Ancient Maya Teeth: Dental Modification, Cosmology, and Social Identity in Mesoamerica (Hardcover)

Ancient Maya Teeth: Dental Modification, Cosmology, and Social Identity in Mesoamerica By Vera Tiesler Cover Image

Ancient Maya Teeth: Dental Modification, Cosmology, and Social Identity in Mesoamerica (Hardcover)

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A study of Maya dental modification from archaeological sites spanning three millennia.

Dental modification was common across ancient societies, but perhaps none were more avid practitioners than the Maya. They filed their teeth flat or pointy, polished and drilled them, and crafted decorative inlays of jade and pyrite. Unusually, Maya of all social classes, ages, and professions engaged in dental modification. What did it mean to them?

Ancient Maya Teeth is the most comprehensive study of Maya dental modification ever published, based on thousands of teeth recovered from 130 sites spanning three millennia. Esteemed archaeologist Vera Tiesler sifts the evidence, much of it gathered with her own hands and illustrated here with more than a hundred photographs. Exploring the underlying theory and practice of dental modification, Tiesler raises key questions. How did modifications vary across the individual’s lifespan? What tools were used? How did the Maya deal with pain—and malpractice? How did they keep their dentitions healthy, functioning, and beautiful? What were the relationships among gender, social identity, and particular dental-modification choices? Addressing these and other issues, Ancient Maya Teeth reveals how dental-modification customs shifted over the centuries, indexing other significant developments in Mayan cultural history.

Vera Tiesler is a leading bioarchaeologist and a research professor at the Autonomous University of Yucatán, where she heads the Laboratory of Bioarchaeology. She is the author of The Bioarchaeology of Artificial Cranial Modifications: New Approaches to Head Shaping and its Meanings in Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica and Beyond.

Product Details ISBN: 9781477327579
ISBN-10: 1477327576
Publisher: University of Texas Press
Publication Date: September 17th, 2024
Pages: 256
Language: English