Patterns in ritual tooth avulsion at Roonka.

Arthur Durband, Judith Littleton, Keryn Walshe

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Tooth avulsion is the intentional removal of one or more teeth for ritual or aesthetic reasons, or to denote tribal/group affiliation. Typically the maxillary incisors are the teeth most often selected for removal. Previous authors have discussed the presence of tooth avulsions in several individuals recovered from Roonka, but those papers did not examine any patterns in those removals that might be present. Analysis of the tooth avulsions at Roonka revealed at least seven different configurations of incisor removal, including previously undescribed avulsions of some mandibular incisors. The various patterns are spread throughout each of the burial phases at the site. Historical evidence suggests that any particular regional or tribal group would have its own particular pattern of tooth avulsion, so the presence of multiple configurations of tooth avulsions at Roonka suggests that the site was either used by multiple groups of people for burials, or that there was significant cultural
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-485
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Anthropology
StatePublished - Jul 2014


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