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DENTAL INDICATORS OF DIET AND HEALTH FOR THE POSTCLASSIC COASTAL MAYA ON WILD CANE CAY, BELIZE

  • Ryan M. Seidemann (a1) and Heather McKillop (a2)

Abstract

Dental indicators of health and subsistence for Postclassic Maya from the island site of Wild Cane Cay, off the coast of southern Belize, are examined. A total of 213 teeth were recovered from 26 individuals in Fighting Conch Mound. This survey documents dental wear, calculus, alveolar resorption, caries, and alveolar abscesses. This study excludes deciduous teeth. The total sample examined in this study contains 188 teeth from 19 adults. In general, the dental sample indicates a healthier diet than what the inland contemporaries of the Fighting Conch Mound individuals were consuming, as shown by lower rates of several pathologies. The dental data support the interpretation that the healthy diet of the Wild Cane Cay Maya was a function of their island setting in the Caribbean. Plant and animal remains generally corroborate the dental findings.

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Corresponding author

E-mail correspondence to:seidemannr@ag.state.la.us

References

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