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Keywords:

  • ASUDAS;
  • dental pathologies;
  • funerary rite;
  • Iberian Peninsula;
  • ion-richness;
  • Neolithic;
  • non-metric dental traits

Abstract

During the third millennia bc, there is a change in the funerary patterns of the populations in Catalonia. This novelty usually has been usually related to a change in the economical source of the human groups that become less sedentary as the stockbreeding becomes more important. In the present study, we analyse this change, reflected in the mortuary practices, by the study of diet and health markers such as caries, dental calculus or enamel hypoplasias and of biological affinities based on dental non-metric traits. It has been included a total amount of 317 permanent teeth from Cova del Pantà de Foix sites, a sepulchral cave found at the south-west of the city of Barcelona and dates from the third millennia bc. The 74.2% of them present dental calculus deposits, which are usually related to a high protein intake. Nevertheless, the high prevalence of carious lesions (15.3% of the teeth) suggests that the main dietary contribution comes from carbohydrates. Furthermore, when this group is compared with one from the Middle Neolithic Age, which presents a lower calculus prevalence, no biological differences are observed. This lack of differences among these groups denote that the origin of the high amount of calculus deposit is environmental, which is consistent with the elevated observation of hypoplasias of the crown enamel. The absence of dietary, biological and economical differences indicates that the population substrate during the Neolithic in Catalonia is the same and that the transition in the funerary rite is related to a substantial change only regarding to mortuary practices. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.