The use of dental criteria for estimating postnatal survival in skeletal remains of infants

Patricia Smith*, Gal Avishai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations

Abstract

Separate cemeteries and/or burial loci for infants have been variously interpreted as reflecting segregation by age, infanticide or even child sacrifice. Attempts to distinguish between these factors rely primarily on the age distribution found. Currently long bone length is the most commonly used method for fetuses and infants in the perinatal period, but its accuracy is affected by the inherent variation in size for age. We show here how to distinguish between death in the perinatal period and that occurring later in infancy through identification of the neonatal line in ground sections of deciduous teeth. The methodology is reviewed and applied to validate estimations of postnatal survival for infant remains recovered from two archaeological sites in Israel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-89
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Volume32
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2005
Externally publishedYes

Funding

FundersFunder number
Leon Levy Foundation
Israel Science Foundation032-5302

    Keywords

    • Age estimation in infants
    • Ashqelon
    • Dental development
    • Dor
    • Infanticide
    • Neonatal line
    • Postnatal survival

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