My friend and former colleague from California State University Long Beach, Douglas Forasté sent me this article today and my fascination with body modification was stirred. Recent excavations of a Viking Burial in Dorset England have revealed that at least one occupant of the mass grave had filed teeth.
The burial pit in Dorset, dates to around the first millennium AD, contains 51 skulls and 54 human bodies. It appears to be a site of mass burial after a formal execution.
Tooth filing is a common form of body modification in which the teeth can be filed down (often in to points) or other wise carved with symbols and designs. The practice is not only painful, but can be dangerous as a poorly skilled ‘filer’ can easily expose a root and thus kill the tooth (potentially leading to infection and even death).
Oxford Archaeology project manager David Score said: “It’s difficult to say how painful the process of filing teeth may have been, but it wouldn’t have been a pleasant experience.
To read more about these findings, check out the article in the BBC.