How did the Qesem Cave people use their teeth? Analysis of dental wear patterns

Rachel Sarig*, Abraham Gopher, Ran Barkai, Jordi Rosell, Ruth Blasco, Gerhard W. Weber, Cinzia Fornai, Tatiana Sella-Tunis, Israel Hershkovitz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dental wear pattern is an important source of information regarding dietary habits, food preparation, and human economic behavior. In the current study we present our preliminary analysis of the dental wear patterns of the Middle Pleistocene (420-200 kya) Qesem Cave teeth. Five types of tooth wear were studied: Occlusal wear, interproximal wear, subvertical grooves, buccal microwear and root striations. We found mild to moderate occlusal wear (stage range 2-4), the largest proximal facet on the M2 medial was 15.3 mm2, presence of three subvertical grooves on the M2 distal surface, a variety of microwear scratches (many are >200 mμ long and >5 mμ wide) and two types of root striations. The data obtained suggests that the Qesem Cave people possessed a strong masticatory system producing massive anterior component of force, and used small flints as food choppers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-147
Number of pages12
JournalQuaternary International
StatePublished - 4 Apr 2016


FundersFunder number
Dan David Foundation
Siegfried Ludwig – Rudolf Slavicek FoundationFA547016
Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness
Marie Curie
European Commission
Generalitat de Catalunya
Seventh Framework Programme


    • Attrition
    • Dental wear
    • Middle Paleolithic
    • Qesem Cave
    • Teeth


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