THE TIMES THURSDAY APRIL 12 2001
dentists may have been using stone drills to treat tooth decay
up to 9,000 years ago, a team of archaeologists has discovered.
at a site in Pakistan have unearthed skulls containing teeth
dotted with tiny, perfectly round holes. Under an electron microscope,
they revealed a pattern of concentric grooves, that were almost
certainly formed by the circular motion of a drill with a stone
discovery, which was made at an archaeological dig in Mehrgarh,
in Baluchistan Province, offers the earliest evidence of human
excavated village belonged to a civilisation that thrived between
8,000and 9,000 years ago, whose members cultivated crops and
made jewellery from shells, amethyst and turquoise.
Cucina, of the University of Missouri-Columbia, who found the
molars with telltale marks, said: At this point we cant
be certain, but it is very tantalising to think they had such
knowledge of health and cavities and medicine to do this.
Cucina, whose research is reported in New Scientist magazine,
said the holes would probably have been filled with some sort
of medicinal herb to treat tooth decay. Any filling would long
ago have decomposed.
dental discovery was made while Dr Cucina was washing teeth
from the Mehrgarhing and spotted the tiny hole in the biting
surface of a molar. The hole was too perfectly round to have
been caused by bacteria and the tooth had been found in a jawbone,
ruling out the possibility that it had been pierced to be strung
on to a necklace.
Top of the hole was rounded from chewing, suggesting that it
was made while the owner was still alive