Date of Award

Spring 5-8-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Frank L'Engle Williams

Second Advisor

Bethany Turner-Livermore

Third Advisor

Nicola Sharratt


Dental morphology, and specifically molar shape, is a genetically stable marker of affinity and can be used to conduct studies of relatedness of past populations. Maxillary first molars from four cave sites of the Belgian Neolithic were compared using elliptical Fourier analysis (EFA) in order to understand the impact of both chronology and geographic distance on differences in molar crown shape within and between caves. Principal components analysis (PCA) revealed that individuals tended to cluster together based on cave burial as well as time period between sites, regardless of geographic distance. These findings contribute to the growing academic literature surrounding the use of dental morphology to understand human population dynamics of early farmers at the brink of the northern European Bronze Age.


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