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University of São Paulo USP (2013)

Avaliação da prevalência de patologias bucais nos oásis de San Pedro de Atacama

Oliveira, Rodrigo Elias de

Titre : Avaliação da prevalência de patologias bucais nos oásis de San Pedro de Atacama

Evaluation of the prevalence of oral pathologies in San Pedro de Atacama oasis

Auteur : Oliveira, Rodrigo Elias de

Université de soutenance : University of São Paulo USP

Grade : Doctorat 2013

The Atacama Desert in northern Chile, despite the altitude and dryness that characterize it, displays evidence of human presence for at least 13,000 years. San Pedro de Atacama is a very important region of the desert, for the large number of archaeological skeletons that were exhumed and found there and also for the excellent state of preservation in which the excavated material- whether mineral or organic - was found. Independent teams of researchers have collaborated for the past 50 years to the understanding of Atacamenian prehistory, through analysis of the archaeological and the bio anthropological collection, which are now in the custody of the archaeological museum Padre Gustavo Le Paige. The material analyzed in this dissertation is part of the collection of human skulls excavated by Le Paige, a collection now severely reduced due to deficiencies in the process of safekeeping. The oral pathologies of 402 skulls from 13 different archaeological sites of San Pedro de Atacama and Caspana have been analyzed in order to infer the biological quality of life of these populations from the Formative period (350 BC) up to the arrival of the Inca Empire (1470 AD) in the oasis Atacameños. Considering the period of influence of the Tiwanaku Empire in San Pedro as reference, the periods Pre and Post Tiwanaku Tiwanaku were compared with the Tiwanaku period (500-1000 AD) and also with the Caspana site, which was used as an external control. The enhanced networks of exchange during the Tiwanaku period around the whole of the Central Andes have provided the oasis of San Pedro de Atacama greater variety of foods, thereby reducing the reliance this society had on corn. The proof of this is the significant decline in dental caries observed between the pre Tiwanaku and the Tiwanaku periods. During this period, the increase in salivary calculi and periodontal resorption associated to the decrease in dental caries suggests the raise in consumption of protein and minerals by the Atacameños. The subsequent period is marked by a climate change which was responsible for the dismantling of the Tiwanaku state, thus affecting the population of the oasis and forcing it to return to the consumption of corn as the main item in their diet, a fact that is confirmed by the increase in dental caries. The characteristic drought of this period must have driven the Post Tiwanaku Atacamenian society to intensify their food preservation techniques, and that is the most plausible explanation for the also significant raise in salivary calculi. The skulls analyzed from Caspana showed a lower prevalence of dental caries than the ones observed during the Post Tiwanaku period in San Pedro de Atacama, suggesting a distinct livelihood strategy based on a less cariogenic diet. The limited consumption of protein and minerals like calcium and potassium also characterize the food intake of the inhabitants of Caspana, which is confirmed by the low prevalence of salivary calculi and periodontal resorption. The female skulls showed a higher incidence of dental caries, salivary calculus and periodontal resorption, indicating that they had broader access to food, both in quantity and frequency than their male counterparts. Regarding the intentional cranial deformations analyzed here, no signs of nutritional privileges were found on any of the studied groups, whether deformed or not, regardless of the period studied or the type and angle of these deformations.

Mots clés : Antropologia dental Bioarqueologia Deserto de Atacama Paleopatologia Tiwanaku Atacama desert Bioarchaeology Dental anthropology Paleopathology Tiwanaku


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