The Vikings bare their filed teeth


  • Caroline Arcini

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Archaeological Excavations, National Heritage Board, 226 60 Lund, Sweden
    • Department of Archaeological Excavations, National Heritage Board, Åkergränden 8, 226 60 Lund, Sweden
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Finds of deliberate dental modification have for the first time been found in archaeological human skeletal material from Europe. The type of modification is a horizontally filed furrow on the frontal upper part of the tooth crown. The furrows are single or, more usually, multiple, and are found on the front teeth in the maxilla. The affected individuals are 24 men from the Viking Age (ca. 800–1050 AD), found in present day Sweden and Denmark. The marks are so well-made that it is most likely they were filed by a person of great skill. The reason for, and importance of, the furrows are obscure. The affected individuals may have belonged to a certain occupational group (such as tradesmen), or the furrows could have been pure decoration. Am J Phys Anthropol., 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.