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Human behaviour and adaptation during a period of social, cultural and environmental change: the dental anthropology of the Fourth Cataract, Sudan

Whiting, Rebecca; (2022) Human behaviour and adaptation during a period of social, cultural and environmental change: the dental anthropology of the Fourth Cataract, Sudan. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

Rescue archaeology from the Fourth Nile Cataract, Sudan, has produced unique geographically focused skeletal collections from a range of sites between the Kerma and Medieval periods. This thesis focuses on how changing environmental, social and cultural pressures and practices may have impacted the behaviour and adaptation of the inhabitants of this area, through examination of dental pathology and dental wear. Specifically, major shifts in the environment, social practices, dietary make-up, technology and agriculture are evident from the archaeological record. This thesis applies changing prevalence of dental caries, periodontal disease, periapical cavities and the pattern and angle of occlusal wear to test how these shifts have affected the inhabitants of the Middle Nile Valley over time. To contextualise results from the Fourth Cataract, comparative regional sites have also been included ranging from the Neolithic to Medieval periods. Detailed and precise recording methods for dental pathology have been used to account for varying levels of preservation in the collections included in this study. Additionally, digital recording of the occlusal surface was chosen to investigate the pattern of dental wear. The data produced, suggest clear differences between the sites and periods, with a significant increase in oral pathological changes over time. Environmental and ecological differences, between the relatively geographically focused Fourth Cataract and the more widely dispersed regional sites are also seen. Data suggest that dietary changes brought about by agricultural intensification, due to the introduction of new irrigation technologies, are most likely to have impacted the oral status of individuals inhabiting these areas. However, increasing aridification and urbanisation as well as social divisions by status and sex appear also to have influenced the prevalence of dental pathology and patterns of dental wear. As oral pathology is still a major health concern in modern populations, the results of this project may impact the understanding of the drivers of dental disease in the past, present and future.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Human behaviour and adaptation during a period of social, cultural and environmental change: the dental anthropology of the Fourth Cataract, Sudan
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2022. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10143459
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