John C. Willman, in collaboration with researchers from the Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, and University of Granada, published a new article Argaric craftswomen: Sex-based division of labor in the Bronze Age southeastern Iberia.
The authors used SEM to identify extramasticatory dental wear at a Bronze Age site and identified the use of teeth for thread and cordages preparation for textile and basketry production in five females. The complete work is available HERE (in press) in the Journal of Archaeological Science.
The macroscopic and microscopic analyses of teeth from the Castellón Alto individuals belonging to El Argar culture (Southeastern Iberia), dated from Bronze Age, were carried out to identify non-alimentary uses of teeth and the tasks associated with the use of teeth as tools. Macroscopically, we identify 5 out of 106 individuals showing atypical dental features compatible with non-alimentary tooth use. The teeth of these individuals were analyzed in depth with scanning electron microscopy to identify non-alimentary dental features. Evidence of non-alimentary uses of teeth such as enamel chipping, notches, occlusal, and interproximal grooves were recorded from five individuals. One of the most outstanding results is that only 5 females of 106 total individuals showed the use of teeth as tools. The dental wear features of these five individuals indicate the use of teeth as tools to carry out some tasks related to thread and cordages preparation for textile and/or basketry production, suggesting not only occupational specialization but also sex-based division of labor in the Bronze Age of Southeastern Iberia.