Institute of Archaeology
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First for Archaeology in UK 2015

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Dental Anthropology

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This course give students a detailed introduction to the methodology used in the study of teeth in archaeology and physical anthropology. It provides an anatomical background to the dentition, as well as the histology of dental tissues, morphological variation, changes with age and development, and dental pathology, dealing specifically with the remains of Late Pleistocene and Holocene hominids, concentrating on anatomically modern humans, but including Neanderthals.

Aims of the course

This course is intended to give students a detailed introduction to the methodology used in the study of teeth and jaws in archaeology and physical anthropology, and the main current issues in research. It provides an anatomical background to the dentition, as well as the histology of dental tissues, morphological variation, changes with age and development, and dental pathology. It deals specifically with the remains of Late Pleistocene and Holocene hominids, concentrating on anatomically modern humans, but including Neanderthals . There are no formal pre-requisites for students taking this course.

Objectives

It is intended that this course will provide students with the skills required to plan a research project, under the supervision of a more experienced researcher. With this in mind, when they have successfully completed the course, students should:

  • be able to identify confidently all the elements of human jaws and dentition
  • be able to label the main features of each tooth
  • have an understanding of variation in size and shape of the dentition, and its interpretation in terms of sexual dimorphism, evolution, migration and growth.
  • have an understanding of developmental processes in the formation of the jaws and teeth
  • understand the different types of wear and the way in which they progress with age
  • be able to identify the key microscopic features in the histology of enamel, dentine and cement, and understand the main ways in which they can be used for anthropological research
  • have a good working knowledge of the role of dentition in estimation of age
  • be able to identify and record the most common types of dental pathological lesions and understand the way in which they may be interpreted.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the course students should be able to demonstrate general skills of observation and inference, critical reflection and application of acquired knowledge

Teaching Methods

The course is taught through lectures and practicals. Each week there is a lecture which introduces a topic in the study of the skull and prepares students for the practical session later in the week. Most lectures are based around Powerpoint presentations and these are available on WebCT, which is an online teaching resource that you will be able to access at any time on a password controlled UCL website. Details of this will be given during the first week of the course. Practicals are to teach students the identification skills required, more general understanding of the anatomical structure of the skull, experience of sex and age estimation, measurement and non-metrical variation. Most practicals are supported by worksheets and other handouts which are distributed each week.

  • Code: ARCLG145
  • Credits: 15
  • Coordinator: Simon Hillson
  • Prerequisite: This course does not have a prerequisite although, if you have no previous experience of the skeleton, it would be sensible to ask the advice of the course co-ordinator.
  • Handbook: openĀ»

For registered students

  • Moodle page:openĀ»
  • Turnitin id: 611786
  • Reading list:

Availability: Runs every year

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  • MG145-Medieval-tooth-wear.jpg
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