Dental wear patterns of hunter-gatherers and agriculturalists : the impact of behavioural changes accompanying the transition
Tooth wear can record valuable information on diet, and non-dietary activities in different populations. In this study, assemblages from various behavioural groups are used to test the hypothesis that non-agriculturalists had a characteristic pattern of tooth wear which differs from the pattern of tooth wear of agriculturalists. The current study used an updated method to measure the proportions of dentine exposed in the occlusal wear facet and compared this to approximal wear and occlusal wear plane angle (separately). Assemblages used were from different behavioural groups (non-agriculturalists, transitionals and agriculturalists), environments (inland and coastal) and regions (North America and Levant). The non-agricultural groups were made up of assemblages from Carlston Annis, Ciggerville, El Wad, Indian Knoll and Kebara. The transitional group was from Calhoun County and the agriculturalists were made up of assemblages from Abu Hureyra, Florida Canaveral Peninsula, Hawikuh and Shannon. Results showed that the rate of occlusal wear corresponds greatly with the eruption timing of the dentition, agriculturalists and transitionals had greater approximal wear relative to Ml occlusal wear than non-agriculturalists and non-agriculturalists had a slower rate of change in occlusal facet angle relative to the extent of occlusal wear than the agriculturalists and transitionals.