Publication details

Buccal dental microwear as a dietary indicator in the Iron age human population from Son Real, Spain



Year of publication 2006
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Anthropologie : [international journal of the science of man]
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Field Archaeology, anthropology, ethnology
Keywords Buccal microwear – Scanning electron microscopy – Hunter-gatherers – Agriculturalists – Diet – Talayotic culture – Balearic Islands
Description Dental microwear has been studied in a sample of 26 individuals from Son Real, Mallorca (Spain). These individuals fall into the Iron Age; this is well recognized as Talayotic culture in Balearic Islands periodization (7th to 6th century BC). Moulds of their molars and premolars were made and observed at 100x magnification in secondary electrons mode of scanning electron microscopy. The length, orientation and density of these striations have been analyzed with the image analysis software SigmaScan Pro 5.0. Results obtained from this sample were compared with previous studies from various modern hunter-gatherers, pastoralists, and agriculturists with different diets (Inuits, Fueguians, Bushmen, Australian Aborigines, Andamanese, Indians from Vancouver, Veddahs, Tasmanians, Lapps, and Hindus) (Lalueza et al. 1996). The buccal microwear pattern in Son Real shows similarities with Bushmen, Tasmanians, and Veddahs, both from tropical and arid climates. The reconstruction of the dietary strategy of the Son Real population suggests that they were heavily depending on abrasive plant foods, with a reduced amount of meat intake; a significant difference in food gaining and processing by gender has been deduced as well.
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