Forensic odontological examination of a 1500 year-old human remain in ancient Korea (Gaya)

S. Lee, U. Y. Lee, S. H. Han, S. S. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Forensic odontological examination was performed on one of the 1500-year old human remains of ancient Korea (Gaya) excavated from a burial site at Songhyeon-dong, Changnyeong, South Korea in April, 2008. The main purpose of the examination was to age estimate the remains and record any dental characteristics to aid full-body reconstruction and life history data collection. Oral and radiographic examinations and metric data collection were conducted. During the oral examination, the following observations were made: dental caries, semi-circular abrasion on the maxillary right lateral incisor and enamel hypoplasia on the left and right canines and first premolars in the mandible. The metric data was similar to that of average metric data of modern Koreans. Age estimation was initially conducted using the degree of dental attrition with methods of Takei and Yun, and was estimated to be approximately 40 years. However, it was observed in the radiographic examination, that the maxillary right second molar, together with the mandibular left and right second and third molars had incompletely developed root apices. The age estimation was then performed using the developmental status of the lower second and third molars. The age was estimated to be approximately 16 years using Lee's method which was consistent with the estimation using forensic anthropology. This case study highlights that the degree of attrition should not be used as a sole indicator for age estimation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-13
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Forensic Odonto-Stomatology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • Ancient remains
  • Attrition
  • Dental age estimation
  • Enamel hypoplasia
  • Korea


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