David B. Landon


The study of incremental structures in animal teeth is an analytical technique that is receiving increased attention from zooarchaeologists working in many parts of the world. The seasonal and annual cycles in the formation of tooth increments makes them ideal for determining the age of an animal when it was killed and the season of its death. This type of information can contribute significantly to interpretations of past animal husbandry practices. A sample of eight domestic animal teeth from the Wilkinson Backlot Site in dowtown Boston, Massachusetts, were studied in this fashion. Microscopic examination of the increment pattern of the cement on the roots of the teeth allowed age and season of death to be estimated. The results suggest that this analytical technique has a great deal of promise for the analysis of historical faunal assemblages, particularly for determining seasonal patterns in animal slaughtering.