2007 Volume 115 Issue 1 Pages 47-53
Ante-mortem tooth loss (AMTL) in a medieval Japanese ‘Yuigahama-minami’ population excavated at Kamakura, Kanagawa prefecture, was examined. In the medieval period, Minamoto Yoritomo established the shogunate in Kamakura, and many battles were fought around Kamakura. Human skeletons from the medieval sites in Kamakura are considered to be casualties of these battles. The AMTL ratio in Kamakura medieval skeletons, as reported in previous work, is very low. If these medieval skeletons derive from death in battle, they can be expected to be comparatively younger than those deriving from natural death; and if the ratio of younger skeletons is high, the AMTL ratio would naturally be expected to be comparatively low. The findings of the present study indicate that AMTL ratios in this medieval population, not only in the young, but also in the elderly, were low for the period. A comparison of AMTL ratios in the Yuigahama-minami with the Miwanoyama medieval population in Chiba prefecture indicates that the low AMTL ratio in the former was not a common characteristic of the medieval Japanese, and that there were regional differences in AMTL ratios in the period. Comparisons also show that the ratios of dental caries in both the young and elderly Yuigahama-minami medieval population were lower than among other early Japanese. Not only the AMTL, but also the dental caries ratios of Yuigahama-minami males were significantly lower than those of Yuigahama-minami females, both young and elderly. It therefore appears that Yuigahama-minami males had exceptionally good dental health.