W4 Archaeology in the News Post

Source: New York Times

Title: Old Teeth Tell New Stories About People Who Didn’t Get Enough Sun

Author: Joanna Klein

Archaeologists have found that old teeth of people that have lived hundreds of years ago tell a story as well. They are basically a permanent record of vitamin D deficiency. This can show us challenges that the people who lived back then may have faced. This also shows archaeologists what kinds of environmental conditions these individuals have lived in and what food they would have been eating due to availability. Teeth are also a great way to determine what diseases the individuals may have been dealing with. For example, anthropologists have identified rickets (a disease due to lack of sunlight). Understanding rickets in the past is now able to help aid the study of the health of children today.


This relates to what we have been doing this week in anthropology because we now know we can use teeth to learn more about how the individuals led their daily lives in the past and how they lived their lives. Also we are able to use what we learned from remains from the past in order to help the future. Just like in the lectures, we asked the question “what did they eat?”. Here, we can eliminate foods by seeing if they have a deficiency or not just by looking at the teeth.

2 thoughts on “W4 Archaeology in the News Post

  1. It’s good that we have the technology that we have to identify certain things like rickets. We are able to understand that culture and better and able to investigate why they were put in certain situations. Because most of the time the bodies archaeologist find they died of simple things that if they had the information and technology that we had they could live longer. If they would have avoided certain activities and living styles they could have not had the diseases they encounter. So you had a very interesting find. You can come up with so many conclusions on how the people live and ate from having rickets.

  2. The modern world uses teeth for reasons like identifying bodies, it only makes sense that archaeologists use them for similar purposes. What I find the most impressive is that they are able to use these old teeth to help children of today. That is just awesome. The vitamin D deficiency can also show us how humans faced challenges for their whole lives that many of us just cannot quite understand. The person that the teeth is coming from could never have known that one day their struggles could help others in the future. What would that person think if they got to know that information?

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