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Neolithic tooth drilling procedure

Neolithic tooth drilling procedure

E439/0106

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Credit

R. MACCHIARELLI / EURELIOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY R. MACCHIARELLI / EURELIOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Neolithic tooth drilling procedure. Reconstructing the technique employed approximately 9000 years ago of boring holes in teeth using a flint-tipped bow drill to alleviate pain. Holes identical to those produced here were found in 11 teeth discovered at the farming site of Mehrgarh, Pakistan. They belonged to nine adult residents and are of special anthropological importance because they are the earliest known examples of dental work. The teeth contain minute holes and subsequent smoothing by chewing proving that the work was carried out while they were still alive. Analyses under an electron microscope indicate that small scalpel-like stone blades were used to complete the work. Photographed at the University of Poitiers, France.

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