Dietary Transition in Late Holocene Eastern North AmericaThe Orofacial Record of Masticatory Function, Nutritional Quality, and Health in Maize Farmers

Bibliographic Collection: 
CARTA-Inspired Publication
Publication Type: Book Chapter
Authors: Larsen, CS
Editors: Lee-Thorp, J; Katzenberg, AM
Year of Publication: 2015
Book Title: The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of Diet
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication Language: eng
ISBN Number: 9780199694013

This chapter presents an overview of the record of reconstructing and interpreting diet from the study of craniofacial morphology and teeth, especially as the orofacial record pertains to masticatory function, nutritional quality, and health. This record is an essential element of the study of diet as it is represented in the archaeological past. Analysis of the orofacial skeleton from eastern North America reveals temporal trends relating to or arising from the introduction and intensification of farming based on plant cultigens, especially maize. These trends are characterized as including (1) reduction of facial robusticity and occlusal surface wear; (2) increase in growth disruption owing to poor-quality nutrition; and (3) increased prevalence of dental caries and related pathology caused by focus on plant carbohydrates.

DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199694013.013.22