In the June issue of the Norwegian Dental Association’s Journal, Professor emeritus NJ Nils Jacobsen (now working at NIOM) has publised an article on how dental calculus in skeletal material contains valuable archaeological information; fossil residues from plants and animals in this material illustrate living conditions and culture from the relevant time period. Fossil microbiology components can illuminate the development of oral pathology and resistance factors.

Research of this kind has indicated the use of heat treated plant based diet already by Neandertals, and prehistoric human calculus has showed traces of plant and animal food following changes from hunter-gatherer to farming. Scientific techniques such as Isotope studies, advanced DNA-sequencing and modern proteomic methods have revealed fascinating insight into how ancient humans lived, ate and travelled.

The entire article is available here: