The Etruscans and the History of Dentistry : The Golden Smile through the Ages book cover
1st Edition

The Etruscans and the History of Dentistry
The Golden Smile through the Ages

ISBN 9780367595326
Published August 13, 2020 by Routledge
444 Pages

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Book Description

The Etruscans and the History of Dentistry offers a study of the construction and use of gold dental appliances in ancient Etruscan culture, and their place within the framework of a general history of dentistry, with special emphasis on appliances, from Bronze Age Mesopotamia and Egypt to modern Europe and the Americas. Included are many of the ancient literary sources that refer to dentistry - or the lack thereof - in Greece and Rome, as well as the archaeological evidence of ancient dental health. The book challenges many past works in exposing modern scholars’ fallacies about ancient dentistry, while presenting the incontrovertible evidence of the Etruscans’ seemingly modern attitudes to cosmetic dentistry.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations



Background: the main ancient cultures associated with dental appliances listed in alphabetic order


Chapter 1. Dentistry in medical history: classical roots

Chapter 2. Evidence from the ancient Near East: correcting misconceptions

Chapter 3. The dental prosthesis: a lost Etruscan invention

Chapter 4. Dental appliances and dentistry after the Etruscans, to the present day

Chapter 5. Catalogue of Etruscan and Roman-era dental appliances

Chapter 6. Concluding remarks


Appendix I – Uncertain examples of Etruscan dental appliances

Appendix II – Modern Copies of Etruscan dental appliances

Appendix III – Spurious examples of dental implants or appliances

Appendix IV – Amulets and votives resembling or incorporating teeth

Appendix V – Pliny on cures for oral pathologies

Appendix VI – Evidence for dental extractions in ancient Rome: a summary of the analysis of teeth excavated at the Temple of Castor and Pollux in the Roman forum

Appendix VII – Report on analysis of gold bands in Liverpool appliances (nos. 13 and 14)



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Marshall Joseph Becker is Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at West Chester University, USA, and is a Distinguished Member of the American Anthropological Association.

Jean MacIntosh Turfa is a Consulting Scholar in the Mediterranean Section of the University of Pennsylvania Museum, USA, and a Foreign Member of the Istituto di Studi Etruschi, Italy.