Published December 9, 2019 | Version v1
Journal article Open

Quantifying prehistoric physiological stress using the TCA method: Preliminary results from the Central Balkans

  • 1. BioSense Institute, University of Novi Sad
  • 2. Department for archaeology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade
  • 3. University of Freiburg, Faculty of Medicine, Germany


The Neolithic way of life was accompanied by an increase in various forms of physiological stress (e.g. disease, malnutrition). Here we use the method of tooth cementum annulation (TCA) analysis in order to detect physiological stress that is probably related to calcium metabolism. The TCA method is applied to a sample of teeth from three Mesolithic and five Neolithic individuals from the Central Balkans. The average number of physiological stress episodes is higher in the Neolithic group – but the statistical significance of this result cannot be evaluated due to the small sample size, therefore these results should be taken as preliminary.


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