No image

Incremental Structures and Wear Patterns of Teeth for Age Assessment of Red Deer

Tina Dudley Furniss-Roe


The ability to age animals accurately is of great importance both to archaeologists and to wildlife managers. Archaeologists are also particularly interested in the ability to determine the season of death of mammals, in order to reach a greater understanding of how man was exploiting or responding to his environment. A number of methods of age determination are available to wildlife managers, who have the advantage of having an entire animal in good condition at their disposal. Archaeologists, however, have more limited resources, and often wish to attempt age, and even seasonality, assessments using only bones and teeth. Teeth survive very well in the ground, and can often reveal information that would otherwise be lost, such as the species, which wereavailable, and whether they were being hunted, scavenged, or farmed. The princAal aim of this research was to examine the scientific basis and methodology of incremental analysis in order to arrive at increased understanding of the British Mesolithic. The approach includes an examination of every aspect of incremental analysis: the scientific basis, the methodology of thin section production, microscopical techniques, and interpretation, in order to obtain the greatest possible amount of information from a rather specialised technique. The species chosen was Red deer, a common animal on archaeological sites in British prehistory.