Prehistoric Уfish-eatersФ along the eastern Arabian coasts Dental variation morphology and oral health in the Ra's al-Hamra community (Qurum Sultanate of Oman 5thЦ4th millennia BC).код для вставкиСкачать
AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY 78:575-594 (1989) Prehistoric “Fish-Eaters” Along the Eastern Arabian Coasts: Dental Variation, Morphology, and Oral Health in the Ra’s al-Hamra Community (Qurum, Sultanate of Oman, 5th-4th Millennia BC) ROBERTO MACCHIARELLI Soprintendenza Speciale aE Muse0 Nazionale PreistoricefZtnografio. ‘‘L Pigorini” - Sezione di Antropologia, 00144 Rome, Italy KEY WORDS Hamra Dental anthropology, Prehistoric Arabia, Ra’s al- ABSTRACT The Ra’s al-Hamra prehistoric fishermen lived in isolation on the Qurum rocky promontorium in Oman during the 5th-4th millennia BC. To date, they represent the most ancient and numerous human fossil group excavated from the Arabian peninsula. Like other contemporaneous archaeologically documented small communities along the desert Arabian coasts, they intensively exploited ocean resources and collected molluscs from nearby mangrove swamps. The present study analyzes aspects of dental anthropology (including crown variation, morphology, dental wear, and oral health), in 600 permanent teeth from 49 individuals of both sexes excavated at the Mesolithic RH5-site by the Italian Archaeological Mission in Oman from 1981 to 1985. In association with a general low degree of morphometric variation, the Ra’s alHamra dental crowns show low sexual dimorphism and are consistently reduced in size. These features are unexpected in a preagricultural population, especially when these data are compared to other eastern African and near Middle Eastern prehistoric populations. These data are discussed within the general context of human dental structural reduction occurring during the post-Pleistocene and are interpreted according to the “increasing population density effect” model. There are other significant differences that characterize the Ra’s al-Hamra dentitions with respect to both eastern and western prehistoric human groups. The frequency of numerous nonmetric crown traits supports the hypothesis that a microdifferentiation phenomenon occurred in this marginal area. The preliminary skeletal analysis and the palaeodemographic profile show that the Omani prehistoric fishermen were affected by genetic isolation and inbreeding as well as strong environmental stress. Because of the grit assimilated with dried fish and the high shellfish consumption, dental wear was extreme in all age groups a t Ra’s al-Hamra and occasionally was responsible for serious hematogenously spread infections. In spite of the great anthropological importance of ancient Arabian populations, very few studies on skeletal and dental samples have been completed. The present paper offers a n odontological data set for future comparative research in the area. The first historical records of fishing and quering the sea joining the great centers of mollusc-gathering communities dispersed eastern civilization (Biagi et al., 1984). Howalong the desert coasts encircling the Ery- ever, Middle Eastern prehistoric archaeology threan sea come from Herodotus. Since pre- has traditionally paid little (or no) attention historic times, though, the “fish-eaters” to those regions and cultures not primarily experimented with new alternative adaptive strategies and had a n important role in conReceived July 10,1987; accepted June 13,1988. 0 1989 ALAN R. LISS. INC. 576 R. MACCHIARELLI involved in the early development of agriculture. The Arabian coasts have been completely ignored, although these have been strategically relevant at least since the 4th milliennium BC. In his recent review on prehistoric Arabia, Tosi (1986) rightly noted that predesert steppe exploitation, like maritime and mountain adaptations, has remained strongly underestimated. As a result, a n area of subcontinental magnitude like Arabia was put in the role of a passive recipient. Unfortunately, studies on occasional skeletal series following the so-called “racial analytic paradigm” (Lukacs, 1983a) failed to draw out possible relationships with either Arabian historical-archaeological or environmental variables. Our knowledge a t the regional level has remained inadequate. On the other hand, the archaeological and anthropological investigations in the Mediterranean Levant demonstrate what a more solidly based research program could provide (Bar-Yosef, 1980). It was with such a n aim that a research program on early maritime adaptations was begun for northern Oman (IsMEO Activities, 1981; Tosi, 1975, 1986). This study took part within a more general program on the relevance of prehistoric nonfarming economies in the formative process of Asian civilizations (Tosi, 1983). The research was conducted by the Istituto Universitario Orientale of Naples, the Istituto Italian0 per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente (IsMEO) of Rome, the Centro Studi e Ricerche Ligabue of Venice, and the Department of Antiquities of the Ministry of National Heritage and Culture of the Sultanate of Oman. An important prehistoric deposit at Qurum (Muscat), on the Ra’s al-Hamra rocky promontorium, was soon discovered (Durante and Tosi, 1977). Systematic excavations of the aceramic settlement (Biagi and Nisbet, 1986) and the graveyard at the RH5 site (Biagi and Salvatori, 1986; Coppa et al., 1985)began in 1981. The graveyard has been radiocarbon dated to the 5th-4th millennia BC (Biagi et al., 1984). The area called Ra’s al-Hamra is a triangular zone of blackish earth, very apt as a fishermen’s site. It sits in proximal control of three ecosystems, which were intensively exploited by the prehistoric community: the shallow coastal waters, the tidal flats, and the mangrove swamps (IsMEO Activities, 1981). The RH5 cemetery area lies in the eastern part of the archaeological deposit and is characterized by a fairly compact bed containing fish remains, shells, and crushed stones as well as chipped stone tools and periodotite pebbles used as hammers or side-notched weights for nets (Coppa et al., 1985; IsMEO Activities, 1982). Because the site is exposed to strong erosion, and because of the peculiar spatial disposition of numerous individual and collective secondary graves, the human remains (occasionally fired) were not well preserved. Despite these diEculties (Coppa et al., 1985; Danubio and Coppa, 1984; Grilletto, 1982; Macchiarelli and Coppa, 19831, preliminary studies were made on the dental remains of the sample, which is the most numerous and ancient collection from the Arabian peninsula (Macchiarelli, 1984, 1985; Macchiarelli and Frohlich, 1986). Furthermore, early results of the systematic anthropological field work suggested the following hypotheses: 1)the community suffered a possibly marked genetic isiolation; 2) the population was strongly stressed by multiple environmental factors; 3) since “death is the ultimate measure of maladaptation in biological populations” (Armelagos et al., 1981), it is reasonable to postulate that the community suffered a n unsuccessful adaptation, possibly a n inadequate compensation of the “profits” and “disadvantages” intimately related to a prehistoric sedentary coastal life. In this context, the main aim of the present study is to contribute, by means of dental anthropology, to the interpretation of the biological history of the Ra’s al-Hamra community. At the same time, a data set is provided for future comparative research. MATERIALS AND METHODS The data set is composed of 600 permanent teeth, belonging to 20 males (n = 311), 17 females (n = 216), and 12 individuals of unknown sex (n = 73). Preliminarily, sex and age attributions were performed in situ, during three field campaigns and reevaluated in the laboratory after accurate restoration (Macchiarelli and Coppa, 1983). Sex determination criteria basically followed Acsadi and Nemeskeri (1970). Whenever possible, the “M’ sexualization coefficient was also calculated using the morphological characteristics of the skull, the mandible, and the innominate bones. The ages a t death were assessed by the “combined method” (Nemes- PREHISTORIC DENTAL ANALYSIS FROM R A S AL-HAMRA keri et al., 19601, which was integrated with the recommendations of Ferembach et al. (1979) and corroborated by radiographic evaluation of the spongy and cortical bone changes in the available proximal humeral and femoral heads. Mesiodistal (M-D) and buccolingual (B-L) crown diameters were measured by a vernier caliper to the nearest 0.1 mm according to Goose (1963). For comparative purposes, crown areas were also calculated to approximate chewing surface (Garn et al., 1977).Percent sexual dimorphism was determined according to Perzigian (1976), and dental asymmetry (“d” values) in each available pair of antimeres was also estimated (Garn et al., 1966b). Because of the heavy wear affecting the crowns, a limited set of nonmetric traits was recorded, following Scott and Dahlberg (1982) and Scott and coworkers (1983).To reduce the likelihood of misclassifications, all the variables, with the exception of cusp number and groove pattern, were dischotomized and the results considered in combined sexes (Coppa and Macchiarelli, 1982). The form of the occlusal surfaces of all the teeth and degree of wear of incisors, canines, and premolars were investigated using the standardizations proposed by Molnar (1971); wear rates in molars were assessed by Scott’s technique (1979). In fact, the division of the surface into four separately interpreted quadrants, using a n ordinal scale ranging from 1 to 10, seems to provide information concerning the various tooth regions that is both synthetic and analytical (Macchiarelli and Salvadei, 1985). RESULTS Metric traits Descriptive statistics, including sample size (N), mean values (X), standard deviations (s.d.1, and coefficients of variation (c.v.) of crown diameters (M-D and B-L) and dental areas are presented in Tables 1 and 2 for males and females, respectively. On the whole, the sample is characterized by a low range of variation, harmonically distributed in both the upper and lower arches, as indicated by a great homogeneity within sexes of the average C.V.values. Females appear more variable than males in 62.50% of the linear dimensions and in 68.75% of the areas. With regard to a n expected gradient of variation, females more frequently and consistenly show a “mosaic pattern,” especially in upper 577 B-L breadths, with anchor teeth (Dahlberg, 1945) less stable than distal teeth. Sample size and errors from the strong wear certainly could be considered as responsible for local anomalies in the variability distribution. However, the greater deviation with respect to the “field” and a notably greater variation of the teeth systematically observed in females have to be considered. According to Garn and coworkers (1968), a slightly greater metric variation is a common feature in females, but, in the present sample, statistically significant differences between the sexes, according to the F test of the variances, were recorded for upper M2 (F = 3.74) and lower P4 (F = 3.12) B = L diamters. Moreover, other diameters, such as MD in both the mandibular incisors and B-L in lower P4, show remarkable differences in the C.V.values. Table 3 refers to the total sample available, including the unsexed specimens. When combined sexes were considered, anomalies persist in the variability distribution by morphological class. In the upper dentition, the central incisor is constantly more stable than the lateral, but this does not occur in premolars and the last two molars for B-L breadth and areas. The first molar is the least variable tooth, and the canine, suprisingly, shows a higher variability than M3 in B-L diameter. In the lower dentition, the mean C.V.values perfectly overlap those of the upper dentition, but again discrepancies are evident. In fact, the lateral incisor anchor tooth is always more variable than 11, while P3 is more stable than P4. With the last two molars, anomalies exist for M-D diameter and areas. Both upper P3 diameters exceed P4 values in males; this occurs in females for the length only. In the lower dentition, P4 is systematically larger than P3. A clear progressive size reduction in M-D direction can be observed in molars. Females have higher values than males in both upper M3 diameters as well as in lower B-L breadth. Size differences between sexes were subjected to a t test for the means. Only comparisons allowing the hypothesis of equality of the variances were taken into consideration. In utilizing M-D lengths, B-L breadths, and dental areas as variables, 11 of 23 comparisons considered for upper teeth showed significant differences at least at the 0.05 level for mean dimensions. They include two M-D diameters (I1 and Ml), four B-L breadths (11, P3 P4 M1 M2 M3 C I2 Maxillary I1 I2 C P3 P4 M1 M2 M3 Mandibular I1 8.28 6.76 7.62 6.86 6.70 10.52 9.64 8.48 5.17 5.72 6.93 6.72 6.91 10.97 10.70 9.86 4 10 12 18 17 19 22 20 0.15 0.27 0.37 0.28 0.45 0.40 0.74 0.68 0.38 0.54 0.49 0.29 0.45 0.35 0.58 0.54 M-D diameter s.d. x 12 17 17 15 14 16 20 12 N 2.90 4.72 5.34 4.17 6.51 3.65 6.92 6.90 4.59 7.99 6.43 4.23 6.72 3.33 6.02 6.37 C.V. 14 16 14 18 16 17 22 20 12 17 20 15 14 14 20 14 N 6.23 6.49 7.90 7.64 8.06 11.15 10.57 9.69 7.28 6.42 8.27 9.13 9.11 11.67 11.56 9.89 x 0.28 0.31 0.49 0.39 0.47 0.53 0.59 0.59 0.39 0.34 0.58 0.41 0.53 0.39 0.61 0.71 B-L diameter s.d. 4.49 4.78 6.20 5.10 5.83 4.75 5.58 6.09 5.36 5.30 7.01 4.49 5.82 3.34 5.28 7.18 C.V. 4 10 11 18 15 17 22 20 12 17 17 15 14 14 20 12 N 32.22 37.29 55.42 51.42 56.00 122.10 113.47 95.84 9.58 11.21 11.55 7.09 10.01 5.54 9.29 6.88 3.41 9.55 10.81 7.54 11.52 7.12 11.63 11.52 1.10 3.56 5.99 3.88 6.45 8.69 13.20 11.04 C.V. 5.79 4.87 7.38 4.44 6.19 6.82 10.37 5.87 Dental areas s.d. 60.44 43.44 63.89 62.65 61.14 23.09 11.63 85.33 x TABLE 1. Descriptive statistics of mesio-distal (M-D) and bucco-lingual (B-L)diameters and dental areas in maxillary (upper) and mandibular (lower) teeth, in males. The values are in millimeters for the diameters and in sauare millimeters for the areas P4 M1 M2 M3 C P3 P4 M1 M2 M3 Maxillary I1 I2 15 16 14 6 9 8 17 15 15 13 16 4 N 0.50 0.38 0.44 0.41 0.31 0.36 0 86 0.92 0.38 0.54 0.37 0.30 0.38 0.59 0.49 0.53 7.98 6.11 7.43 6.76 6.67 10.21 9.60 9.17 5.15 5.54 6.27 6.51 6.63 10.60 10.08 9.73 X M-D diameter s.d. 9 8 18 15 15 14 16 4 13 10 8 9 15 15 14 6 7.38 9.75 5.90 4.61 5.73 5.57 4.86 5.45 N 6.27 6.22 5.92 6.06 4.65 3.53 8.96 10.03 C.V. 5.90 6.25 7.11 7.33 7.75 10.43 10.03 9.75 6.90 6.02 8.09 8.59 8.82 1130 10.27 10.27 t 0.25 0.36 0.60 0.43 0.83 0.48 0.58 0.87 0.36 0.34 0.52 0.51 0.49 0.45 1.18 0.22 B-L diameter s.d. 5.78 8.92 4.60 4.24 5.76 8.44 5.87 10.71 5.22 5.65 6.43 5.94 5.56 3.98 11.49 2.14 C.V. 11 9 8 9 15 14 14 6 7 8 17 15 15 12 15 4 N 30.48 34.01 44.42 47.83 51.52 110.05 101.25 95.27 2.96 2.65 6.35 4.79 7.29 9.38 9.79 13.32 6.01 4.05 6.46 6.59 ._ _ 5.37 7.77 11.73 10.96 Dental areas s.d. 54.61 36.89 60.41 58.24 58 89 115.63 97.50 94.39 t 9.71 7.79 14.29 10.01 14.15 8.52 9.67 13.98 11.00 10.98 10.69 11 _ _ 31 __ 9.12 6.72 12.03 11.61 C.V. TABLE 2. Descriptive statistics of mesio-distal (M-D) and bucco-lingual (B-L) diameters and dental areas in maxillary (upper) and mandibular (lower) teeth, in females. The values are i n millimeters for the diameters and i n square millimeters for the areas Maxillary I1 I2 C P3 P4 M1 M2 M3 Mandibular I1 I2 C P3 P4 M1 M2 M3 8.10 6.51 7.57 6.81 6.65 10.39 9.60 8.73 5.24 5.71 6.67 6.63 6.80 10.77 10.43 9.78 19 24 26 31 37 41 40 29 26 28 44 35 34 35 41 21 31 30 26 31 36 38 40 29 6.49 7.53 6.90 4.37 6.03 5.66 6.52 6.34 0.34 0.43 0.46 0.29 0.41 0.50 0.68 0.62 N 5.18 8.60 5.94 4.85 5.41 3.37 6.98 7.56 C.V. 0.42 0.56 0.45 0.33 0.36 0.35 0.67 0.66 M-D diameter x s.d. 26 28 40 35 34 36 41 19 N 6.07 6.36 7.63 7.52 7.90 10.78 10.37 9.67 7.06 6.26 8.22 8.83 8.91 11.39 10.93 10.00 5.67 5.91 6.45 5.78 5.61 4.13 9.51 6.00 4.78 5.19 7.86 5.32 8.10 5.66 5.79 6.41 0.29 0.33 0.60 0.40 0.64 0.61 0.60 0.62 C.V. 0.40 0.37 0.53 0.51 0.50 0.47 1.04 0.60 B-L diameter t s.d. 19 23 23 31 35 37 40 29 24 28 40 35 34 33 40 19 N 31.56 36.04 51.17 49.95 53.86 115.89 108.50 94.98 2.69 3.26 7.49 4.23 6.74 10.09 12.61 10.92 6.06 5.38 6.77 5.66 5.57 7.79 12.15 7.68 Dental areas s.d. 57.35 40.88 62.72 60.26 59.39 118.61 105.18 88.43 t 8.52 9.04 14.64 8.47 12.51 8.71 11.62 11.50 10.57 13.16 10.79 9.39 9.38 6.57 11.55 8.68 C.V. TABLE 3. Descriptive statistics of mesivdistal (M-D) and buccwlingual W L ) diameters and dental areas in maxillary (upper) and mandibular (lower) teeth, in the total sample. The values are in millimeters for the diameters and in square millimeters for the areas 581 PREHISTORIC DENTAL ANALYSIS FROM RA’S AL-HAMRA TABLE 4. Percentage of sexual dimorphism in maxillary (left) and mandibular (right) teeth M-D I1 I2 C P3 P4 M1 M1 + 3.62 + 9.61 + 2.49 + 0.45 + 2.95 + 0.41 + 1.46 M3 - 8.14 s + 1.61 Maxillary B-L + + + + + + + - + 5.22 6.23 2.18 5.91 3.18 3.17 11.16 3.84 4.15 Area + 9.65 + 15.08 + 5.45 + 7.04 + 3.68 + 6.06 + 12.66 - 10.62 + 6.12 12, P3, and Ml), and five areas (12, P3, M1, M2, and M3). In the lower dentition, three M-D diameters (C, M1, and M2), four B-L breadths (11, C, M1, and M2), and five areas (12, C, P3, M1, and M2) were significantly different (12 comparisons of 23 taken into consideration). Differences in B-L diameter between the sexes were more consistent than in M-D. No difference was recorded between the upper canines in spite of the significant differences noted in the mandibular canines. Sexual dimorphism was universally low, a partially unexpected result in a preagricultural population (but see Frayer and Wolpoff, 1985). The values shown in Table 4 incipiently overlap those of living populations (Garn et al., 1967; Hanihara, 1978) and strongly contrast with evidence collected on other prehistoric samples (Brace and Ryan, 1980; Frayer, 1980). The mandibular dentition shows a slightly greater average dimorphism in both the diameters? and the lower canine was the most dimorphic tooth. Conversely, the maxillary canine in B-L breadths and areas shows little difference between the sexes. The mean value of the upper M-D diameter (including the negative value of 8.14% recorded for M3) is the lowest (x = 1.61%). As was observed by numerous authors, sexual dimorphism is greater in BL diameters, and, according to the results offered by Garn and coworkers (1966a1, upper P4 is much less dimorphic than P3. In spite of the small sample, and of some doubts about the biological meaning of antimeric variation (Friedlaender, 1975; 1891901, nondirectional dental asymmetry was evaluated in all the available antimeric pairs. Differences “d” (Garn et al., 1966b) between the sexes were not evaluated, but, with only a few exceptions, the total sample M-D I1 I2 C P3 P4 M1 M2 M3 x + 0.39 + 3.15 + 9.52 + 3.12 + 4.05 + 3.37 + 5.79 + 1.32 + 3.84 Mandibular B-L + 5.30 + + 6.46 5.11 0.62 4.73 + 3.70 + 10.00 + 4.06 + 3.85 - + Area + 5.40 + 8.80 + 19.85 + 6.98 + 8.00 + 9.87 + 10.77 + 0.59 + 8.78 presents low values for both diameters. In 54.17% of the cases, right antimers exceed left. In the upper dentition, M1 is the least asymmetric tooth in M-D diameter, whereas M3 and P4 show highest values. In the case of B-L breadth, I1 is the least asymmetric, M2, M1, and the upper canine showing the highest values. Specifically, the M2 value is the highest (X = -0.19; s.d. = 0.52). In the lower dentition, I1 for M-D and P4 for B-L present the lowest values and M2 and M3 the highest. Nonmetric traits Without any distinction with regard to sex, frequencies of the dichotomized nonmetric crown traits, and molar cusps number and groove pattern, are given in Tables 5 and 6 for the upper and lower dentition, respectively. Upper incisors displayed neither cingulum formations nor palatine invagination resulting in shovelling, but they did show modest occlusal curvature (Dahlberg plaque series, type 1). Commonly, there is a high association between lingual tubercles on the maxillary central incisors and canines (Scott, 1977). However, in the Ra’s al-Hamra sample, a n enamel overstructure in the form of a very slight tubercle formation frequently can be found (35.71%) on the basal cingulum of the upper canines. Molar teeth showed a clear pattern of hypocone reduction in M-D direction. The last molar was the most variable in cusp number. Upper M1 displayed four cusps in 90.48% of cases; hypocone absence on M3 was recorded in 41.18% of cases. Extra lingual cusps were never noted on premolars. In one isolated upper M1, slight grooves on the lingual aspect of the mesiolingual cusp were interpreted as a Carabelli’s trait. 582 R. MACCHIARELLI TABLE 5. Nonmetric m a d l a r y dental traits frequencies, in both sexes Trait N + Shovel shape I1 Shovel shape I2 Canine tubercle Cusp number M14+ M14 M2 4 M2 4M2 3 M3 4 M3 4M3 3 + M3 3 Carabelli’s cusp M1 M2 M3 29 25 42 - - 15 35.71 2 19 11 14 4 2 2 6 7 9.52 90.48 37.93 48.28 13.79 11.76 11.76 35.29 41.18 1 3.57 21 29 17 28 33 18 % - cusps was recorded on M2 in 20% of cases. In accordance with the expectations derived from Scott’s study (19781, concerning the pos% sible relationship between upper and lower molar accessory traits, no evidence of protos54.54 tylid was recorded. TABLE 6. Nonmetric mandibular dental traits freauencies. in both sexes Trait N Canine tubercle Cusp number M15 M14+ M14 M2 4 + M2 4 M2 4M3 5 M3 4+ M3 4 M3 3 + M3 3 Groove pattern M1 Y M2 Y M2 F’rotostylid M1 M2 23 + 22 33 22 + 12 2 8 5 24 4 2 4 11 3 2 16 25 16 20 5 28 33 - 9.09 36.36 15.15 72.73 12.12 9.09 18.18 50.00 13.64 9.09 100 80.00 20.00 - In the lower dentition, canines did not show ridges or basal enamel formations. The last molar was again the most variable tooth in cusp number; M1 and M2 more commonly had five and four cusps, respectively. The hypoconulid was never noted on second molars and only rarely occurred on third molars (9.09%). No molar showed clear evidence of entoconulid and metaconulid supernumerary cusps. The groove pattern on mandibular molars was clearly observed in a limited number of cases only. The most common feature results from the contact between metaconid (mesiolingual) and hypoconid (distobuccal) cusps (Jorgensen, 1955), but contact among all the Dental wear and oral health The Ra’s al-Hamra dentitions were characterized by extremely heavy dental wear in both sexes (Fig. l),especially if the low mean age a t death is considered. Even in young adults, the teeth appear to have suffered tremendous stresses, with radical alterations of the normal occlusal patterns (Corruccini and Macchiarelli, 1987). Contrary to Lovejoy’s work on the Libben dental material (1985), in which he found wear to be “extraordinarily regular in form and rate,” wear at Ra’s al-Hamra proved to be inconsistent and uncorrelated with age. For example, a n experimental attempt a t individual relative age attribution, originally performed in situ, gave often poor results when compared to skeletal indicators of age at death. In fact, not rarely, 15-18-years-old individuals and full adults showed comparable wear patterns. Occlusal surface forms and the quantity of removed enamel (or emerging dentine) are basically the products of complex interactions over time between individuals and their environment, which relate to different habits and cultural attitudes (Dahlberg, 1963; Molnar, 1972). In the present sample, the grit involuntarily assimilated with dried fish, and the high shellfish consumption, were probably the main mechanical stresses on the dentitions. The anterior arches were also PREHISTORIC DENTAL ANALYSIS FROM RA’S AL-HAMRA Fig. 1. RH5-G-221, adult male. Left lateral view of the articulated maxilla and mandible showing extreme dental wear on premolars and molars, upper and lower 583 periapical lithic Iesions, and characteristic orientation planes in molars. probably employed in some manipulative ac- necting the hard palate to the maxillary sitivites (Macchiarelli. 1984: Macchiarelli and nuses). certainly cannot be underrated. Periapical ly& lesions in association with Frohlich, 1986). The synergistic action of these factors rapidly resulted in dramatic ef- a generally heavier mandibular dental wear fects on dental health status. In some in- were recorded mainly from around inferior dividuals, these factors were probably re- molar and premolar roots. Notwithstanding sponsible for serious hematogenously spread frequent root exposure, very few teeth per mouth were lost intra vitam. This fact is infections. In a study focused on dental health ana- probably related to the low mean age at lyzed in 12 successive samples from the 7th death. As in a previous study on a smaller millennium BC in the eastern Mediterra- dental sample belonging t o the same gravenean, Angel (1974) discussed possible reper- yard (Grilletto, 1982),no carious lesions were cussions on general health, concluding that found. Wear rates (Tables 7 and 8 ) were estimated “the data in this paper tend to negate that idea.” However, among the prehistoric fish- by employing different record scales for inciermen under study, the individual deleteri- sors, canines, premolars (Molnar, 1971), and ous potential action of pyogenic agents, molar teeth (Scott, 1979); occlusal form was spread into the organism by multiple large assessed in all the crowns according to Molalveolar abscesses (in some cases even con- nar’s classification (1971). Consistent crown - - - - - 5.26 - - - % 2 I % - 9.09 15.79 3 6 3.23 - 3.23 18.18 6.82 10.53 7.89 2 - 1 - 1 6 3 4 3 N ‘The ordinal scale (1-8)refers to Molnar’s system (1971). C P3 P4 Mandibular I1 I2 C P3 P4 Iz 1 Maxillary N 7 6 4 3 3 4 3 2 11 10 N 3 9.37 9.68 13.33 21.21 15.79 12.90 9.09 4.54 28.95 26.32 % 4 5 5 10 12 6 10 12 7 8 N 4 12.50 16.13 16.67 30.30 31.58 19.35 30.30 27.27 18.42 21.05 % 7 5 8 4 5 6 8 11 6 6 N 5 21.87 16.13 26.67 12.12 13.16 19.35 24.24 25.00 15.79 15.79 % 13 13 13 5 4 10 4 14 6 4 N 6 40.62 41.93 43.33 15.15 10.53 32.26 12.12 31.82 15.79 10.53 % 6.45 6.06 4.54 2.63 2.63 % - 9.09 7.89 3 3 15.62 12.90 7 - 4 5 2 2 2 1 1 N TABLE 7. Degree of dental wear in maxillary (upper) and mandibular (lower) teeth (molars not included), in the total sample’ 1 2 - - 3 4 2 - N - 6.45 % 3.03 5.26 - - - 7.89 10.53 8 9.76 20.45 47.62 4.35 16.67 25.81 4 9 10 2 7 8 % 6 7 10 4 7 4 N 7 9 10 13.04 16.67 32.26 N 4 14 5 % 9.76 15.91 19.05 11-15 'The ordinal scale (4-40) refers to Scott's system (1979). Maxillary M1 M2 M3 Mandibular M1 M2 M3 N % 15.22 21.43 32.26 9.76 31.82 23.81 16-20 6 10 3 6 2 12 N % 13.04 23.81 9.68 29.27 13.64 9.52 21-25 5 - 12 - 3 5 N - 26.09 11.90 - % 7.32 11.36 26-30 - 7 4 - 9 3 N - 15.22 9.52 - % 21.95 6.82 31-35 TABLE 8. Degree of dental wear in maxillary (upper) and mandibular (lower) molars, in the total sample' 4-10 - 6 - 5 - N % - 13.04 - - 12.19 36-40 586 R. MACCHIARELLI height reduction and secondary dentine emergence are constant features of the Ra’s al-Hamra anterior teeth. The anterior teeth have mesiodistally directed flat or notched occlusal surfaces and sometimes show a lingual-labial wear component, which is more frequent on both upper incisors. In adults of both sexes, anterior wear patterns suggest a possible usage of the mouth as a “tool.” However, no grooves marking the occlusal surfaces of incisors or canines (Larsen, 1985) were macroscopically noted. Well rounded anterior teeth were found on upper dentitions only; rounded occlusal surfaces were recorded on premolars of both the arches. Wear frequency degrees of molar teeth were arbitrarily divided into seven classes (Table 8)from 4 to 40 (Scott, 1979).Upper and lower first and second molars commonly present emerging secondary dentine and a notched surface incompletely surrounded by a thin enamel rim. In the numerous cases of complete dentine exposure, wear is frequently extended below the cervicoenamel junction. In young adults, the last molars also appear to have been intensively involved in masticatory functions, with a t least two flat quadrants and emerging dentine patches. Ubelaker and coworkers (1969) have suggested the use of “wooden probes” as therapeutic or palliative responses to relieve local irritations. In agreement, thin and short grooving were episodically observed on the buccal aspect of lower molars. Hinton (1981) compared form and patterning of dental wear in aboriginal human groups with different subsistence economies. He showed that in hunters and gatherers the wear on the anterior teeth was consistently equal to or greater than that on the molar teeth. This was also well documented by Borgognini Tarli and Repetto (1985), in numerous Italian epipaleolithic and mesolithic samples. Furthermore, molar wear equalled or exceeded anterior wear only in old individuals; in agriculturalists anterior wear was by and large less than molar wear (Hinton, 1981). With respect to these reference models, the general wear pattern offered by the present prehistoric fishermen can be regarded a s intermediate, with posterior dentitions heavily worn, in association with anterior arches also strongly altered by numerous mechanical stresses (such as those deriving from the high shellfish consumption). It is apparently more difficult to resolve the patterns of molar occlusal orientation in the Ra’s al-Hamra mandibular dentition, with respect to the differentiated models defined by Smith (1984) for hunter-gatherers and agriculturalists. Smith (1984) demonstrated that, at low wear stages, no significant difference exists between the two groups in the lower first molar orientation angle. However, when wear rates increase, significant differences emerge. It is often assumed that cupping results mainly from fine particles in food (Costa and Greaves, 1981, cited by Smith, 1984), and that rates of change are basically higher in agriculturalists than in hunter-gatherers (Smith, 1984). Accordingly, the trend recorded among the Ra’s al-Hamra fishermen in the orientation change of the occlusal surfaces (from negative values in M3 to positive values in M1) suggests a wear pattern globally compatible with agriculturalists. On the other hand, the sample is also characterized by greater mandibular wear in association with a greater occlusal variability in the maxillary molars. This pattern agrees well with that found by Lovejoy (1985) for a large hunter-gatherer sample. It thus seems appropriate to consider the rapid and drastic changes that occurred in the natural morphology of the prehistoric Omani dentitions as essentially the product of a highly abrasive grit action on the crowns, which was independent of the nature of the food regularly consumed. DISCUSSION The sedentary prehistoric community of Ra’s al-Hamra lived in and exploited a n oceanic coastal environment characterized by a complex of potentially influential factors. Although still under study, evidence related to aspects of skeletal biology reflects some difficulties, in terms of adaptive responses, suffered by the Omani fishermen in maintaining a n adequate equilibrium with respect to the environmental stresses. Therefore, a brief synthesis of these biological aspects seems appropriate to better understand some results of these dental data. The Ra’s al-Hamra mortality pattern (resulting from the application of the “LIFE” computing program to the whole of 132 individual age-at-death attributions) offers interesting critical evidence with respect to some theoretical expectations. In a paper devoted to the maritime hunter-gatherer ecology and prehistory, Yesner (1980) stated that “because both old people and children were able to engage in activities such as shellfish col- PREHISTORIC DENTAL ANALYSIS FROM RA’S AL-HAMRA lecting, and because they have lower caloric requirements, they were virtually able to support themselves in coastal zones and do not act as a sump for the population’s resources. Therefore, in any maritime society in which shellfish or other invertebrates are a n important resource, dependency ratios tend to be lower, population pyramids broader, life expectancies higher.” At Ra’s al-Hamra, in spite of the low number of children aged between 0 and 5 years (20.46%) found preserved in the archaeological deposit (Coppa et al., 1985; Macchiarelli and Coppa, 19831, eoo life expectancies scarcely reach 19 years. Almost 26% of the individuals died within the 20-25 year age interval. At the start of the fourth decade, 13.64% of the population was still alive &a), with a life expectancy of only 8.33 more years and a 0.44 q30 value. Critical comments on some of Yesner’s (1980) demographic generalizations were also expressed by Clark (1981), when he noted that “demographic-stress variables should be taken into consideration on a case-by-case basis.” In association with a critical demographic profile, extreme skeletal gracility in subadults and strong retardation of growth (both resulting in a generally low degree of sexual dimorphism in adults), point to the action of developmental disturbances from environmental constraints, including limiting resources and stressors. For instance, rickets were recorded in youths and osteomalacia in adults, particularly in the graveyard area named “G-43.” According to Yesner (19801, “human populations living in coastal areas display a high availability of edible biomass,” and “shellfish are another critical resource for coastal populations, since they exist as highly concentrated resource, are easily collectable by all segments of the human population with a minimum of energy input, and often serve as a n emergency b d e r during times of relative food scarcity.” Furthermore, Tosi (1986) stated that, in the prehistoric Arabian peninsula, “a second and even larger permanent biomass was available from the ocean, the belt of tropical waters surrounding the peninsula. Each of the several ecological compartments forming a maritime environment (rockylsandy shorelines, tidal creeks and flats, littoral and pelagic waters) provided a reliable supply of fish and molluscs all year round, supplemented by more seasonal turtles and marine mammals.” The RH5 site archaeological deposits pre- 587 served great quantities of both mollusc and fish remains, but cases of cranial porotic hyperostosis and cribra orbitalia were also found. These conditions are possible indicators of metabolic disorders related to nutritional stress. Widening of the spongy diploe and cribra orbitalia interpreted as changes from malaria and hemoglobin-derived anemias were also recorded by Kunter (1981) in the Bronze and Iron Age skeletal material from the Omani interior oasis of Maysar. An alternative interpretation offered by Walker (1986) for a marine-dependent California Amerindian population generally appears more appropriate for the Ra’s alHamra’s palaeobiological context (see also Martin et al., 1985). These workers propose a n interaction between chronic diarrhea, exposure to fish-borne parasites, prolonged breast feeding, and protein-caloric malnutrition that could have been largely responsible for stresses resulting in pathological skeletal changes. Moreover, the role of mangrove swamp pathogenic agents on the fishermen’s health still has to be fully evaluated, but it is possible to speculate that it was seasonally intense. Together, the skeletal markers tend to lead to revision of the optimistic figures described by Yesner (1980) and Tosi (1986) in terms of quality (and quantity) of edible biomass available for prehistoric fishermen communities living in tropical coastal zones. Since genetic factors also play a n important role in resistance to certain diseases (Goodman et al., 19841, a n important biological indicator of genetic isolation and stress at Ra’s al-Hamra can be considered. There is a n extremely high incidence of dehiscence of the crista sacralis mediana, a defect known as spina bifida occulta (Cavalli Sforza and Bodmer, 1971; Fuhrmann et al., 1971; Gates, 1946). With respect to previous estimations (Coppa et al., 1985; Macchiarelli and Coppa, 1983),more recent evaluations (performed on a total of 32 available sacral bones), showed five individuals with complete sacral defects (15.62%).A partial manifestation of the trait (involvment of at least two arches) was observed in a further 18 cases (56.25%). Despite some criticism by Devor and Cordell (1981) on the defect’s etiology, a high spina bifida occulta frequency in archaeological samples is commonly considered a n indicator of genetic isolation and inbreeding (Bennett, 1972; Castro de La Mata and Bonavia, 1980; Ferembach, 1962, 1963; Morse, 1978). In addition, humeral septa1 perforation is frequent 588 R. MACCHIARELLI Summarized Dental Areas (C - M 3 ) M a x i 1 I a r y a nd M a nd i b u I a r d e n ti ti o ns comparative va ues ’ 7LEGEND B 1 Maxillary t e e t h 470 Nat. M.Nu. Jar. A.Go. Mahr. RH5 Prehistoric samples A.Nu. Fig. 2. Values (in mm2) of the maxillary and mandibular summarized dental areas (including canine and third molar) in the Ra’s al-Hamra sample @H5) compared to those recorded for other eastern African (M.Nu., A.Nu.) and near-Middle Eastern mat., Jar., A.Go., Mehr.) prehistoric samples. The values refer to both sexes. Samples in chronological order. Nat., epipaleolithic Natufians (XI-X mill. BC); M.Nu. mesolithic Nubians (XI-VIII mill. BC); Jar, early Jarmo agriculturalists 6’11 mill. BC); A,&, early Abou Gosh agriculturalists (VII mill. BC); Mehr., early neolithic Mehrgarh (VII mill. BC); RH5, mesolithic Ra’s al-Hamra (V-IV mill. BC); A.Nu., Nubian agriculturalists (IV-I1 mill. BC). See text for the data resources. With respect also to the samples representing early “food producers” (Jar., A.Go., Mehr., A.Nu.1, the Ra’s al-Hamra mesolithic one systematically shows the lowest values. (32.84%). This trait is another skeletal indicator that supports the hypothesis that genetic drift was operating in the community (Cavicchi et al., 1978). It is well known that dental “developmental instability increases with the increase of deleterious genetic effects and adverse environmental effects” (Biggerstaff, 1979). The interest in considering skeletal indicators of stress and isolation in the prehistoric Ra’s al-Hamra fishermen lies in the possible relapse of the same adverse constraints on dental crown development. The dental variability patterns, as well as some morphologic and morphometric aspects, have consequently to be considered in a restricted, local biological context. Moreover, according to Bailit (1966),female dental metrics appear commonly “ambiguous” in inbred samples, not completely following the male variability pattern. At Ra’s al-Hamra, in addition to the limited sample size, this would explain the numerous anomalies observed in the variability distribution within each dental morphological class, particularly evident in the female sex. Unfortunately, despite some interesting odontometric analysis performed on Bronze and Iron Age Arabian human remains (Hojgaard, 1980a,b, 1983a), no comparative statistical analyses are possible at present because of the extremely small sample size. At Ra’s al-Hamra, a marked and prolonged genetic isolation possibly influenced the dental morphological trait frequencies. With few exceptions only, great differences are notable PREHISTORIC DENTAL ANALYSIS FROM RA’S AL-HAMRA in comparison to both eastern African and near-Middle Eastern prehistoric populations. For example, very high frequencies of shovelshaped upper incisors were recorded by Greene (1972) in mesolithic Nubia (78.00% on 111, by Lukacs and Sellier (1986) in early neolithic Pakistan (89.30% on I1 and 83.80% on 121, and by Bentley (1987) in early Bronze Age Jordan (67.44% on I1 and 81.82% on 12). This morphology was never noted at Ra’s alHamra. In spite of the frequently practiced evulsion of both upper and central incisors, shovelling was occasionally observed also in the Saggai 1 mesolithic Sudanese material (Coppa and Macchiarelli, 1983). Other significant differences regard the Carabelli’s trait, which is very common on the upper first molar a t Bab edh-Dhra’ (Bentley, 1987) and also frequent at Mehrgarh (Lukacs and Sellier, 1986) as well as the protostylid on the lower M1. Conversely, a greater homogeneity involves both the cusp number and pattern in molars, including also modern East African frequencies (Chagula, 1960). On the basis of the preliminary anthropological investigations of the Omani skeletal material (Coppa et al., 1985; Macchiarelli and Coppa, 1983), other significant affinities with African populations can also be noted in the general cranial and lower face morphology. A factor of extreme anthropological interest emerges when the tooth sizes of the Ra’s al-Hamra community (Table 3) is compared to those available from some eastern African and near-Middle Eastern prehistoric samples. Figure 2 shows, for both upper and lower dentition, the comparative values of the summarized dental areas recorded for the posterior dentition (including canine and last molar) in the epipaleolithic Natufians (Nat., XI-X millenia BC; Bar-Yosef et al., 1971-72), mesolithic Nubians (M.Nu., XI-VIII millenia BC; Cakagno, 1986; Greene et al., 1967),early Jarmo agriculturalists (Jar., early VII millenium BC; Dahlberg, 19601, early Abou Gosh agriculturalists (AGO., VII millenium BC; Arensburg et al., 1978), early neolithic Mehrgarh (Mehr., late VII millenium BC; Lukacs, 1983b, 1985a1, mesolithic Rats al-Hamra (RH5, V-N millenia BC; present data), and Nubian agriculturalists (A.Nu., IV-I1 millenia BC: Cakagno, 1986). Despite the fact that the comparison includes four groups of well documented “food producers” (Jarmo, Abou Gosh, Mehrgarh, and Nubian agriculturalists), the Ra’s alHamra mesolithic group systematically 589 shows the smallest values in both arches. The greatest percent differences in dental size are seen with respect to the mesolithic Nubian mandibular dentition (- 15.76%) but differences are also appreciable with respect to the Nubian agriculturalists (-4.49% and -4.96%, in maxillary and mandibular dentitions, respectively). With regard to this African group of Nubian agriculturalists (chronologically representing the most recent dental sample in the present series), it must be considered that “the bulk of dental reduction that occurred in Nubia took place between the Mesolithic and Agriculturalist period” (Calcagno, 1986). Moreover, in originally describing the mesolithic Nubian sample (M.Nu.), Greene and coworkers (1967) stated that dentition “was subjected to rigorous selective pressures favoring large and/or morphologically complex teeth. This pressure was apparently intensive wear presumably caused by the inclusion of large amounts of grit in the diet.” In spite of the fact that all the available archaeological and odontological evidence supports the hypothesis that similar selective forces must have also acted on the Raysal-Hamra dentition, it is evident that this did not occur. On the contrary, a s was shown above, the teeth are particularly reduced in size, especially when the “preagricultural” Omani context is considered. To date, the anthropological remains of the Ra’s al-Hamra fishermen constitute the most ancient group excavated in the Arabian Peninsula. Therefore, nothing is known about teeth size and body size of their predecessors. However, based on consolidated models for numerous diacronic researches on “linear” skeletal series, it is reasonable to suppose that both teeth and body sizes were larger. A general trend towards a gradual dental structural reduction throughout time is very well documented in human evolution, as well as a drastic acceleration of the phenomenon in post-Pleistocene times (Anderson and Popovich, 1977; Anderson et al., 1975; Brace, 1978; Brace and Mahler, 1971; Brace and Nagai, 1982; Brace and Ryan, 1980; Brace et al., 1984; Calcagno, 1986; Frayer, 1977,1978, 1984; Larsen, 1981,1983; LeBlanc and Black, 1974; Lukacs, 1982, 1984; Macchiarelli and Bondioli, 1986a; Smith, 1978; Y’Edynak, 1978). Possibly depending on larger and better represented samples, the most recent acceleration of the trend has traditionally been 590 R. MACCHIARELLI observed (and consequently interpreted) with an attentive eye to the transition from hunter-gatherers to agriculturalists. The data discussed in this paper refer only to 49 individuals. However, the dental evidence collected at Ra’s al-Hamra is clearly not explained by a strict use of these two extreme reference “focal poles” (Cleland, 1976).The analysis of Figure 2 suggests that the mesolithic Omanites had already undergone a consistent tooth size reduction, although they were not agriculturalists. With particular regard to the most recent and intensive phase of the structural reduction process in human dentition, Macchiarelli and Bondioli (1984, 1986b) interpreted the phenomenon mainly as a side effect of a more general reduction trend occurring specifically in body size and build. This theoretical approach emphasizes primarily the role of biocultural factors that followed sedentism and the gradual local density increment of groups (number of people per settlement). These biocultural factors probably modified the directionality of selection pressures previously operating and directly influenced a potential size expressivity of the genetic background. Thus, during the most recent evolutionary times, the role played by directional selective forces in expressely favoring large teeth would have to be redirected. Following some of Leamy’s (1978) experimental conclusions on animal dentitions, it is still far from being clearly demonstrated that a n appreciable difference in fitness is conferred by having different-sized teeth, especially in the chronological and cultural horizons in which the trend’s acceleration is expressed. In opposition to numerous current interpretations, the authors then suggested that the last accentuated phase of the trend possibly derived from the synergistic sum of two actions: “that of selective pressures directly affecting the lean body-mass (not the crude dental size), and that of stress factors operating against a full genotype penetrance in determining the size. The relative weight of each of these elements is to be considered inconstant, conditioned, and intimately linked to local microprocesses” (Macchiarelli and Bondioli, 1986b).According to this model, marked structural reduction in body mass, and consequently in dental size, occurred during a gradual transition from locally smaller human groups, characterized by lower density and regional mobility, to large communities, characterized by a sedentary (or semisedentary) style of life, in association with a higher and in creasing population density. The Ra’s al-Hamra prehistoric fishermen were sedentary and probably conditioned for a long time by marked and prolonged stress factors in a n isolated oceanic coastal environment. This human group, therefore, is a valid test for the speculative model of structural reduction, originally defined as ‘increasing population density effect” (Macchiarelli and Bondioli, 1984). This study approach is not rigidly subordinated to the role of “agriculture” as traditionally the main agent responsible for dental changes (see, for example, Brace and Mahler, 1971). In fact, in the prehistoric coastal environment of the Arabian Peninsula, a gradual shift to sedentism (in association with a related increase in site number and population density) specifically resulted in a n intensive exploitation of the ocean and ocean-related natural resources, not in intensive agriculture. In this case, marked dental structural reduction probably occurred during this biocultural shift process. CONCLUSIONS As was stressed by Biagi and coworkers (19841, archaeological explorations have historically been restricted to very few sites, along the 6,000 km of coastlands from Mesopotamia to Egypt. Fortunately, a t least from 1973, a second generation of studies was locally directed to the analysis of indigenous developments, during the 4th and 3th millennia BC, in the oasis belt of the Oman Peninsula, as well as in some Arabian Gulf islands (Cleuziou, 1978-79, 1982, Cleuziou and Vogt, 1983, 1985; Frifelt, 1975; Vogt, 1985; Weisgerber, 1980,1981). An exhaustive overview, including more than 300 references, was recently provided by Tosi (1986). These pilot researches brought to light some skeletal series, and anthropological reports (including odontological studies) are in some cases available (El-Najjar, 1985; Hojgaard, 1980a,b, 1983a, 1985; Kunter, 1981, 1983; Macchiarelli, 1985). Agriculture is well documented in the interior Arabian regions from the early 3th millennium BC (Cleuziou and Costantini, 1980, 19821, with evident effects on the general oral health status of the oasis populations (Hojgaard, 1985; Kunter, 1983; Macchiarelli, 1985). Qualitative differences are notable with respect to the Ra’s al-Hamra PREHISTORIC DENTAL ANALYSIS FROM RA’S AL-HAMRA data, which reflect alternative man-environment relationships (Macchiarelli, 1985). At present, the largest protohistorical human skeletal sample excavated in Arabia belongs to the 3th millennium BC Umm an-Nar collective megalithic tomb from Hili North (Cleuziou and Vogt, 1983, 1985; Vogt, 1985). Dental observations on the material still partially in situ were made almost simultaneously by two different observers (El-Najjar, 1985; Macchiarelli, 1985). Curiously, they offered two different general pictures of the same situation. El-Najjar (1985) found “no evidence of severe dental wear, periodontal disease and dental caries,” whereas Macchiarelli (1985:42-43) reported that “the analysis of the skeletons lying on the basal level of the third burial chamber unequivocally shows the effects of dental decay. . . . with almost all the individuals frequently presenting multiple carious lesions, responsible for a great number of teeth lost intra vitam.” Unfortunately, further anthropological studies on this unique material are at present difficult, but the Hili North skeletons, in studying the development of biocultural alternative styles of life, may represent a crucial reference point in the Arabian Peninsula. Furthermore, the scattered comparative results of the last years on other near-eastern prehistoric and protohistorical populations (Bentley, 1987; Frohlich and Ortner, 1982, Lukacs, 1983a,c, 1984, 1985a,b; Ortner, 1981, 1982), will perhaps permit a better anthropological record for ancient Arabia. However, the Ra’s al-Hamra skeletal material still represents only a n isolated case, certainly not enough, by itself, to answer some fundamental questions, such as those concerning the origin, evolution, and biological relationships of the Arabian people. For this purpose, greater efforts developed on the traditionally ignored western Arabian side will be essential. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I thank the following people for their valuable criticisms and advice offered during the excavation and particularly the study of the Ra’s al-Hamra skeletal material: Dr. L. Bondioli (Museo Pigorini, Rome), Prof. S. Borgognini Tarli (Istituto di Antropologia, Pisa), Dr. R.S. Corruccini (Dept. of Anthropology, Southern Illinois University), Dr. A.A. Dahlberg (Dept. of Anthropology, University of Chicago), Dr. D.W. Frayer (Dept. of Anthropology, University of Kansas), Dr. B. Froh- 591 lich and Dr. D.J. Ortner (Smithsonian Inst., Washington, DC), Prof. P. Passarello (Dip. Biologia Animale e dell Uomo, Rome), and Dr. S. Salvatori (Soprintendenza Beni Arch., Venice), the archaeologist responsible for the RH5 graveyard excavations. In particular, Prof. S. Borgognini Tarli, Dr. R.S. Corruccini, Dr. D.W. Frayer, and Prof. P. Passarello provided also special critical comments on the final version of the present paper. Dr. R.S. Corruccini and Dr. D.K. Evans (Dept. of Anthropology, Wake Forest University) kindly invited me to offer a n official presentation about the preliminary results of this odontological study during a visit in their departments in 1985. Data elaborations (including preliminary paleodemographic profiles) were basically performed a t the Smithsonian Institution of Washington, DC, with the generous collaboration offered by Dr. B. Frohlich. Special thanks are offered to my Superintendent in Chieti, Dr. G. Scichilone (Soprintendenza Archeologica dell’ Abruzzo), for always having facilitated my long periods of field excavations in Oman during the last years as well as to the Ministero per i Beni Culturali e Ambientali for their permissions. Dr. S. Cleuziou (C.N.R.S., URA 30, Paris) invited and supported my field study of the protohistorical human skeletal material from Hili site (United Arab Emirates), offering a n important data base for comparative purposes. Without the initial help of Prof. M. Tosi (Istituto Universitario Orientale, Naples) and Dr. A. Coppa (Dip. Biologia Animale e dell’Uomo, Rome), this research would not have been possible. However, the results presented here are my own, despite the contributions of my previous collaborators. The present study is part of a “Progetto Strategico,” directed by Prof. P. Passarello (University of Rome) in collaboration with the Istituto Italian0 per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente (IsMEO, Rome), supported by a grant of the Italian C.N.R. 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