Art, Food, and Anthropology in Cholula
Today, I would like to showcase the beauty of day-to-day life in Cholula, from the food to the buildings. I walk A LOT – between our apartment, the museum lab, and the marketplace for groceries – and I pass a lot of interesting things.
[Images can be enlarged by clicking on them]
Because I’m all about education, I wanted to give you guys an idea of what we do during burial analysis, so I snapped a couple pictures of the forms we use. There are a total of about 10 forms, but I only have pictures of these four so far.
The first form we fill out (besides the cover page with a summary of our findings) is a skeletal inventory sheet. You record whether each element is missing (dashes), up to 25% present (f), 25-75% present (p), or 75-100% present (c). The letters stand for fragment, partial, and complete.
Immediately after that, we color in a skeleton to show what elements are present This is an easy way for someone to quickly glance at your report and have a basic idea of how complete the individual is.
As you can see, most of these forms say “juvenile” in the upper right hand corner. That is because the forms for adult and juvenile are different. In juveniles, sometimes you have to record deciduous dentition, or the state of the fusion of their bones. How fused certain elements are can give you an excellent idea of the age of a juvenile. So on this page (picture on the left, form 2b), I scored how fused certain bone elements were and used this information to assess age-at-death (see notes section at the bottom of the page). I also used dental wear (mandibular/maxillary attrition).
The last form is one of my least favorite sheets…the dental sheet. You have to record what teeth are present, how developed they are, how worn they are, any pathologies, and certain measurements when possible. I don’t have time to explain all the scoring methods because they are different for each category, but I can quickly explain what some of the terms mean. Caries are cavities. Abcesses occur from infections basically and show up as holes in the bones where pus from the infection drain out. Calculus is plaque buildup. Chipping occurs from eating really hard foods. Periodontitis is basically when the gum is receding from the tooth and the underlying bone becomes porous and thin. Attrition is dental wear – how much the crown gets worn and whether you can see (and how much) the dentin inside. Also, you’ll see that I noted that one of this individual’s teeth is pegged. That means that the growth got impacted and altered the final shape of the tooth. For an incisor, this means that the shape is cylindrical instead of flat (as is normal). And I apologize, I can’t seem to find a decent picture of this phenomenon, but if you want to see a creepy picture of what your mouth looks like before you get your adult teeth in, click here.
We’re supposed to visit downtown Puebla today, I think, so pictures from that excursion will be up soon. Hope everyone is doing well! I do miss the States already!
Until next time – Brianna