John C Willman

John C Willman
University of Coimbra | UC · Research Centre for Anthropology and Health

PhD

About

32
Publications
7,803
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198
Citations
Introduction
Paleoanthropology, bioarchaeology, and dental anthropology. Currently a MSCA-IF Postdoctoral Researcher in the Laboratory of Prehistory at CIAS, Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal working on the Virtual Anthropology of Prehistoric Portugal (VAPP) Project. Formerly a MSCA-IF Postdoctoral Researcher at IPHES, Tarragona, Spain (2018-2019) working on the IDENTITIES Project. Ph.D. from Washington University in Saint Louis (2016). https://johncwillman.weebly.com/

Publications

Publications (32)
Article
This study analyzes and compares dental microwear textures on occlusal and buccal surfaces from the same tooth to determine if using these surfaces in tandem can provide complementary data for dietary reconstructions. Cova de la Guineu is a Late Neolithic‐Chalcolithic burial cave located in Font‐Rubí (Barcelona, Spain). The study sample consisted o...
Article
Dental microwear formation on the posterior dentition is largely attributed to an organism's diet. However, some have suggested that dietary and environmental abrasives contribute more to the formation process than food, calling into question the applicability of dental microwear to the reconstruction of diet in the fossil record. Creating microwea...
Article
Full-text available
The dietary proclivities of an early adolescent Neandertal, Kůlna 1, are reconstructed using dental microwear texture analysis. Examining the diet of Kůlna 1 provides new information about the lifeways and paleoecological conditions faced by Neandertals living in the Moravian karst, an area of extensive anthropogenic activity during Marine Isotope...
Article
Two human lateral mandibular incisors exhibiting exceptional dental wear in the form of lingual surface grooves along the cementoenamel junction were recovered from the superficial levels of a pit grave attributed to the Bronze Age at the archaeological site of Monte do Vale do Ouro 2 (Ferreira do Alentejo, Beja, Portugal). Although a number of ana...
Article
The macroscopic and microscopic analyses of teeth from the Castellón Alto individuals belonging to El Argar culture (Southeastern Iberia), dated from Bronze Age, were carried out to identify non-alimentary uses of teeth and the tasks associated with the use of teeth as tools. Macroscopically, we identify 5 out of 106 individuals showing atypical de...
Article
Full-text available
The present study concerns occlusal dental microwear texture variation on the deciduous molars of children. A description and evaluation of microwear texture variation within facet 9 and a comparison of microwear textures between grinding facets 9 and 11 are presented. The relationship between wear facet surface area and intra-facet microwear textu...
Article
Gigapixel and gigapixel-like (GPL) imaging strategies are a powerful means of communicating scientific results of visual observations in academic and public spheres. GPL images are made from a photomosaic of multiple, adjacent extended focus images, which allows users to “pan and zoom” across a surface to document or analyze specific features. Micr...
Article
Objective: To describe the oral pathological conditions of Ohalo II H2, an Early Epipaleolithic human from southwest Asia. Materials: The dentognathic skeleton of Ohalo II H2 and relevant comparative data from similar chronological and/or geographic contexts. Methods: Gross and x-ray observations of oral pathological conditions and occlusal wea...
Article
Full-text available
Dental microwear has been used for the reconstruction of diet for decades, and given its long history, substantial changes in the methodologies and technologies used to observe and quantify microwear have occurred. For instance, early work on microwear used optical microscopy (OM), before being largely replaced by scanning electron microscopy (SEM)...
Article
Objectives: The dentition of Olduvai Hominid 1 (OH1) exhibits an anomalous pattern of dental wear that was originally attributed to either intentional cultural modification (filing) or plant processing behaviors. A differential diagnosis of the wear and assessment of the biological affinity of OH1 is presented. Materials and methods: Macroscopic...
Article
Full-text available
Over the last years, the knowledge of the children’s diet is a topic of growing interest in dental anthropology. Our aim seeks to establish patterns of interpopulation and intrapopulation variability in dietary microwear among children from four Iberian sites dated to the Neolithic through Bronze Age. Buccal and occlusal surfaces are compared to as...
Article
Full-text available
Early modern humans (EMH) are often touted as behaviorally advanced to Neandertals, with more sophisticated technologies, expanded resource exploitation, and more complex clothing production. However, recent analyses have indicated that Neandertals were more nuanced in their behavioral adaptations, with the production of the Châtelperronian technoc...
Article
Spy I from the Meuse River Basin of Belgium is among the most recent Neandertals. This adult lived at the terminus of Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 3 in cold steppe environments at the northern edge of the habitable zone for Neandertals where plants were relatively scarce. The dietary proclivities of Spy I are reconstructed using dental microwear text...
Article
Objectives: The current study seeks to determine if a sample of foragers, farmers, and pastoral-ists are distinguishable based on their dental microwear texture signatures. Materials and methods: The study included a sample of 719 individuals from 51 archeological sites (450 farmers, 192 foragers, 77 pastoralists). All were over age 12 and sexes we...
Article
Full-text available
Pleistocene and early Holocene human fossils in Tuscany are very few and poorly described. Any new information is thus an important contribution to our knowledge of the peopling of this region. Here we present a revision of the human fossil remains from the Riparo Fredian, a site located in Garfagnana and first published by Boschian et al., (1995)....
Poster
Full-text available
Pleistocene and early Holocene human fossils in Tuscany are very few and poorly described, with remains from only three sites: Buca del Tasso, Vado all’Arancio and Riparo Fredian [1]. Any new information is thus an important contribution to our knowledge of the peopling of this region. Here we present a revision of the human fossil remains from Rip...
Article
The dental microwear textures of six individuals from Hortus cave, France are compared to Neandertals from different ecological zones and time periods. Molar Phase II facets were scanned using white-light confocal microscopy and scale sensitive fractal analysis yielded enamel surface textural characteristics. The juvenile Hortus III and the older a...
Article
Full-text available
Dental enamel chipping is a specific dental wear feature indicative of behaviors and tooth-use during the life of an individual. Enamel chipping provides information on consistency and texture of food, the methods of obtaining and processing food, and the use of dentition for non-masticatory behaviors. Despite the utility of dental chipping for rec...
Poster
Full-text available
Objectives: Early evidence for the treatment of dental pathology is found primarily among food-producing societies associated with high levels of oral pathology. However, some Late Pleistocene hunter-gatherers show extensive oral pathology, suggesting that experimentation with therapeutic dental interventions may have greater antiquity. Here we rep...
Article
The causes of Neandertal anterior tooth wear patterns, including labial rounding, labial scratches, and differential anterior-posterior wear, have been debated for decades. The most common explanation is the “stuff-and-cut” hypothesis, which describes Neandertals clamping down on a piece of meat and slicing a portion close to their lips. “Stuff-and...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives: Early evidence for the treatment of dental pathology is found primarily among food-producing societies associated with high levels of oral pathology. However, some Late Pleistocene hunter-gatherers show extensive oral pathology, suggesting that experimentation with therapeutic dental interventions may have greater antiquity. Here, we r...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives: A detailed assessment of intentional incisor ablation among the Late Upper Paleolithic people of Tam Hang (northern Laos) was undertaken to understand how this cultural practice, in addition to age and sex, influenced an individual's inclusion in the mortuary context. The covariation of ablation status with occlusal variation and anter...
Chapter
Full-text available
The Gruta da Oliveira is a Middle Paleolithic site discovered in 1989 in the framework of the speleo- -archeological exploration of the karstic system associated with the spring of the Almonda River. Removal of the thick brecciated rubble that sealed its collapsed entrance allowed excavation, between 1992 and 2012, of the underlying, ~9 m -thick ar...
Article
Full-text available
Additional Middle Paleolithic human remains from layers 17, 18, and 22 of the Gruta da Oliveira, Portugal consist of a proximal manual phalanx 2 (Oliveira 5), a partial postcanine tooth (Oliveira 6), a humeral diaphysis (Oliveira 7), a distal mandibular molar (Oliveira 8), and a mandibular premolar (P(3) ) (Oliveira 9). Oliveira 5, 6, and 8 are unr...

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Projects

Projects (5)
Project
The VAPP Project will examine prehistoric human population dynamics and microevolution in Portugal through the analysis of dental morphological variation. Variation in external dental morphology (e.g., size, shape, and discrete characteristics) provides reliable data on biological affinity and relatedness within and between human populations, as well as signatures of selection on dental functional morphology related to different diets and masticatory regimes. Advances in non-invasive, virtual imaging technology provide complimentary, high-resolution data on internal dental morphology (e.g., enamel thickness, tissue proportions, enamel dentin junction shape) that address key aspects of dental morphological variation and evolution. Nevertheless, few studies have focused on how internal dental morphology varies among human populations during the Holocene, and only one Homo sapiens dentition from Portugal has been virtually analyzed to date. The prehistory of Late Pleistocene to Mid-Holocene Portugal is characterized by complex environmental, climatic, and demographic changes that significantly altered socioeconomic organization, thus making it an ideal regional case study to address human biocultural evolution through an integrated approach to internal and external dental morphology. The VAPP Project will include Upper Paleolithic humans, the last foraging populations (Mesolithic), early food-producing peoples (Neolithic), and groups associated with the emergence of social complexity and the intensification of food processing (Late Neolithic, Chalcolithic, and Bronze Age). The sampling strategy provides a nuanced perspective on dental microevolution corresponding to changing diets, socioeconomic strategies, and spatiotemporal population dynamics (e.g., migration, integration, and replacement) across crucial transitional periods in Portuguese prehistory. Notably, the VAPP Project will establish the first, open-source, virtual dental anthropology dataset for the region.
Project
The IDENTITIES project investigates human dental wear related to the non-masticatory use of the dentition (the habitual use of “teeth-as-tools”) among human groups that span the Mesolithic-Neolithic Transition in the Iberian Peninsula – a period of complex social, economic, and technological reorganization corresponding to a shift from hunting and gathering to a dependence on domesticated plants and animals. A lifetime of using the teeth for habitual, manipulative tasks leaves distinct traces on enamel, and these idiosyncratic patterns of wear provide biocultural markers of social identities when aligned with information on sex, age, occupation, or status of individuals across archaeological samples. Human dental remains from archaeological sites across the Iberia provide an ideal regional focus for exploring biocultural changes related to tooth-use during a crucial prehistoric socioeconomic transition. IDENTITIES is interdisciplinary, bringing together experts in microscopy, experimental methods, bio/archaeology, and paleoanthropology through an integrative methodology to document non-masticatory dental wear. The methodologies include recent advances in Gigapixel-like imaging strategies, confocal and scanning electron microscopy, and three-dimensional dental topographic methods to analyze experimentally-worn and archaeological samples. The integrative methodology was also established to cross-validate each method (presently an unresolved issue), and advance the study of material surface modification of biological and archaeological materials generally. In addition to providing an intellectual impact through methodological advances, the same data will directly address how biocultural changes in non-masticatory tooth-use reflect changing social identities across archaeological groups of the last foraging peoples (Mesolithic), nascent farming societies (Neolithic), and established agriculturalists (Chalcolithic) in the Iberian Peninsula.