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Dental Calculus Provides Insight into Lives of Female Scribes

Dental calculus on the teeth of a 11th century German skeleton found in Dalheim, Germany, reveals women may have worked as scribes and artists, a job traditionally held by men. 

Dental calculus on the teeth of a 11th century German skeleton found in Dalheim, Germany, reveals women may have worked as scribes and artists, a job traditionally held by men.

A team led by Germany’s Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History analyzed the dental calculus of the woman, who is believed to have died in 1100 A.D.  Testing showed particles of the mineral lazurite—a pigment used by medieval artists and manuscript illuminators—embedded in the dental plaque. Researchers believe the woman wound up with the particles in her mouth because she licked her brush while painting, according to the study published in Science Advances.

 

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