May 22, 2022

Research into Mesoamerican Dental Inlays

Mesoamericans inlaid teeth with jade, turquoise and pyrite by drilling holes in the teeth, and then applied a sealant to cement the stones in place. More than half of the stones found in these skulls are still intact. How the bond was formed was a mystery. Researchers in Mexico have studied eight teeth found in Maya burial sites. They have found 150 organic molecules that are in plant resins. There are pine tree resins found which can also prevent tooth decay. Salvia plant resins that have anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties have also been found, and mint plants that have anti-inflammatory effect

Co-author of the study, Vera Tiesler, a bioarchaeologist at the Autonomous University of Yucatán, points to Janaab’ Pakal, the Maya king of Palenque, who died in 612 C.E. at the age of 80 with nearly all his teeth and no signs of decay in those that remained—a tribute to the remarkable dental skills of his people.

The research is published in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reportsnone has the report here: