extreme or unusual
cases. Enamel hypoplastic defects were limited to linear
horizontal grooves (linear enamel hypoplasia) and were
scored for type, number, and location according to the
standards prescribed by the DDE (Developmental
Defects of Enamel) Index (Fédération Dentaire Internationale, 1982). Lesion severity was recorded based on the
on the criteria established by Duray (1996): grade A
(severe; grooves which exceed 0.5 mm in width or result
in gross morphological changes), grade B (moderate;
well-defined grooves which do not exceed 0.5 mm in
width), and grade C (mild; often questionable cases consisting of broadened perikymata). While each lesion was
assigned a grade, in order to be reasonably certain that
it represented a systemic stress event, only those designated as grade A or B and only those present on antimere pairs were regarded as enamel hypoplasia. The
vast majority of these enamel hypoplastic lesions were
grade B in severity. For the purpose of analyses, enamel
hypoplasia was considered present on observable teeth
exhibiting one or more lesions fitting these criteria. On
the other hand, the condition was only considered absent
on those teeth exhibiting absolutely no evidence of
enamel hypoplasia (e.g., no grade C lesions and no
lesions present on only half of an antimere pair).
All teeth with questionable lesions were excluded from
analyses.
Periodontitis was identified not only by a loss of alveolar bone and recession of the alveolar crest (relative to
the cementoenamel junction) but, perhaps even more
diagnostic among skeletal remains, by porosity reflecting
exposure of the underlying cancellous bone (Clark and
Hirsch, 1991). The condition was considered present for
any observable tooth socket exhibiting both bone loss
(whether horizontal or vertical) and porosity. In a number of cases, bone loss and porosity were so pronounced
that, except for the presence of an identified tooth, the
Fig. 3. Example of pronounced periodontitis on the left and
right maxillae: all maxillary teeth were present (and recovered)
antemortem (Shamanka II: male, 35–50 years).
affecting condition would have surely been recorded as
AMTL rather than periodontitis (e.g., Fig. 3). Antemortem tooth loss was documented according to the standards outlined by Buikstra and Ubelaker (1994:49). The
condition was identified for all observable tooth sockets
which, in the absence of a tooth, exhibited partial or
complete resorption. In light of the pronounced periodontitis observed on some individuals, at least half of each
socket had to be resorbed before it was documented as
AMTL. Even with these criteria, it was sometimes difficult to distinguish between incompletely resorbed sockets associated with antemortem tooth loss and severe
periodontitis associated with postmortem tooth loss (e.g.,
Fig. 3). In addition, virtually all cases of AMTL in the
Cis-Baikal—with the exception of several cases obviously
related to alveolar defects (abscesses) or trauma—appear
to have been associated with periodontitis, being simply
an advanced progression of the latter. For these reasons,
the two conditions were considered in the same pathological category for the present study.
Caries, calculus, and alveolar defects were documented
according to the standards outlined by Buikstra and
Ubelaker (1994:55–56) and, in the cases of caries and
calculus, modified from the work of Moore and Corbett
(1971) and Brothwell (1981), respectively. Caries was
considered present on observable dentition if its lesions
had penetrated the dental enamel; teeth with questionable lesions (of which there were very few) were
excluded from analyses. Calculus was scored as trace,
grade A (small amount), grade B (moderate amount), or
grade C (large amount), the latter three categories being
described by Brothwell (1981). For the purpose of analyses, calculus was considered present on observable teeth
only if it was scored as grade A or higher. Most calculus
American Journal of Physical Anthropology—DOI 10.1002/ajpa
DENTAL HEALTH IN SIBERIA’S CIS-BAIKAL
deposits documented were grade A or B and were located
around the cementoenamel junction. Alveolar defects
(abscesses) were recorded as such on the basis of perforating lesions through the alveolar bone originating from
root apices. The condition was considered present on any
observable tooth socket exhibiting periapical perforation
of the alveolus, whether or not the tooth was recovered.
Dental attrition, again for every observable tooth, was
scored using the system developed by Smith (1984) for
incisors, canines, and premolars and that developed by
Scott (1979) for molars. Because there is generally little
left-right discrepancy in dental attrition (Hillson,
1996:236), the two sides were averaged if scores were
available for both (Table 7).
To provide a general understanding of health and
behavior in the mid-Holocene Cis-Baikal, frequencies—
the proportions of observable teeth and/or sockets
afflicted—and sample means (in the case of attrition) for
each tooth (or tooth type) were compared among the four
cemetery sites. Analyses not only considered all observable individuals, but also, if sample sizes were large
enough, observable males, females, and members of various age groups separately. Age group classification
depended on both the pathological condition evaluated
and sample size. For example, age at death for dental
attrition was classified into four groups (adolescents [12–
20 years], young adults [20–35 years], middle adults
[35–50 years], and old adults [501 years], after Buikstra
and Ubelaker, 1994:9), while it was represented by only
two categories for enamel hypoplasia (adult [201 years]
versus subadult [less than 20 years]). In addition to
between-site analyses, frequencies and means were
examined within each site, again if sample sizes permitted, between males and females as well as among members of various age groups. This was done to test for sex
and age-related differences within each population, as
well as for survivorship potential in the case of enamel
hypoplasia. All proportional data were compared with binomial statistics and all means (attrition scores) were
evaluated with two-tailed t-tests. Fisher’s Exact tests
were employed when sample sizes were small (less than
five).
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
In the archaeological literature, the presence of formal
cemeteries among prehistoric hunter-gatherers is often
associated with greater sedentism, subsistence intensification, and increasing territoriality (e.g., Goldstein,
1981; Charles and Buikstra, 1983; Price and Brown,
1985). The Cis-Baikal mid-Holocene is somewhat unique
in this regard, as large formal cemeteries were utilized
by foragers exploiting a wide range of resources. However, the adaptive strategies employed in the region
appear to have varied over time, even though environmental conditions remained relatively constant (Weber
et al., 2002). Recent examinations of archaeological and
stable isotope data from the Cis-Baikal suggest that prehiatus Kitoi and posthiatus Serovo–Glaskovo peoples
may have differed in their respective adaptive regimes
(Weber, 1995; Katzenberg and Weber, 1999; Weber et al.,
2002). If this assertion is accurate, then subsequently
disparate behavioral patterns and community health levels may be reflected by the Cis-Baikal dental record.
The current understanding of the prehiatus Kitoi and
posthiatus Serovo–Glaskovo cultures proposes considerable differences in their respective adaptive strategies,
327
particularly the decreased mobility and narrower subsistence base of the former. It is thought that Kitoi
annual ranges were quite small, focusing on aquatic
(specifically fish) resources whether or not these were
the most abundant or accessible. Residential mobility
was relatively low, being restricted to specific waterways,
especially during the fishing season, with home bases
being occupied for extended periods of time. Furthermore, low interregional travel appears to have resulted
in high isolation among Kitoi groups. By contrast,
Serovo–Glaskovo people exhibited broader subsistence
patterns focusing on both aquatic (fish and seal) and terrestrial resources. Consequently, residential mobility
was relatively high, home bases were small and occupied
on a short-term basis, and annual ranges were large,
encompassing much, or all, of the Cis-Baikal region.
Finally, because of their high interregional travel, isolation among Serovo–Glaskovo groups was comparatively
low (Weber, 1995; Katzenberg and Weber, 1999; Weber
et al., 2002).
These apparent differences in Kitoi and Serovo–Glaskovo adaptive regimes are supported by archaeological
and stable isotope (particularly d15N) data. Although
both cultural complexes encompass the entire Cis-Baikal
region, most Kitoi sites are limited to river mouths, shallow coves, and river confluences, likely a reflection of
accessibility to fish resources. Fishing paraphernalia
such as carved fish lures and harpoons are frequent and
abundant among Kitoi grave goods and within their habitation horizons. Serovo–Glaskovo grave goods and tool
kits, on the other hand, are largely represented by hunting paraphernalia such as bows, arrowheads, and spears.
Furthermore, stable isotope analyses have documented
noticeable differences in both d13C and d15N values
among skeletal material from different Kitoi sites, two of
which are located only 100 km apart. This suggests limited mobility and high isolation of Kitoi groups with the
consumption of local resources characterized by distinct
isotopic signatures. In contrast, isotopic variation among
the Serovo–Glaskovo samples appears to be minimal
across the entire Cis-Baikal, suggesting higher interregional travel, lower isolation among groups, and broader/
more diverse diets. Finally, stable isotope values suggest
a greater reliance on fish by the Kitoi people and an
increased reliance on terrestrial foods by the Serovo–
Glaskovo (Okladnikov, 1950, 1955, 1959; Khlobystin,
1969; Lam, 1994; Weber, 1995; Weber et al., 1998, 2002;
Katzenberg and Weber, 1999). If Kitoi and Serovo–Glaskovo peoples did indeed employ markedly different
adaptive regimes, then the examination of their respective dental records might corroborate these interpretations.
Enamel hypoplasia
Dental enamel hypoplasia, a deficiency in enamel
thickness resulting from systemic physiological stress
during growth and development, is a valuable tool for
examining nonspecific stress and inferring the general
health status of past populations (Aufderheide and
Rodrı́guez-Martı́n, 1998:405; Larsen, 1997:44–46; Shafer
et al., 1983; Suckling, 1989). Thus, enamel hypoplastic
frequencies should reflect relative susceptibility to stress
and variable community health levels characterizing
distinct Kitoi and Serovo–Glaskovo adaptive regimes. In
general, two factors appear to have been most influential
on premodern community health: diet and population
American Journal of Physical Anthropology—DOI 10.1002/ajpa
328
A.R. LIEVERSE ET AL.
TABLE 2. Summary of linear enamel hypoplasia data (permanent teeth only)a
Right maxillary
I1
I2
C
All individuals, 2,288 teeth
Lok
N 21
25
27
% 23.8 12.0 22.2
Sha N 13
13
15
% 23.1
7.7
0.0
UID N 11
10
13
%
0.0
0.0
0.0
K14 N 17
18
27
%
0.0
5.6 11.1
Females, 411 teeth
Lok
N
7
10
10
% 14.3 10.0 20.0
Sha N
3
2
3
% 33.3
0.0
0.0
UID N
0
1
2
%
*
0.0
0.0
K14 N
0
0
1
%
*
*
0.0
Males, 1,140 teeth
Lok
N 10
13
13
% 30.0
7.7 15.4
Sha N
8
10
11
% 25.0 10.0
0.0
UID N
3
4
5
%
0.0
0.0
0.0
K14 N
8
6
14
%
0.0 16.7
7.7
Subadults (\20 yr), 804 teeth
Lok
N
5
4
3
% 20.0 50.0 33.3
Sha N
3
2
2
%
0.0
0.0
0.0
UID N
8
7
7
%
0.0
0.0
0.0
K14 N
9
14
10
%
0.0
7.1 20.0
Adults (201 yr), 1,484 teeth
Lok
N 16
21
24
% 25.0
4.8 20.8
Sha N 10
11
13
% 30.0
9.1
0.0
UID N
3
3
6
%
0.0
0.0
0.0
K14 N
8
4
17
%
0.0
0.0
5.9
Left maxillary
Left mandibular
Right mandibular
Post
I1
I2
C
Post
I1
I2
C
Post
I1
I2
C
Post
All
124
2.4
80
2.5
76
0.0
115
0.9
24
25.0
12
25.0
11
0.0
13
0.0
23
8.7
9
11.1
13
0.0
17
5.9
29
20.7
15
0.0
17
0.0
22
13.6
127
2.4
89
2.2
64
0.0
100
3.0
22
0.0
12
8.3
17
0.0
18
0.0
28
7.1
15
13.3
19
0.0
21
0.0
21
28.6
19
15.8
19
0.0
23
13.0
88
2.3
92
3.3
72
0.0
61
0.0
17
0.0
13
7.7
16
0.0
14
0.0
24
8.3
12
16.7
24
0.0
21
0.0
26
19.2
18
16.7
16
0.0
19
15.8
99
3.0
64
4.7
61
0.0
107
0.0
725
7.5
491
6.1
459
0.0
613
2.9
43
7.0
16
0.0
13
0.0
5
0.0
6
16.7
2
50.0
0
*
0
*
7
0.0
1
0.0
1
0.0
0
*
10
20.0
3
0.0
2
0.0
1
0.0
37
8.1
17
0.0
11
0.0
4
0.0
5
0.0
2
0.0
2
0.0
0
*
8
0.0
2
0.0
1
0.0
1
0.0
8
12.5
3
0.0
3
0.0
0
*
35
2.9
12
0.0
12
0.0
2
0.0
5
0.0
2
0.0
2
0.0
0
*
8
0.0
1
0.0
3
0.0
0
*
8
12.5
3
0.0
3
0.0
0
*
37
5.4
12
0.0
12
0.0
1
0.0
244
7.4
84
2.4
68
0.0
15
0.0
63
0.0
54
0.0
29
0.0
49
0.0
12
25.0
9
22.2
4
0.0
7
0.0
13
7.7
7
14.3
5
0.0
7
14.3
15
13.3
11
0.0
8
0.0
12
8.3
64
0.0
62
0.0
32
0.0
39
0.0
10
0.0
7
0.0
5
0.0
5
0.0
13
7.7
11
9.1
8
0.0
7
0.0
10
40.0
13
15.4
7
0.0
10
20.0
46
2.2
60
3.3
31
0.0
29
0.0
9
0.0
7
0.0
6
0.0
4
0.0
12
8.3
9
11.1
9
0.0
8
0.0
13
23.1
12
16.7
3
0.0
8
12.5
48
2.1
39
5.1
23
0.0
51
0.0
364
6.3
330
4.8
182
0.0
264
2.7
18
27.8
17
11.8
42
0.0
59
0.0
6
33.3
2
0.0
7
0.0
7
0.0
3
33.3
1
0.0
8
0.0
12
8.3
4
25.0
2
0.0
8
0.0
9
22.2
26
11.5
17
11.8
28
0.0
56
0.0
6
0.0
4
25.0
11
0.0
13
0.0
6
16.7
2
50.0
11
0.0
15
0.0
2
0.0
3
33.3
11
0.0
13
7.7
10
10.0
14
7.4
34
0.0
29
0.0
3
0.0
3
33.3
10
0.0
11
0.0
5
20.0
2
50.0
14
0.0
15
0.0
5
0.0
3
33.3
12
0.0
12
16.7
16
12.5
16
6.3
35
0.0
52
0.0
122
17.2
93
12.9
253
0.0
336
2.7
106
0.0
63
0.0
34
0.0
56
1.8
18
22.2
10
30.0
4
0.0
6
0.0
20
5.0
8
12.5
5
0.0
5
0.0
25
20.0
13
0.0
9
0.0
13
7.7
101
0.0
72
0.0
36
0.0
44
2.3
16
0.0
8
0.0
6
0.0
5
0.0
22
4.5
13
7.7
8
0.0
6
0.0
19
31.6
16
12.5
8
0.0
10
20.0
78
1.3
78
2.6
38
0.0
32
0.0
14
0.0
10
0.0
6
0.0
3
0.0
19
5.3
10
10.0
10
0.0
6
0.0
21
23.8
15
13.3
4
0.0
7
14.3
83
1.2
48
4.2
26
0.0
55
0.0
603
5.8
398
4.5
206
0.0
277
2.5
Lok, Lokomotiv (prehiatus); Sha, Shamanka II (prehiatus); UID, Ust’-Ida I (posthiatus); K14, Khuzhir-Nuge XIV (posthiatus); Post,
posterior dentition (premolars and molars); N, Number of observable teeth; %, Percentage of observable teeth affected by linear
enamel hypoplasia; *, No data.
a
Number of Individuals Observed: Lok (42), Sha (31), UID (39), K14 (46), Total (158).
structure (Steckel et al., 2002; Walker and Thornton,
2002). On the basis of the number and distribution of
mid-Holocene Cis-Baikal archaeological sites, it has been
postulated that population size and density were higher
among the prehiatus Kitoi than the posthiatus Serovo–
Glaskovo, but that the former were limited in their regional distribution and thus outnumbered approximately
four to one by the latter (Weber et al., 2002). While these
hypothesized distinctions in population structure are
tentative at best, they are unlikely to have played a substantive role in potential community health differences
between the pre and posthiatus groups. Population size
and density in the mid-Holocene Cis-Baikal failed to
reach levels attained by subsistence-intensive foragers
living in permanent year-round settlements (e.g., Ubelaker, 1988). As a result, dietary variation remains the
most plausible explanation for any significant health
differences discerned between the Kitoi and Serovo–
Glaskovo populations. If the two groups did indeed differ
considerably in the breadth of their resource exploitation, then they may have also differed in their vulnerability to physiological stress, reflecting their relative
adaptive effectiveness. For example, the decreased
dietary variation characterizing a narrower and geographically-restricted Kitoi subsistence base may have
increased susceptibility to stress during periods of seasonal or annual resource shortage.
Of the 102 teeth considered to be affected by enamel
hypoplasia, 77 (or 75.0%) were canines and incisors. As
such, detailed analyses focused on these 12 teeth rather
than the other 20 in the dental arcade (Table 2). Even at
first glance, it was apparent that enamel hypoplastic
American Journal of Physical Anthropology—DOI 10.1002/ajpa
329
DENTAL HEALTH IN SIBERIA’S CIS-BAIKAL
frequencies are higher for the prehiatus sites of Lokomotiv and Shamanka II than the posthiatus sites of Ust’Ida I and Khuzhir-Nuge XIV. Between-site comparisons
confirmed these observations. While statistically significant differences were not identified in each and every
case, there was a clear trend of higher frequencies
among the prehiatus Kitoi groups, particularly evident
on maxillary central incisors (P-values of 0.005–0.048)
and mandibular canines (P-values of 0.004–0.013), but
also observed on maxillary canines and mandibular lateral incisors (P-values of 0.005 through 0.006 and 0.034,
respectively). These observations continued to hold true
when pre- and posthiatus populations were pooled to
increase sample sizes (P-values of 0.001–0.046). Therefore, between-site comparisons of enamel hypoplastic
data provide strong evidence to suggest that prehiatus
individuals suffered from higher levels of physiological
stress than their posthiatus successors, possibly indicative of less effective Kitoi adaptation.
In addition to between-site analyses of enamel hypoplastic frequencies, within-site examinations were also
conducted (sample sizes permitting), comparing adults
with subadults and males with females. Age at death
comparisons were aimed at discerning differences (if
any) in the survivorship potential of affected individuals,
while the latter line of inquiry examined possible sexbased social inequities. Numerous bioarchaeological
studies have demonstrated an inverse relationship between enamel defects and age at death, with the condition being more common among subadults than adults
(Rose et al., 1978; Cook and Buikstra, 1979; Blakely,
1988; White, 1988; Danforth, 1989; Cook, 1990; Simpson
et al., 1990; Duray, 1996). It has been suggested that individuals experiencing considerable physiological stress
during childhood are predisposed to earlier death and
thus less successful in reaching adulthood than their
more fortunate colleagues. Another explanation attributes age-related differences to social positions in stratified societies, with higher ranked individuals experiencing less stress and being more apt to survive into adulthood (Goodman and Armelagos, 1988; Goodman, 1989).
Similarly, distinctions in enamel hypoplastic occurrence
between males and females point to sexual inequality,
often in favor of the former.
At first glance, the two prehiatus sites (Lokomotiv and
Shamanka II) exhibited generally higher enamel hypoplastic frequencies among subadults than adults while
the two posthiatus sites (Ust’-Ida I and Khuzhir-Nuge
XIV) exhibited generally similar levels among both age
groups (Table 2). However, no perceived differences were
found to be statistically significant, whether sites were
compared individually or pooled together. Likewise, no
significant distinctions were observed between males
and females representing the prehiatus sites of Lokomotiv and Shamanka II. Unfortunately, posthiatus female
sample sizes were too small for statistical comparison
with their contemporary males, even if both sites (Ust’Ida I and Khuzhir-Nuge XIV) were pooled together. The
similarity in adult-subadult levels of enamel hypoplasia
may be indicative of relatively low physiological stress
throughout the mid-Holocene, regardless of comparative
frequencies among the four sites. A predisposition to earlier death may be inconsequential if stress events are
relatively minor. Accordingly, the significant differences
revealed by between-site analyses (above) may simply
reflect an increase in the number rather than the severity of stress events during the prehiatus Kitoi period.
TABLE 3. Summary of carious data (adult individuals only)a
All
Lok
N
702
%
0.3
Sha N
487
%
0.0
UID N
231
%
0.9
K14 N
350
%
0.0
Total N 1,770
%
0.2
Females Males 20–35 yr 35–50 yr 501 yr
272
0.4
53
0.0
61
1.6
34
0.0
420
0.5
398
0.3
416
0.0
167
0.6
256
0.0
1,237
0.2
275
0.4
341
0.0
94
2.1
166
0.0
876
0.3
317
0.3
142
0.0
75
0.0
157
0.0
691
0.1
72
0.0
0
*
59
0.0
27
0.0
158
0.0
Lok, Lokomotiv (prehiatus); Sha, Shamanka II (prehiatus);
UID, Ust’-Ida I (posthiatus); K14, Khuzhir-Nuge XIV (posthiatus); N, Number of observable teeth; %, Percentage of
observable teeth affected by carious lesions; *, No data.
a
Number of Individuals Observed: Lok (35), Sha (24), UID (13),
K14 (26), Total (98).
Furthermore, the lack of significant age and sex differences in enamel hypoplastic frequencies implies relatively
equitable social relations among both pre- and posthiatus groups. Thus, within-site analyses of enamel hypoplasia data suggest both social equality and relatively
low overall stress for all occupants of the Cis-Baikal,
pre- and posthiatus alike.
Caries and alveolar defects
Dental caries, the localized demineralization of teeth
through the acidic effects of sugar metabolism by bacterial plaque, is widely known to reflect dietary habits—
specifically the consumption of soft, sticky, and sweet
foods—as well as poor oral hygiene (Pindborg, 1970;
Mandel, 1979; Hillson, 1986, 1996:269–287; Aufderheide
and Rodrı́guez-Martı́n, 1998:402–404; Ortner, 2003:590–
592). Although caries is one of the most common pathological conditions affecting people today, its frequency
varied substantially in the past, generally in response to
the shifting carbohydrate content of ancient diets. Populations consuming low-carbohydrate high-protein diets
tended to exhibit not only fewer carious lesions overall,
but also distinct caries distributions, with the condition
occurring most frequently on cementoenamel junctions
and root surfaces. This suggests that the majority of carious decay among these groups was secondary to periodontitis (Larsen, 1983; Hillson, 1986, 1996:269–287; Aufderheide and Rodrı́guez-Martı́n, 1998:402–404; Ortner,
2003:590–592).
In the Cis-Baikal, caries frequency was very low
(0.23%) and statistically similar across all four cemetery
populations (Table 3). A total of four small (not more
than several mm in diameter) carious lesions were documented on four separate individuals, all penetrating the
dental enamel and all located on tooth crowns, specifically the buccal surface of a premolar (tooth 24) and the
occlusal surfaces of three molars (teeth 16, 36, and 47).
Lesion locations suggest that periodontitis—although
pervasive throughout the region—did not play a dominant role in the development or progression of dental
caries. The extremely low caries frequencies appear to
reflect both the low-carbohydrate high-protein content of
Kitoi and Serovo–Glaskovo diets (e.g., emphasizing fish
and/or terrestrial mammal and seal meat) as well as
high dental attrition (see below) exhibited by all occu-
American Journal of Physical Anthropology—DOI 10.1002/ajpa
330
A.R. LIEVERSE ET AL.
TABLE 4. Summary of alveolar defect data
(adult individuals only)a
All
Lok
N 1,106
%
0.3
Sha N
670
%
0.0
UID N
377
%
0.5
K14 N
702
%
0.9
Total N 2,855
%
0.4
Females Males 20–35 yr 35–50 yr 501 yr
439
0.5
75
0.0
95
0.0
141
2.1
750
0.7
619
0.2
565
0.0
280
0.7
408
0.7
1,872
0.3
358
0.0
455
0.0
129
0.0
239
0.0
1,181
0.0
524
0.6
203
0.0
120
0.0
298
1.0
1,145
0.5
176
0.0
0
*
123
1.6
118
2.5
417
1.2
Lok, Lokomotiv (prehiatus); Sha, Shamanka II (prehiatus);
UID, Ust’-Ida I (posthiatus); K14, Khuzhir-Nuge XIV (posthiatus); N, Number of observable tooth sockets; %, Percentage
of observable sockets affected by alveolar defects; *, No data.
a
Number of Individuals Observed: Lok (38), Sha (26), UID (13),
K14 (33), Total (110).
pants of the Cis-Baikal. In the latter case, severe attrition may have quickly obliterated many carious lesions
which developed on occlusal surfaces. The possible role
of dental attrition in decreasing caries prevalence is also
supported by the demographic characteristics of the four
affected individuals. Two females and two males exhibited the condition, all of whom were under the age of 50
years and three of whom were under the age of 35.
While sex and age samples were too small for statistical
comparison, there was some indication that younger
adults were affected more often than older adults, perhaps reflecting caries obliteration with increasing dental
attrition and advancing age at death. On the other
hand, there was no evidence for either sex being more
susceptible to carious lesions than the other.
Periapical abscess is the inflammation of dental pulp
in which exudate extends through the root apices into
the surrounding alveolar bone. Lesions are secondary to
exposure of the pulp cavity—whether by advanced
caries, severe attrition exceeding odontoblastic capacity,
or even trauma—and its subsequent invasion by oral
bacteria. While the condition can be fatal if bacteria
enter the blood stream, it more typically results in the
exfoliation of affected teeth. Periapical abscesses can be
easily identified if open fistulae are present, but difficult
(or even impossible) to diagnose if alveolar bone has
largely or completely remodeled subsequent to tooth loss
(Hillson, 1996:284–287; Aufderheide and Rodrı́guez-Martı́n, 1998:403–404; Ortner, 2003:590–591). Because it
was rather uncommon in the Cis-Baikal, identification of
the condition by fistulae (perforations of the alveolar
bone) only was not thought to be unduly biased. However, in order avoid the problem of diagnosing the state
of each observed lesion (e.g., active or benign, as in the
case of a granuloma), we will use the more generic term
‘‘alveolar defect’’ to refer to all perforating lesions.
As with caries, the frequency of alveolar defects in the
Cis-Baikal was low (0.39%) and statistically similar
across the four cemetery populations (Table 4). Individuals afflicted by the condition included four males and
two females, all of whom were older than 35 years at
death. While sex and age samples were too small for statistical comparisons, there was no evidence to suggest
that either sex was more predisposed to the condition
than the other, but some indication of higher defect
occurrence among older adults. In total, 11 tooth sockets
exhibited alveolar defects, nine of which were posterior
(supporting premolars and molars). Unfortunately,
underlying causative factors could only be identified for
three affected sockets: severe attrition had exposed the
dental pulp and initiated inflammation in all three cases.
Five of the remaining eight sockets had their dentition
lost antemortem, with evidence of partial alveolar
remodeling, and three supported teeth with obliterated
crowns, the result of postmortem taphonomic degradation. While caries, trauma, and dental attrition are all
possible candidates behind alveolar defect etiology, the
latter is more likely to have been responsible in these
cases, given its pervasiveness in the Cis-Baikal (see
below), its general age-related increase in severity
coupled with the relatively advanced age of all defectafflicted individuals, and the very low frequency of caries
in the region. Finally, it is possible that this condition
may have contributed to the death(s) of one or more
affected individuals through ensuing hematological infection, but this is normally an uncommon occurrence.
Periodontitis and antemortem tooth loss
Periodontitis, or periodontal disease, is the chronic
and destructive inflammation of periodontal tissues
(including alveolar bone) and one of the leading causes
of (antemortem) tooth loss in adults (Shafer et al.,
1983:760). While the etiology behind periodontitis—and,
by extension, many cases of AMTL—is multifactorial,
including genetic, dietary, hygienic, and environmental
components, its primary pathological agent is bacterial
plaque, whether mineralized (as dental calculus) or not
(Shafer et al., 1983:760; Lukacs, 1989; Mandel, 1990;
Hillson, 1996:231, 260–264; Aufderheide and Rodrı́guezMartı́n, 1998:400–401; Regezi et al., 2000:142–144; Ortner, 2003:593). In the Cis-Baikal, almost all cases of
AMTL appear to have been the result of advanced periodontitis and, in some pronounced cases of the former,
the two conditions were almost impossible to differentiate. Because of this, and except in cases where another
causative agent was obviously responsible (e.g., trauma,
abscess), periodontitis and AMTL were considered one
and the same for the purpose of analyses. Together, they
were the most commonly encountered dental pathological conditions in the Cis-Baikal, affecting up to 44.8 of
observable alveolar sockets (Table 5).
Initial observations suggested that frequencies of
periodontitis and AMTL were generally highest for the
prehiatus site of Shamanka II and lowest for the other
prehiatus site of Lokomotiv, with frequencies for the two
posthiatus sites being in between and more or less similar (Table 5). While not statistically significant in each
and every case, these initial observations were supported
by between-site analyses, with the largest number of differences being noted between Lokomotiv and Shamanka
II (P-values of 0.000–0.027) and only a few between
Khuzhir-Nuge XIV and Ust’-Ida I (P-values of 0.013–
0.031). This general pattern continued when males and
adults from various age categories were considered separately (female sample sizes were too small for analyses):
again, Shamanka II exhibited the highest frequencies of
periodontitis and AMTL, and Lokomotiv the lowest. It
must be noted that, with very few exceptions, all significant differences in the frequencies of periodontitis and
associated tooth loss were observed on posterior alveoli
(those supporting premolars and molars). Thus, results
of between-site analyses suggest that etiological agents
American Journal of Physical Anthropology—DOI 10.1002/ajpa
331
DENTAL HEALTH IN SIBERIA’S CIS-BAIKAL
a
TABLE 5. Summary of periodontitis/antemortem tooth loss data (adult individuals only)
All individuals
Right maxillary
Lok
Sha
UID
K14
N
%
N
%
N
%
N
%
Left maxillary
I1
I2
C
P1
P2
M1
M2
M3
I1
I2
C
P1
P2
M1
M2
M3
35
2.9
22
18.2
11
9.1
10
20.0
35
2.9
22
13.6
11
18.2
14
21.4
35
0.0
22
9.1
11
9.1
21
0.0
35
0.0
22
18.2
11
9.1
23
4.3
35
0.0
22
18.2
12
16.7
21
4.8
35
2.9
22
31.8
12
16.7
21
4.8
35
0.0
22
40.9
11
18.2
20
5.0
35
2.9
20
30.0
7
28.6
15
0.0
35
5.7
21
14.3
11
18.2
11
27.3
35
2.9
21
9.5
11
18.2
17
17.6
35
2.9
21
9.5
11
9.1
17
0.0
35
0.0
22
18.2
12
8.3
18
5.6
35
0.0
22
22.7
12
8.3
18
5.6
35
0.0
22
13.6
11
9.1
20
5.0
35
0.0
22
22.7
11
27.3
22
4.5
35
5.7
21
28.6
10
30.0
13
15.4
Left mandibular
Lok
Sha
UID
K14
N
%
N
%
N
%
N
%
Right mandibular
I1
I2
C
P1
P2
M1
M2
M3
I1
I2
C
P1
P2
M1
M2
M3
35
8.6
20
10.0
12
0.0
21
19.0
35
2.9
21
9.5
13
0.0
24
12.5
35
2.9
21
9.5
13
0.0
24
8.3
35
2.9
21
14.3
13
0.0
26
19.2
34
5.9
21
9.5
13
0.0
29
13.8
34
5.9
21
14.3
13
15.4
31
16.1
34
2.9
21
14.3
13
7.7
30
20.0
32
3.1
17
17.6
10
10.0
24
20.8
33
9.1
20
10.0
12
8.3
22
22.7
34
2.9
21
4.8
13
0.0
22
9.1
34
0.0
21
4.8
13
0.0
27
3.7
35
2.9
21
19.0
13
0.0
28
14.3
35
0.0
21
14.3
13
15.4
30
16.7
35
0.0
21
14.3
13
7.7
32
12.5
35
2.9
21
23.8
13
15.4
32
18.2
34
8.8
17
17.6
10
20.0
34
16.7
All sockets
Lok
Sha
UID
K14
Total
N
%
N
%
N
%
N
%
N
%
All
Females
Males
20–35 yr
35–50 yr
501 yr
1,109
2.8
672
16.5
375
10.4
708
12.1
2,864
9.3
439
2.1
75
10.7
96
10.4
79
20.3
689
6.2
619
2.4
567
18.2
280
10.4
471
9.3
1,937
9.8
358
0.6
455
4.4
129
0.0
239
7.9
1,181
3.5
524
2.1
203
44.8
78
10.3
301
9.6
1,106
12.6
176
10.2
0
*
119
26.9
119
22.7
414
18.6
Lok, Lokomotiv (prehiatus); Sha, Shamanka II (prehiatus); UID, Ust’-Ida I (posthiatus); K14, Khuzhir-Nuge XIV (posthiatus); N,
Number of observable tooth sockets, %, Percentage of observable sockets affected by periodontitis and/or antemortem tooth loss;
*, No data.
a
Number of Individuals Observed: Lok (38), Sha (26), UID (13), K14 (33), Total (110).
responsible for periodontitis and AMTL in the Cis-Baikal, namely bacterial plaque and dental calculus, were
most common on individuals from Shamanka II, particularly affecting posterior dentition, and least common on
individuals from Lokomotiv. This will be discussed in
more detail in the Dental Calculus section below.
Periodontitis and AMTL data were also compared
within sites, again testing for possible sex- or age-related
differences in frequencies. Because female sample sizes
were very small for all sites other than Lokomotiv (Table
5), posthiatus females were pooled for comparison with
their contemporary males (also pooled). Prehiatus female
samples were not pooled together because of the substantial differences documented above between Lokomotiv and Shamanka II, and thus prehiatus male-female
comparisons were limited to Lokomotiv only. While one
significant difference was noted (tooth 28 for posthiatus
individuals, P-value of 0.038), there was no evidence to
suggest any patterns of higher periodontitis/AMTL
occurrence among members of either sex. When frequencies were examined across adult age categories, a clear
trend of increasing periodontitis and associated tooth
loss with advancing age at death was observed (Table 5).
Dental attrition (discussed below) also progressed steadily with age, suggesting some association between these
two conditions in the Cis-Baikal. Severe attrition
appears to have played a substantive role in the progression of periodontitis among many past populations: the
obliteration of interproximal contact areas on tooth
crowns permits chronic interdental food retention and
facilitates plaque (and thus calculus) formation (Aufderheide and Rodrı́guez-Martı́n, 1998:399, 401). However,
attrition alone cannot account for the substantial differences in periodontitis/AMTL frequencies documented
betweem the two prehiatus sites of Lokomotiv and Shamanka II (see below).
Dental calculus
Dental calculus is mineralized plaque which adheres
to tooth surfaces. During life, calculus deposits are covered by nonmineralized bacterial plaque, and it is this
plaque which is the primary pathological agent for periodontitis and the bony response of alveolar resorption
(Lukacs, 1989; Mandel, 1990; Hillson, 1996: 255). The
etiology of calculus formation is multi-causal and often
American Journal of Physical Anthropology—DOI 10.1002/ajpa
332
A.R. LIEVERSE ET AL.
TABLE 6. Summary of calculus data (adult individuals only)a
All individuals
Right maxillary
Sha
K14
N
%
N
%
Left maxillary
I1
I2
C
P1
P2
M1
M2
M3
I1
I2
C
P1
P2
M1
M2
M3
12
16.7
8
0.0
13
15.4
4
0.0
16
18.8
18
0.0
17
11.8
14
0.0
18
16.7
15
6.7
20
50.0
17
0.0
14
42.9
11
0.0
13
15.4
8
12.5
12
16.7
7
0.0
11
18.2
7
0.0
18
22.2
13
0.0
16
12.5
16
0.0
18
22.2
11
0.0
18
44.4
12
0.0
18
33.3
14
7.1
13
7.7
10
0.0
Left mandibular
Sha
K14
N
%
N
%
Right mandibular
I1
I2
C
P1
P2
M1
M2
M3
I1
I2
C
P1
P2
M1
M2
M3
11
36.4
6
16.7
15
26.7
10
10.0
19
36.8
15
0.0
19
42.1
15
0.0
19
21.1
18
0.0
20
30.0
3
0.0
17
23.5
3
33.3
15
13.3
2
50.0
15
53.3
5
20.0
14
42.9
10
10.0
18
33.3
13
7.7
18
38.9
16
0.0
17
29.4
14
0.0
10
70.0
17
5.9
7
57.1
14
7.1
7
28.6
9
11.1
All teeth
Sha
K14
Total
N
%
N
%
N
%
All
Females
Males
20–35 yr
35–50 yr
501 yr
488
29.3
355
3.7
843
18.5
52
0.0
49
2.0
101
1.0
419
32.9
246
4.9
665
22.6
342
23.6
166
0.0
508
15.9
139
43.9
157
7.6
296
24.7
0
*
63
1.6
63
1.6
Sha, Shamanka II (prehiatus); K14, Khuzhir-Nuge XIV (posthiatus); N, Number of observable teeth; %, Percentage of observable
teeth with calculus deposits; *, No data.
a
Number of Individuals Observed: Sha (24), K14 (26), Total (50).
oversimplified by anthropologists (Hillson, 1979; Lieverse, 1999). It is generally accepted that calculus deposition is facilitated by an alkaline oral environment and
that diets high in protein increase oral alkalinity. However, of the numerous other factors found to affect the
formation of dental calculus, dietary protein intake does
not predominate. These other factors include individual
variation in salivary flow rate, hydration, and calcium
and phosphate levels in the blood, mineral content of
drinking water, silicon content in both food and water,
and plaque accumulation, the latter typically facilitated
by high carbohydrate consumption and/or severe dental
attrition (Dawes, 1970; Mandel, 1973, 1974; Damen and
ten Cate, 1989; Rølla et al., 1989). Thus, while diet may
play a role in calculus formation, there are various
aspects of diet to consider, as well as a number of cultural and environmental factors.
Unfortunately, the documentation of dental calculus
data in the Cis-Baikal was limited to the two newly
excavated sites of Shamanka II (prehiatus) and KhuzhirNuge XIV (posthiatus). This limitation is particularly regrettable given the considerable differences observed
between the two sites, with individuals from Shamanka
II exhibiting substantially higher calculus frequencies
than those from Khuzhir-Nuge XIV (Table 6). Statistical
significance was noted for 13 of the 32 teeth in the dental arcade (P-values ranging from 0.000 to 0.045), all but
two of which were posterior (premolars or molars). Similar observations were made when observable males and
young and middle adults were considered separately
(female and old adult sample sizes were too small for
analyses). These results may partially explain the higher
frequencies of periodontitis and AMTL documented for
Shamanka II. Dental calculus, specifically the bacterial
plaque adhering to it, is the primary pathological agent
responsible for periodontal disease (Lukacs, 1989; Mandel, 1990; Hillson, 1996: 255). Thus, the high frequencies
of periodontitis and associated tooth loss at Shamanka II
(compared to the other three sites, and especially Lokomotiv, see above) is likely a reflection, at least in part, of
the increased calculus deposition at this site. The probable association between these conditions is further supported by the fact that almost all significant differences,
for both calculus and periodontitis/AMTL analyses, were
observed on posterior dentition and alveoli.
The potentially complex etiology behind calculus formation makes explaining its high frequencies at Shamanka II—and, alternatively, its considerably lower
frequencies at Khuzhir-Nuge XIV—far from straightforward, particular in the absence of data from the other
two sites. Possible agents which can be considered here
include dietary content (i.e., protein and/or carbohydrates), dental attrition, and nondietary factors such as
individual variation and environmental factors. While
differences in dietary content have been documented
between the Kitoi and Serovo–Glaskovo cultures (Katzenberg and Weber 1999; Weber et al., 2002), these
reflect the relative contribution of aquatic and terrestrial
resources rather than the relative proportions of protein
and carbohydrates. Both the prehiatus Kitoi and the
posthiatus Serovo–Glaskovo appear to have consumed
diets which were low in carbohydrates and high in
protein, emphasizing fish and terrestrial mammal and
seal meat, respectively. Dental attrition, by permitting
chronic interdental food retention and facilitating plaque
(and thus calculus) formation, is also a factor for consideration. However, as discussed in more detail below,
there do not appear to be any substantial differences in
American Journal of Physical Anthropology—DOI 10.1002/ajpa
DENTAL HEALTH IN SIBERIA’S CIS-BAIKAL
either the severity or the pattern of attrition documented
at Shamanka II and Khuzhir-Nuge XIV. It thus seems
likely that the high calculus frequencies documented at
the former site represent the effects of nondietary factors
such as individual variation or (localized) environmental
factors.
Given that the prehiatus Kitoi are thought to have
had relatively low residential mobility—being tethered
to specific waterways while harvesting predominately
aquatic resources—we can expect various Kitoi groups to
have primarily exploited local resources and thus to
have been exposed to potentially distinctive regional
environmental factors (e.g., chemical or isotopic variables). This is supported by stable isotope analyses which
have identified differences in isotopic signatures from
Kitoi skeletal remains located only 100 km apart. On the
other hand, the opposite scenario (higher interregional
travel and increased homogeneity) appears to have characterized the posthiatus Serovo–Glaskovo people (Katzenberg
and Weber, 1999). Thus, if aspects of the Cis-Baikal
dental record such as calculus deposition reflect the variability of particular environments, then we can expect
substantially fewer distinctions among posthiatus groups
than among prehiatus ones. Using periodontitis/AMTL
(see above) as a rough proxy for calculus deposition at
all four sites (in the absence of direct calculus data for
Lokomotiv and Ust’-Ida I), then the largest difference
are indeed observed between the prehiatus sites of Lokomotiv and Shamanka II, and the smallest between the
posthiatus sites of Ust’-Ida I and Khuzhir-Nuge XIV.
This suggests that the probable nondietary factor(s) responsible for the high calculus deposition observed at
Shamanka II may have been characteristic to the local
environment, for example, high mineral content of drinking water, and exacerbated by the group’s low residential
mobility. On the other hand, individual variation
(genetic predisposition) cannot be ruled out as a contributing etiological agent, but is, unfortunately, beyond the
scope of this paper.
Calculus frequencies were also compared within each
site in order to test for possible sex- and age-related discrepancies. Unfortunately, small female sample sizes for
both Shamanka II and Khuzhir-Nuge XIV prevented
male-female comparisons, while age comparisons were
restricted to young and middle adults. For these two age
categories, a clear trend of higher calculus frequencies
with increasing age at death was observed (Table 6).
Periodontitis/AMTL (see above) and dental attrition (see
below) also progressed steadily with age, further suggesting associations among these conditions. Thus, it
seems probable that increasing attrition with advancing
age facilitated both calculus deposition and periodontal
disease (and associated tooth loss) by permitting plaque
accumulation. While age-related attrition cannot solely
account for the substantially higher frequencies of calculus observed at Shamanka II, it was undoubtedly a contributing factor, as it was at Khuzhir-Nuge XIV.
Dental attrition
Dental attrition is the physiological process of enamel
wear affecting both occlusal/incisal and interproximal
surfaces and resulting from direct tooth-on-tooth contact.
Its severity typically reflects masticatory load and is
highly influenced by dietary composition (e.g., tough, fibrous, unprocessed foods) and food preparation techni-
333
ques (e.g., grinding, pounding, drying, cooking; Hillson,
1996: 231–237; Larsen, 1997:248; Aufderheide and
Rodrı́guez-Martı́n, 1998:398–399). In fact, attrition is
frequently greater among past foragers than among premodern agriculturalists, largely a consequence of the formers’ tougher diets (e.g., Anderson, 1965; Greene et al.,
1967; Sciulli and Carlisle, 1977; Hinton, 1981, 1982;
Smith, 1982; Patterson, 1984; Powell, 1985; Inoue et al.,
1986; Molleson and Jones, 1991; Rose et al., 1991; Lubell
et al., 1994). While it is a regressive condition, advancing with age, dental attrition is not the only agent
responsible for degenerative alterations in tooth form.
Abrasion—produced by contact with foreign body particles—can accelerate attrition and cause it to become
pathological, in which adjacent alveolar bone is affected
(via the periodontal tissues or pulp cavity). Thus, attrition is not only one of the most prevalent and destructive dental pathological conditions affecting ancient peoples, but it also appears to have substantially influenced
the progression of other conditions including periodontitis, AMTL, alveolar defects (periapical abscesses), and
caries (Aufderheide and Rodrı́guez-Martı́n, 1998:399).
Dental attrition for all four Cis-Baikal cemetery populations was pronounced, with initial dentin exposure on
anterior teeth typically occurring during adolescence
(Table 7). Between-site comparisons of attrition means
for each tooth type considered all observable individuals
as well as those grouped by sex and age categories when
samples sizes allowed, with results revealing considerable parallels between the pre- and posthiatus groups.
While a number of statistically significant differences
were noted (P-values of 0.002–0.036), the only relatively
consistent trend was that of higher attrition means on
the maxillary and mandibular first molars of individuals
from Khuzhir-Nuge XIV. No other population, age category, sex, or tooth type stood out as exhibiting substantially higher (or lower) attrition means compared to the
others. Thus, with the possible exception of first molars
at Khuzhir-Nuge XIV, attrition severity appears to have
been more or less similar for all mid-Holocene occupants
of the Cis-Baikal. On the other hand, when the distribution of dental attrition was examined with central incisor-first molar (I1 to M1) wear differentials, some interesting patterns began to emerge, specifically for all
individuals and all males (Table 8). Unfortunately, many
female values were unavailable and thus interpretations
based on them are seriously limited. Relatively lower anterior and greater posterior wear were exhibited by all
individuals and all males from Khuzhir-Nuge (posthiatus) and Shamanka II (prehiatus), while relatively
higher anterior and lower posterior wear were exhibited
by those from Lokomotiv (prehiatus) and Ust’-Ida I (posthiatus). These patterns, reflecting differences in masticatory and/or nonmasticatory use of the dentition, introduce an interesting dimension to our understanding of
mid-Holocene adaptive strategies in the region by suggesting parallels among groups based on their geographical location within the Cis-Baikal rather than their cultural (or temporal) affiliation. The sites of Shamanka II
and Khuzhir-Nuge XIV, exhibiting relatively higher posterior and lower anterior attrition, are situated directly
on the shores of Lake Baikal (at its southwestern tip
and on the ‘Little Sea’ across from Ol’khon Island,
respectively), while Lokomotiv and Ust’-Ida I, exhibiting
relatively greater anterior and lower posterior wear, are
located on the banks of the Angara River (70 and 200
km from the river’s mouth, respectively; Fig. 2).
American Journal of Physical Anthropology—DOI 10.1002/ajpa
334
A.R. LIEVERSE ET AL.
TABLE 7. Summary of dental attrition scores (adolescent and adult individuals only)a
Maxillary
I1
I2
C
P1
All individuals, 1,231 teeth
Lok
N 17
20
21
23
l
4.3
4.2
4.2
3.5
Sha
N 19
17
22
20
l
3.9
3.7
3.8
3.2
UID N
4
6
11
10
l
4.0
3.7
3.4
3.2
K14
N 18
20
26
26
l
3.9
3.5
3.8
3.5
Females, 228 teeth
Lok
N
4
5
4
5
l
4.8
5.4
4.5
4.5
Sha
N
3
2
3
3
l
3.3
3.0
3.0
2.3
UID N
1
2
3
3
l
5.0
4.0
3.7
4.0
K14
N
0
0
2
2
l
*
*
5.3
6.3
Males, 789 teeth
Lok
N 12
14
16
16
l
4.1
3.8
4.2
3.1
Sha
N 14
13
17
15
l
4.3
4.2
4.2
3.6
UID N
3
4
7
7
l
3.7
3.5
3.6
2.9
K14
N 10
13
16
15
l
4.4
3.9
4.1
3.4
Adolescents (12–20 yr), 215 teeth
Lok
N
1
1
1
1
l
2.0
1.0
1.0
1.0
Sha
N
3
3
3
3
l
2.2
1.5
1.8
1.5
UID N
0
0
2
1
l
*
*
1.5
1.0
K14
N
5
6
5
7
l
2.6
1.8
2.0
1.6
Young adults (20–35 yr), 470 teeth
Lok
N
6
5
6
6
l
3.3
2.6
2.8
1.7
Sha
N 10
9
13
13
l
3.8
3.8
3.9
3.2
UID N
2
3
3
3
l
3.0
2.3
2.3
1.7
K14
N
7
7
9
7
l
4.1
4.1
3.7
3.6
Middle adults (35–50 yr), 407 teeth
Lok
N
6
9
9
11
l
5.0
4.9
5.2
4.3
Sha
N
6
5
6
4
l
5.0
4.8
4.8
4.5
UID N
2
3
3
3
l
5.0
5.0
5.0
5.3
K14
N
5
6
10
10
l
4.6
4.0
4.6
4.2
Old adults (501 yr), 111 teeth
Lok
N
2
3
3
3
l
5.6
6.0
5.3
4.7
Sha
N
0
0
0
0
l
*
*
*
*
UID N
0
0
3
3
l
*
*
4.0
3.3
K14
N
1
1
2
2
l
6.0
7.0
5.3
6.8
Mandibular
P2
M1
M2
M3
I1
I2
C
P1
P2
M1
M2
M3
All
24
4.2
22
3.2
11
3.3
24
3.3
28
21.8
24
20.6
14
16.4
28
25.1
25
18.2
20
15.7
14
10.7
25
18.0
17
12.8
17
10.7
4
6.0
22
10.7
15
4.7
20
4.1
8
4.3
15
3.4
19
4.8
18
3.8
11
3.9
22
3.9
21
4.9
22
3.6
11
3.7
26
3.9
23
4.0
22
3.0
9
3.7
29
3.4
23
3.8
22
2.8
13
3.3
29
3.5
28
21.3
24
18.4
17
17.3
27
24.4
28
19.7
25
16.8
15
13.5
24
17.5
21
13.9
19
12.0
11
11.0
15
15.6
353
9.4
333
8.1
169
6.9
376
9.2
5
5.8
4
2.0
3
3.0
2
6.0
8
25.7
4
13.4
5
19.0
2
34.5
6
19.2
4
10.8
4
11.0
2
29.8
4
12.3
4
7.1
1
4.0
2
12.5
4
5.3
3
3.7
3
3.7
0
*
4
4.3
2
3.5
4
3.8
2
7.0
6
5.2
3
3.0
4
3.8
2
7.8
7
4.6
3
2.2
4
3.0
2
6.5
8
4.8
3
2.5
5
3.0
2
6.0
10
24.9
4
14.6
5
17.6
2
38.0
10
23.0
4
11.8
5
12.8
1
36.0
7
16.1
4
7.5
2
10.0
1
16.0
97
10.7
53
5.9
54
7.0
24
16.3
17
3.6
16
3.7
6
3.7
14
3.4
18
21.1
18
23.4
7
17.4
15
26.2
17
17.8
15
17.6
7
13.3
14
18.1
11
12.6
12
12.4
3
6.7
13
12.0
10
4.4
14
4.5
5
4.6
7
3.8
14
5.0
14
4.2
7
3.9
13
4.2
14
4.8
15
4.1
6
4.0
15
4.0
15
3.6
15
3.5
5
4.2
16
3.4
14
3.4
15
3.2
6
3.8
17
3.4
17
19.4
16
20.6
9
21.1
16
24.9
17
17.8
17
19.6
7
18.0
15
20.2
13
12.6
13
14.1
9
11.2
8
17.7
235
8.8
239
9.2
98
7.8
217
9.8
1
1.0
4
1.4
3
2.0
7
1.7
2
7.0
4
9.5
5
8.0
7
13.9
2
5.0
3
7.5
6
4.2
7
9.0
1
4.0
3
4.3
0
*
6
4.3
1
3.0
3
2.3
1
2.0
7
2.6
1
3.0
2
1.5
2
1.8
7
2.4
0
*
3
1.5
2
2.0
7
1.9
2
1.3
3
1.2
1
1.0
8
1.6
2
1.0
3
1.3
4
2.0
8
1.6
2
5.0
4
9.9
5
5.8
7
15.1
2
4.0
4
7.6
5
4.0
8
9.4
0
*
3
4.3
2
4.0
3
5.8
20
2.5
51
3.7
39
3.0
105
4.8
5
2.2
13
3.0
3
2.0
7
3.4
6
14.2
14
20.2
3
12.3
7
23.1
6
10.5
12
15.9
3
9.7
8
18.4
5
4.2
9
11.4
2
4.0
7
12.4
6
3.7
11
3.9
3
4.0
4
4.1
7
3.7
10
3.5
3
3.3
6
3.6
7
3.3
12
3.5
3
3.0
9
3.9
7
2.9
13
2.8
4
3.0
9
3.4
9
2.6
13
2.8
3
3.0
9
3.3
9
17.1
14
19.5
5
16.6
8
22.9
9
13.1
14
16.9
5
14.0
8
18.6
8
6.9
13
12.9
4
10.5
6
14.3
107
5.9
193
8.2
52
5.9
118
9.2
14
4.9
5
5.0
3
5.3
9
4.2
15
26.3
6
28.9
3
22.3
11
30.0
12
23.1
5
20.2
3
15.0
8
21.7
8
17.3
5
13.2
2
8.0
6
13.2
5
5.0
6
5.3
2
5.0
4
4.0
9
5.6
6
5.2
2
5.0
8
5.0
10
5.6
6
5.0
2
5.5
8
4.6
10
4.7
5
4.4
1
6.0
10
4.1
8
5.0
5
4.1
2
4.5
10
4.4
13
25.3
5
22.8
3
23.3
9
28.4
13
24.0
6
24.0
2
19.5
7
23.0
9
18.3
3
15.8
1
8.0
4
18.1
161
11.5
84
10.8
37
9.2
125
11.1
2
5.0
0
*
2
4.0
1
6.0
3
26.3
0
*
3
28.3
3
38.0
3
24.7
0
*
2
25.5
2
33.5
2
21.0
0
*
0
*
3
14.7
2
7.5
0
*
2
5.0
0
*
1
7.5
0
*
4
4.8
1
8.0
3
6.5
0
*
4
4.3
2
7.8
3
5.7
0
*
3
4.7
2
8.0
3
6.7
0
*
4
4.3
2
7.5
3
28.3
0
*
4
28.0
3
38.0
3
31.5
0
*
3
24.3
1
36.0
3
18.7
0
*
4
15.8
2
29.0
42
13.2
0
*
41
12.0
28
16.8
Lok, Lokomotiv (prehiatus); Sha, Shamanka II, (prehiatus); UID, Ust’-Ida I (posthiatus); K14, Khuzhir-Nuge XIV (posthiatus); N,
Number of observable teeth; l 5 Mean attrition score (scores for incisors, canines, and premolars follow the system developed by
Smith [1984] and scores for molars follow that developed by Scott [1979]); *, No data.
a
Number of Individuals Observed: Lok (33), Sha (28), UID (19), K14 (39), Total (119).
American Journal of Physical Anthropology—DOI 10.1002/ajpa
335
DENTAL HEALTH IN SIBERIA’S CIS-BAIKAL
a
TABLE 8. I1 to M1 wear differentials (%)
All individuals
Maxillary
Adolescentsb
Young adultsc
Middle adultsd
Old adultse
Mandibular
Adolescents
Young adults
Middle adults
Old adults
Females
Males
Lok
Sha
UID
K14
Lok
Sha
UID
K14
Lok
Sha
UID
K14
28.6
23.2
19.0
21.3
23.2
18.8
17.3
*
*
24.4
22.4
*
18.7
17.7
15.3
15.8
*
17.6
16.9
*
31.6
20.2
*
*
*
*
17.9
*
*
*
*
*
27.3
25.4
20.8
20.9
*
18.4
17.3
*
*
35.3
25.6
*
20.9
16.8
15.4
*
60.0
21.6
19.7
26.5
23.2
20.0
23.2
*
34.5
24.1
21.5
17.9
17.2
17.9
14.1
*
*
13.8
16.8
25.8
30.6
20.5
*
*
30.8
16.7
20.0
*
*
*
*
*
25.8
27.3
22.2
25.9
*
20.4
23.2
*
*
27.0
22.2
17.4
20.0
17.9
13.1
*
Lok, Lokomotiv (prehiatus); Sha, Shamanka II, (prehiatus); UID, Ust’-Ida I (posthiatus); K14, Khuzhir-Nuge XIV (posthiatus);
*, No data.
a
I1/M1 x 100.
b
Adolescents (12–20 yr).
c
Young adults (20–35 yr).
d
Middle adults (35–50 yr).
e
Old adults (501 yr).
Differences in dental attrition patterning and severity
have been documented among various hunter-gatherer
groups (e.g., Walker, 1978; Richards, 1984; Molnar et al.,
1989), and thus their examination need not be limited to
those populations representing major subsistence shifts
such as that characterizing the transition from foraging
to farming. Nonetheless, the differences in wear patterns
observed here—representing distinctions within each of
the prehiatus Kitoi and posthiatus Serovo–Glaskovo
groups—were somewhat unexpected, with relatively
lower anterior and higher posterior attrition being documented for the two sites located directly on the shores of
Baikal (i.e., prehiatus Shamanka II and posthiatus
Khuzhir-Nuge XIV, Table 8). Heavy anterior tooth wear
is typical of many hunter–gatherers, often reflecting
nonmasticatory use of the incisors and canines (e.g., preparing hides, sinews, or plant fibers; Hillson, 1996:237;
Larsen 1997:255–257). Its lower severity on individuals
from the lake shore sites—coupled with a greater severity of posterior wear—may reflect a decrease in anterior
dental attrition (e.g., lower nonmasticatory use of the
incisors and canines), an increase in posterior attrition
(e.g., mastication of tougher/more fibrous foods or the
introduction of more abrasive particles into the oral cavity), or a combination of both when compared with the
individuals from the Angara River sites. Because dental
attrition patterns in the Cis-Baikal appear to be related
to geographical location rather than cultural affiliation,
it is more likely that the agents responsible were associated with local environmental factors than with cultural
differences such as technological advancements or food
preparation methods. This is particularly true in the
case of the posthiatus Serovo–Glaskovo (i.e., KhuzhirNuge XIV and Ust’-Ida I) who are thought to have exhibited higher interregional travel and, consequently, low
isolation among groups. Unfortunately, because archaeological data in the region are not yet comprehensive
enough to facilitate in depth dietary reconstruction
based on specific geographical location, the reason(s)
behind these differences cannot be determined with any
degree of certainty. However, regardless of our ability to
identify the factors responsible, the Cis-Baikal dental
attrition data demonstrate that variability in wear patterns may exist even within cultural groups thought to
be relatively homogenous.
Dental attrition severity and patterning were also
examined within each site, both among the four age categories and between the sexes, when sample sizes permitted. Analyses indicated a clear trend of increasing
attrition with advancing age at death for all tooth types
(Table 7). Without exception, adolescents exhibited the
lowest attrition scores and old adults—or middle adults,
in the case of Shamanka II—exhibited the highest
scores. This general association between dental wear
and age at death is well-documented and reflects the regressive nature of the condition (Hillson, 1996:239; Aufderheide and Rodrı́guez-Martı́n, 1998: 398). In fact,
attrition severity has often been used to determine relative age at death within particular populations (Miles,
1962, 1963, 1978; Brothwell, 1981, 1989; Molnar et al.,
1983; Richards and Miller, 1991). While attrition severity increased steadily with age, the opposite is true for
I1 to M1 wear differentials, which appear to have
declined (Table 8). At all four sites and for both sexes,
anterior wear generally decreased relative to posterior
wear with advancing age, or conversely, posterior wear
generally increased relative to anterior wear. Thus,
whatever agents may have been responsible for the
apparent geographically-based wear patterns discussed
previously, a universal trend throughout the Cis-Baikal
seems to be one of reducing anterior to posterior dental
attrition with increasing age at death, reflecting decreasing wear on incisors and canines, increasing wear on
premolars and molars, or both.
Because of small female sample sizes, male-female
comparisons of attrition severity were limited to Lokomotiv (all tooth types) and only several tooth types from
Shamanka II and Ust’-Ida I (Table 7). With just two
exceptions (maxillary central incisors [P-value of 0.040]
and second premolars [P-value of 0.007] at Lokomotiv),
no significant sex-related differences in severity were
noted. On the other hand, wear patterns appear to have
differed between the sexes, specifically for the two
Angara river sites of Lokomotiv (prehiatus) and Ust’-Ida
I (posthiatus). Males from these two sites exhibited relatively higher anterior and lower posterior wear compared
to females in the same age categories (Table 8). Unfortunately, for the lake shore sites of Shamanka II (prehiatus) and Khuzhir-Nuge XIV (posthiatus), few and no
female wear differential data were available, respectively,
American Journal of Physical Anthropology—DOI 10.1002/ajpa
336
A.R. LIEVERSE ET AL.
preventing any confident interpretations of sex-related
attrition patterns at these two sites. Differences in male
and female wear patterns have been documented among
other hunter–gatherer groups (e.g., Richards, 1984;
Frayer, 1988; Molnar et al., 1989; Morris, 1992; Reinhard
et al., 1994) and are typically thought to reflect sex-based
distinctions in masticatory load and/or nonmasticatory
practices. As such, there is some evidence to suggest that
males and females in the Cis-Baikal, at least those inhabiting the Angara River basin, engaged in sex-specific
behaviors and/or consumed somewhat distinctive diets. It
is worth reiterating that these observed differences in
sex-based wear patterns do not appear to be culturallyor temporally-delineated, but rather geographicallydefined, adding to our perceptions of adaptation and
cultural change during the mid-Holocene period.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
Enamel hypoplasia frequency data have provided evidence of higher physiological stress among the prehiatus
Kitoi inhabitants of the Cis-Baikal than among their
posthiatus Serovo–Glaskovo successors. These distinctions between the two groups likely reflect the narrower
Kitoi subsistence base—characterized by a geographically-restricted emphasis on aquatic resources—and the
subsequent increase in their susceptibility to stress during periods of limited availability (whether annual or
seasonal). As such, between-site comparisons of enamel
hypoplasia support previous interpretations of considerable differences in the relative breadths of pre- and posthiatus subsistence regimes and point to less effective
adaptive strategies among the former. On the other
hand, within-site comparisons of enamel hypoplasia frequencies suggest both social equality and relatively low
levels of overall stress for all occupants of the Cis-Baikal,
with no significant distinctions being observed between
adults and subadults or between males and females.
Because increased enamel hypoplasia among subadults
has been interpreted in terms of survivorship potential
(e.g., Rose et al., 1978; Cook and Buikstra, 1979; Blakely,
1988; White, 1988; Danforth, 1989; Cook, 1990; Simpson
et al., 1990; Duray, 1996), a lack of significant differences between these two age categories may be indicative
of relatively minor stress events, regardless of comparative frequencies, throughout the mid-Holocene period.
Thus, while enamel hypoplastic data suggest an increase
in physiological stress during the prehiatus period, this increase does not necessarily reflect greater stress severity.
Caries and alveolar defects were rare in the Cis-Baikal
and statistically similar across sites. Sample sizes were
too small for statistical comparisons based on age at
death and sex, but several observations could still be
drawn from the data. While there was no reason to suspect one sex of having a higher predisposition than the
other for either condition, younger adults appear to have
been more commonly affected by carious lesions and
older adults by alveolar defects. In both cases, it is likely
that dental attrition played a role. For caries—the low
prevalence of which attests to a diet high in protein and
low in carbohydrates throughout the mid-Holocene—it is
possible that increasing attrition associated with advancing age obliterated small occlusal lesions among older
adults. For alveolar defects, it is likely that severe attrition, again associated with advancing age, exposed the
dental pulp and facilitated inflammation of many
affected teeth.
Analyses of the other dental health conditions—periodontitis and associated tooth loss, calculus, and dental
attrition—revealed some unexpected results and added
several interesting dimensions to our understanding of
adaptation and cultural change in the mid-Holocene period. Frequencies of periodontitis/AMTL were highest at
the prehiatus site of Shamanka II and lowest at the
other prehiatus site of Lokomotiv, with most significant
differences (for all four sites) being observed on posterior
alveoli. There did not appear to be any sex-based distinctions in the occurrence of these conditions but, at all
four sites, increasing frequencies were clearly associated
with advancing age at death. Dental attrition, also
increasing steadily with age, seems to have played a substantive role in the progression of periodontal disease
and associated tooth loss by allowing chronic interdental
food retention and facilitating plaque formation. However, attrition alone cannot account for the considerably
higher frequencies of periodontitis/AMTL documented at
Shamanka II.
The examination of dental calculus, although limited
to the two newly-excavated (and lake shore) sites of Shamanka II (prehiatus) and Khuzhir-Nuge XIV (posthiatus), was able to provide some insights into the
higher occurrence of periodontitis/AMTL at the former
site: calculus frequencies were significantly greater there
than at Khuzhir-Nuge XIV. Again, frequencies for both
sites appear to have increased with advancing age and
the majority of statistically significant differences were
noted on posterior dentition. While calculus—and the
bacterial plaque adhering to it—is the main pathological
agent responsible for periodontal disease, the etiology
behind calculus formation itself is rather complex,
including dietary, cultural, and environmental factors.
Using periodontitis/AMTL as a rough proxy for dental
calculus frequencies across the Cis-Baikal (in the absence of calculus data from Lokomotiv and Ust’-Ida I), it
seems unlikely that dietary and cultural factors alone
can account for the condition’s considerable variability,
particularly its higher occurrence at Shamanka II.
Rather, it is likely that nondietary factors, such as those
characteristic of local environments and exacerbated by
low Kitoi residential mobility, were at least partially responsible for the higher frequencies of dental calculus
(and thus periodontitis/AMTL) documented at this particular site.
Dental attrition was pronounced in the Cis-Baikal,
with initial dentin exposure typically occurring during
adolescence. While attrition severity was statistically
similar across all four sites, patterning was not. Central
incisor-first molar (I1 to M1) wear differentials, reflecting relative anterior to posterior wear, indicate not only
considerable discrepancies across the region, but also
alliances based on geographical location rather than cultural (or temporal) affiliation. Those sites located on the
shores of Baikal (prehiatus Shamanka II and posthiatus
KhuzhirNuge XIV) exhibited relatively lower anterior
and higher posterior attrition than those situated on the
Angara River (prehiatus Lokomotiv and posthiatus Ust’Ida I). These distinctions demonstrate that variability in
wear patterns may exist even within cultural groups
thought to be relatively homogenous. Attrition patterns
also appear to have differed between the sexes, particularly at the two Angara River sites, with males exhibiting higher anterior and lower posterior wear compared
to females (the same observations could not be made for
the two lake shore sites). As such, attrition data have
American Journal of Physical Anthropology—DOI 10.1002/ajpa
DENTAL HEALTH IN SIBERIA’S CIS-BAIKAL
provided some evidence to suggest that males and
females in the Cis-Baikal, at least those inhabiting the
Angara River basin, engaged in sex-specific behaviors
and/or consumed somewhat different diets. Geographically-distinct wear patterns do not seem to have been
associated with age at death: at all four sites, anterior
attrition generally decreased relative to posterior attrition with advancing age, reflecting reduced wear on incisors and canines, increased wear on premolars and
molars, or both.
Together, these seven dental health conditions have
provided a means not only for better understanding midHolocene lifeways in the Cis-Baikal, but also for independently assessing the relative effectiveness of the
different adaptive strategies employed by pre- and posthiatus peoples. Results reveal some discrepancies between
the prehiatus Kitoi and posthiatus Serovo–Glaskovo,
specifically in their relative vulnerability to physiological
stress, providing evidence to support previous assertions
of their distinct adaptive regimes. Results also suggest
that some of the differences observed among the four
sites may reflect geographical or environmental factors
rather than simply cultural ones. However, despite these
distinctions, the overriding trend seems to be one of general continuity, social equality, and overall good health
among all mid-Holocene occupants of the Cis-Baikal,
pre- and posthiatus alike.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This research is part of a long-term interdisciplinary
project investigating the Middle Holocene prehistory of
Siberia’s Lake Baikal region based at the University of
Alberta, Canada and the Irkutsk State University, Russia (The Baikal Archaeology Project, http://baikal.arts.
ualberta.ca/). The authors are grateful to our Baikal
Archaeology Project colleagues and to all those who participated in the excavation of Khuzhir-Nuge XIV, Ust’Ida I, Lokomotiv, and Shamanka II. Finally, we would
like to thank the three anonymous reviewers for their
helpful comments and suggestions.
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