Bulletin of the Natural History Museum: Geology


Human Dental Remains from Gough's Cave (Somerset, England)

a1 Department of Anthropology, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-2402, USA


The dental remains of nine individuals from Gough's Cave (Cheddar, Somerset) date from Late Pleistocene to the Holocene. Descriptions are provided for all individuals for crown and root morphology, odontometric data, dental pathology (caries, abscess, periodontal disease, enamel hypoplasia), calculus deposition, enamel pressure chipping, occlusal attrition, and evidence of intentional/occupational modification. The analytical focus is on seven individuals who date from the Late Upper Paleolithic/Mesolithic (Creswellian) culture periods. Comparative data from nine world populations suggest five trends: 1) Gough's Cave individuals have a morphologically simplified dental pattern similar to other Late Pleistocene/Early Holocene populations of North Europe, South/Southwest Asia and North Africa. 2) Within Europe, Gough's Cave is consistent in post-Pleistocene trend towards reduction in tooth size. 3) There is a temporal trend in the British Isles towards lateral incisor reduction, while maintaining stable molar tooth size. 4) Pathology, wear, and enamel pressure chipping are consistent with a hunter/gatherer lifeway, with one individual who may have occupationally related microtrauma. 5) No evidence occurs of any cleaning striations (‘toothpick groves’) as has been suggested for Neanderthals.