Conference paper Open Access
The Neolithic way of life was accompanied with an increase in fertility and increase in other forms of physiological stress (e.g. disease, malnutrition). Evidence of this stress could be seen in tooth cementum. The formation of each incremental line in tooth cementum corresponds to one year of life and is related to calcium metabolism. Lines corresponding to physiological stress events are different in appearance and are referred to as “crisis lines”. Given the changes related to the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition, we would expect to find a difference in the frequency of physiological stress events between the Mesolithic and Neolithic populations due to increased fertility and/or increased presence of pathology and disease. In this paper we present a method for determining and quantifying stressful events and for statistical comparison of the stress event frequency between populations. The method is applied to a sample of Mesolithic (9000 - 6400 calBC) and Neolithic (6200 - 5300 calBC) teeth from the Central Balkans.