Bone’s Intrinsic Traits: Age Estimation from Mammalian Dentition

  • Diane Gifford-Gonzalez


This chapter summarizes archaeofaunal methods for estimating age-at-death from teeth. It begins with ageing methods based on dental development features: eruption schedules, cement annuli, and radiological analysis of odontological development, from tooth bud to completely formed tooth. It then describes ageing methods that rely on attrition, or wearing away, of the teeth: occlusal wear-stage analysis and the remnant heights of enamel crowns. It considers taphonomic effects on dentitions of young animals. The chapter comparatively assesses ageing methods in terms of their precision and accuracy, stressing that some imprecision might result from flaws in a method but difficulties with precise age estimation can also arise from the variability inherent to living organisms. The chapter stresses that some research questions can reliably be pursued with age estimates of lower resolution but consistent accuracy.


Age determination Dental eruption Cementum annuli Occlusal wear stages Crown heights 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diane Gifford-Gonzalez
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of CaliforniaSanta CruzUSA

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