Developmental defects and postmortem changes in archaeological pig teeth from Fais Island, Micronesia

Horst Kierdorf, Uwe Kierdorf, Carsten Witzel, Michiko Intoh, Keith Dobney

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14 Citations (Scopus)


The study investigated developmental defects of the dental hard tissues and postmortem changes in archaeological pig molars from Fais Island, Micronesia. The developmental defects of enamel were indicative of a disturbance of the secretory stage (accentuation of the incremental pattern, occurrence of Wilson bands and of hypoplastic defects) and the maturation stage of amelogenesis (hypomineralisation). Presence of coronal cementum in an M-3 indicated a partial premature breakdown of the reduced enamel epithelium or a partial demise of the enamel organ earlier during tooth development. Developmental defects of dentine presented as accentuated Andresen lines and areas of interglobular dentine. The pattern of developmental defects in the studied molars and the fact that deciduous premolars of the pigs from Fais did not exhibit developmental defects on macroscopic inspection are consistent with the hypothesis that the tooth defects were caused by periods of severe nutritional Stress occurring after weaning. Postmortem changes caused by microbial infiltration were recorded in dentine and cementum. A presumed case Of Soft tissue preservation in the form of presence of odontoblast processes was observed in an M-1.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1637-1646
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009


  • coronal cementum
  • domestic pig
  • enamel hypoplasia
  • interglobular dentine
  • nutritional stress
  • taphonomy
  • linear enamel hypoplasia
  • fluorosed dental enamel
  • sus-scrofa L.
  • coronal cementogenesis
  • bone
  • adult animals
  • rat molars
  • fluoride
  • cementum


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