Neanderthals, trees and dental calculus: New evidence from El Sidrón

Anita Radini, Stephen Buckley, Antonio Rosas, Almudena Estalrrich, Marco De La Rasilla, Karen Hardy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Copyright © Antiquity Publications Ltd, 2016. Analysis of dental calculus is increasingly important in archaeology, although the focus has hitherto been on dietary reconstruction. Non-edible material has, however, recently been extracted from the dental calculus of a Neanderthal population from the 49 000-year-old site of El Sidrón, Spain, in the form of fibre and chemical compounds that indicate conifer wood. Associated dental wear confirms that the teeth were being used for non-dietary activities. These results highlight the importance of dental calculus as a source of wider biographical information, and demonstrate the need to include associated data within research, in particular tooth wear, to maximise this valuable resource.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)290-301
Issue number350
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


  • conifer
  • dental calculus
  • El Sidrón
  • gas chromatography
  • mass spectrometry
  • microscopy
  • Neanderthals
  • Spain
  • wood


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