An Artificial Human Tooth from the Neolithic Cemetery at Gebel Ramlah, Egypt

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Joel D. Irish
Przemyslaw Bobrowski
Michal Kobusiewicz
Jacek Kabaciski
Romuald Schild


Excavations at the Gebel Ramlah cemetery, in Upper Egypt’s Western Desert, have provided numerous data concerning mortuary practices of the local Final Neolithic period populace. Previous articles have chronicled treatment of disturbed inhumations, in which great care had been taken to recover and rebury all grave goods and skeletal elements including, most notably, dental remains. In several cases, the Neolithic gravediggers apparently went so far as to reinsert, or to in other ways reincorporate, teeth that had fallen from their alveoli during handling. This report describes and interprets a new find, i.e., an anatomically accurate, life-size shell carving of a human incisor, that provides additional insight into the apparent importance of teeth to these desert people.