The dentition of the people of Iron Age Non Ban Jak

Masters Thesis


Heap, Natasha J.. 2022. The dentition of the people of Iron Age Non Ban Jak. Masters Thesis Master of Philosophy . James Cook University . https://doi.org/10.25903/n5n7-7238
Title

The dentition of the people of Iron Age Non Ban Jak

TypeMasters Thesis
AuthorsHeap, Natasha J.
SupervisorKate Domett
Nigel Chang
Anna Willis
Institution of OriginJames Cook University
Qualification NameMaster of Philosophy
Number of Pages243
Year2022
PublisherJames Cook University
Place of PublicationAustralia
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.25903/n5n7-7238
Web Address (URL)https://researchonline.jcu.edu.au/77762/1/JCU_77762_Heap_2022_thesis_Embargoed.pdf
Abstract

The Iron Age in mainland Southeast Asia was a time of significant climatic change. It is argued by many that as the climate dried the people changed their subsistence strategy to adapt to the new conditions. The aim of this research is to gain an understanding of the impact of this climatic change on the people of Non Ban Jak and the Upper Mun River Valley region through the lens of dental health.

The current hypothesis is the late Iron Age (1750-1350 BP) saw the health of the people of mainland Southeast Asia deteriorate as the inhabitants of the region experienced
increasing stress due to climate change, the intensification of agriculture and an increase in population. This hypothesis was tested by macroscopic analysis of adult dentition at the late Iron Age site of Non Ban Jak in northeast Thailand for the prevalence of antemortem tooth loss, caries and advanced wear. Over the length of the settlement at Non Ban Jak the dental health of the population improved. The results from Non Ban Jak were compared with other sites in mainland Southeast Asia from the Neolithic (c.3700-3000 BP) through to the Iron Age (2250-1350 BP). It is apparent that there is no one, consistent trajectory in terms of dental health within the region.

During the analysis of the permanent dentition, it was observed that there was a high prevalence of genetically missing teeth, agenesis, in the dentition from the people of Non Ban Jak. The results of the preliminary dental morphological analysis at Non Ban Jak were compared with two closely located Iron Age sites, Noen U-Loke and Ban Non Wat. Non Ban Jak had a high prevalence of dental agenesis, as did Noen U-Loke, however Ban Non Wat had no evidence of this condition. This is suggestive of a closer genetic connection between the settlements of Non Ban Jak and Noen U-Loke.

When considering the genetic and dental health results it is apparent that, aside from an abundance of biological factors, socio-environmental dynamics, such as the length of settlement occupation and the application of different strategies of adaptation, are contributing factors influencing dental health and overall health.

Keywordsbioarchaeology, dental anthropology, climate change, archaeology, mainland Southeast Asia, Iron Age, Thailand
Contains Sensitive ContentDoes not contain sensitive content
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020440103. Biological (physical) anthropology
430199. Archaeology not elsewhere classified
430102. Archaeology of Asia, Africa and the Americas
Public Notes

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Byline AffiliationsJames Cook University
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