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A Case of Surgical Extraction of the Lower Third Molars in a Cranial Series from the Pucará de Tilcara Fortress (Jujuy Province, Argentina)

https://doi.org/10.17746/1563-0110.2020.48.2.149-156

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Abstract

This study analyzes the earliest known case of surgical extraction of the lower third molars, observed in a cranial series from Pucará de Tilcara fortress (15th–16th centuries AD), northwestern Argentina, excavated in 1908–1910. Crania were transported to the Kunstkamera in 1910 under an exchange project. Traces of dental surgery were registered in the mandible of a male aged ~40. Both third molars had been extracted after the removal of soft tissues and parts of the alveoli. Teeth were extracted by scraping alveolar walls with semicircular movements. The results of scanning electron microscopy, X-ray fluorescence, and X-ray microanalysis suggest that a stone tool was used. The results of macroscopic and CT analysis suggest that the surgery was motivated by the exacerbation of chronic periodontal disease and probably by caries. The left third molar was extracted without complications 2–3 months before the individual’s death. On the right side, the pathological process continued, culminating in osteomyelitis and its complications. The surgeon’s skill notwithstanding, the extraction of the right third molar did not cure the patient, who died, apparently following the destructive stage of acute osteomyelitis complicated by orofacial phlegmon. Our findings suggest that the level of dental surgery practiced in the Inca Empire was ahead of the diagnostic expertise.

About the Authors

A. V. Zubova
Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera), Russian Academy of Sciences
Russian Federation
Universitetskaya nab. 3, St. Petersburg, 199034


O. L. Pikhur
St. Petersburg Institute of Bioregulation and Gerontology; Kursk State Medical University
Russian Federation
Pr. Dinamo 3, St. Petersburg, 197110
K. Marksa 3, Kursk, 305041


A. V. Obodovskiy
St. Petersburg Electrotechnical University “LETI”
Russian Federation
Professora Popova 5, St. Petersburg, 197022


A. A. Malyutina
Institute for the History of Material Culture, Russian Academy of Sciences
Russian Federation
Dvortsovaya nab. 18, St. Petersburg, 191186


L. M. Dmitrenko
Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera), Russian Academy of Sciences
Russian Federation
Universitetskaya nab. 3, St. Petersburg, 199034


K. S. Chugunova
State Hermitage Museum
Russian Federation
Dvortsovaya nab. 34, St. Petersburg, 191181


D. V. Pozdnyakov
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences
Russian Federation
Pr. Akademika Lavrentieva 17, Novosibirsk, 630090


V. B. Bessonov
St. Petersburg Electrotechnical University “LETI”
Russian Federation
Professora Popova 5, St. Petersburg, 197022


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For citation:


Zubova A.V., Pikhur O.L., Obodovskiy A.V., Malyutina A.A., Dmitrenko L.M., Chugunova K.S., Pozdnyakov D.V., Bessonov V.B. A Case of Surgical Extraction of the Lower Third Molars in a Cranial Series from the Pucará de Tilcara Fortress (Jujuy Province, Argentina). Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia. 2020;48(2):149-156. https://doi.org/10.17746/1563-0110.2020.48.2.149-156

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ISSN 1563-0110 (Print)