Published August 31, 2017 | Version v1
Conference paper Open

Exploring the demographic aspects of the Mesolithic - Neolithic transition in Central Balkans via tooth cementum analysis: preliminary results

  • 1. BioSense Institute, University of Novi Sad
  • 2. Laboratory for Bioarchaeology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade
  • 3. BioSense Institute, University of Novi Sad; Laboratory for Bioarchaeology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade


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.


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BIRTH – Births, mothers and babies: prehistoric fertility in the Balkans between 10000 – 5000 BC 640557
European Commission