Dataset of Antemortem Tooth Loss and Carious Lesions at Deir el-Medina

Anne Austin,


These data are from observations on antemortem tooth loss and the presence of carious lesions from the site of Deir el-Medina, Egypt. The data were collected by Anne Austin and Mélie Louys as part of the mission of the Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale at the site during the 2012-14 and 2019-20 field seasons. These data were derived from human remains found in Theban Tombs 6, 217, 290, and 298. They are estimated to date from 1550-945 BCE. These data include macroscopic observations from 32 mandibles and 44 maxillae consisting of 485 observable teeth and 1,052 observable tooth sockets. Any mandibles or maxillae with deciduous dentition present or unerupted permanent dentition are excluded. Estimations of sex are included for each element. Sex estimation is based on cranial and pelvic morphology (Buikstra and Ubelaker, 1994; Walker, 2005). These estimations include the following categories: Unknown, Female – Definitely, Female – Possibly, Ambiguous, Male – Possibly, and Male – Definitely. Given the degree of commingling, however, sex estimates were not always feasible. Isolated mandibles are not assigned sex estimations as the mental eminence alone is not consistently reliable for sex estimation (Lewis and Garvin, 2016). Estimations of age are also provided. Age estimation is based on observations of cranial suture closure (Buikstra and Ubelaker, 1994), the pubic symphysis (Brooks and Suchey, 1990; Todd, 1921a, 1921b), epiphyseal fusion (Scheuer and Black, 2004), and the auricular surface (Buckberry and Chamberlain, 2002) when observable. These estimates are then categorized as unknown, under 20 years old, 20-35 years old, 36-50 years old, and over 50 years old. As mandibles were often found with no articulating crania, many do not have an age and/or sex estimation. All mandibles and maxillae were observed for antemortem tooth loss (AMTL) and the presence of carious lesions. For each element, the number of teeth or tooth sockets showing the absence or presence of AMTL is listed. Tooth sockets were noted as having the presence of AMTL if they showed evidence of partial or full healing. The number of teeth with carious lesions absent or present are also provided for each element. Carious lesions were marked as present only if “a stained, irregular walled cavity is evident from visual inspection” (Steckel et al., 2019, p. 406). All identifications were made without the aid of a microscope or radiographs. This definition excludes precavitated carious lesions (i.e., any detected through discoloration of enamel alone) as well as early pit and fissure caries which can be difficult to distinguish due to morphological variation in molar cusps.