A preliminary assessment of age at death determination using the nuclear weapon testing 14C activity of dentine and enamel

Gordon T. Cook, Elaine Dunbar, Sue M. Black, Sheng Xu

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    Calibration (using CALIBomb) of radiocarbon measurements made on the enamel of human teeth from people born during the nuclear era typically produce 2 possible age ranges that potentially reflect the period of tooth formation. These ranges correspond to periods before and after the 1963 atmospheric 14C maximum. Further measurements made on the collagen component of the combined dentine and cementum from the roots of the same teeth enable the appropriate age range to be selected. Using this range and the formation times for individual teeth, we estimated the year of birth of the individuals and compared these to the known dates of birth. The results were relatively accurate and confirmed those of a previous study by another research group. The present study demonstrates that it is possible to produce a good estimate of the year of birth from a single tooth.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)305-313
    Number of pages9
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2006



    • Teeth
    • Age
    • Dentine
    • Forensic anthropology
    • Enamel

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