Estimating the Age- and Season-of-Death for Wild Equids: a Comparison of Techniques Utilising a Sample from the Late Neolithic Site of Bad Buchau-Dullenried, Germany

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Greenfield, Haskel J ; Moore, N Collin ; Steppan, Karlheinz (2015)
  • Publisher: Ubiquity Press
  • Journal: Open Quaternary (issn: 2055-298X, eissn: 2055-298X)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.5334/oq.ac
  • Subject: Equid | Zooarchaeology | Wild horse | Equid; Wild horse; Archaeology; Zooarchaeology; Archaeozoology; Thin-sectioning; cementum; age-at-death | GN700-890 | GN281-289 | Archaeology; Zooarchaeology; Archaeozoology; Ageing | cementum | Human evolution | Prehistoric archaeology | Paleontology | Archaeology | QE701-760 | Thin-sectioning | age-at-death | Archaeozoology
    mesheuropmc: stomatognathic diseases | stomatognathic system

In this paper, various techniques for determining the age- and season-of-death of wild horse specimens are systematically compared using a sample derived from the Neolithic site of Bad Buchau-Dullenried, Germany. Tooth eruption and wear, crown height, manual optical analysis of dental cementum, line histogram analysis of dental cementum, and a new automated digital technique for analysing dental cementum are employed. Each tooth was measured, thin-sectioned, digitally photographed under microscopy, and the cementum layers analysed. The goal is to determine which technique is the most efficient (in terms of time and resources) and accuracy (in terms of age- and season-of-death) for analysts to employ. The data demonstrate that there is substantial variation between the techniques for determining the age- and season-of-death of individuals, and even between teeth of the same specimen. The results demonstrate that the digital automated technique has an advantage over conventional cementum increment counting in terms of reduced subjectivity, efficiency and accuracy for the identification of season- and age-of-death.
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