Papyrus molders, stone etchings erode, memories wither and histories are rewritten. Teeth remain. Several thousand years from now, our teeth may document our lives more faithfully than any recording technology.
Teeth tell the story of Burial 97-Individual 107, as he’s known academically, who lived some 1,400 years ago (600-800 AD) at the Río Viejo archaeological site in the Lower Rií Verde Valley, approximately 10 kilometers from the Pacific Ocean in the modern state of Oaxaca, Mexico.
That B97-I107 was buried in a communal cemetery suggests he wasn’t a member of his society’s ruling elite. That he was entombed within a giant ceramic vessel in the central acropolis before the surrounding buildings were constructed, and with teeth decoratively filed and inlaid with flashy, mirror-like hematite, suggests he was something more than a commoner.
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