||Deciduous dentition can provide valuable insight into the life of an individual during early childhood; information that is usually lost as deciduous teeth are replaced by the permanent dentition. The purpose of this thesis is the application of micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) to assess the enamel thickness and density distribution of a sample of deciduous canines and first molars from the Middenbeemster site, an 18th – 19th century, non-industrial, rural society in the Netherlands. The main objectives are to assess trends and correlations between enamel properties (thickness and density) and dental disease and wear, as well as investigating sexual dimorphism in a known-sex subsample. The sample consists of 38 individuals who are macroscopically evaluated to determine the presence of dental disease and extent of dental wear. The latter was conducted using a modified method for dental wear scoring, involving an average score for the entire dentition. A strong correlation (R2 = 0.6715) between age and dental wear score was identified, building upon previous studies showing a positive correlation between age and dental wear, and provides initial insights into the benefits of developing a novel method for subadult age-estimation.
Of the 38 individuals in the sample, 35, represented by 33 deciduous canines and 30 deciduous first molars, were scanned and analysed using fixed-point measurements and threshold-based 3D evaluation with an integrated micro-CT software. The enamel thickness within the sample ranged between 0.38 mm and 0.66 mm, while the enamel density ranged between 1914 and 2173 mgHA/ccm. No significant differences (p > 0.05) were found to indicate that enamel thickness and density play a significant role in the progression of dental wear or the presence and/or rate of dental disease. Enamel hypomineralisation and hypoplasia were identified; however, the impact of these on the overall enamel thickness and density distribution was seemingly limited. Archival data provided known-sex for 20 individuals (13 females, 7 males). This study investigated this small subsample of known-sex individuals focusing on the two key variables, enamel thickness and density. No significant differences were found in the statistical comparison of means, and the applied logit model failed to show sufficient discriminatory ability. The results of the analysis were considered in conjunction with confounding factors involving the use of skeletal samples to make population inferences, and the current limitations of micro-CT technology. Overall, this study represents an exploratory investigation into various enamel properties of an archaeological population, adding to the still under-represented data acquired from deciduous dentition, and emphasises the benefits and contributions of micro-CT to human osteoarchaeology research.