Research ArticleANTHROPOLOGY

Medieval women’s early involvement in manuscript production suggested by lapis lazuli identification in dental calculus

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Science Advances  09 Jan 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 1, eaau7126
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aau7126

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  • RE: Medieval woman's early involvemnt in manuscript production suggested by lapis lazuli identification in dental calculus
    • Robert Renner, Dentist, University at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY, 11994, USA

    As as dental anatomist, and medieval ms collector I appreciated the uncovering of women in addition to men in the production of medieval manuscripts. But as a dental researcher I would hope there would be more than one example of lapis lazuli found in dental calculus in this medieval nun. A single example would not pass the muster of saying that nuns were part of medieval scriptorium unless numerous other examples were unearthed. But the research is truly fascinating and opens a new light on medieval manuscript production. Respectfully, Robert P. Renner,D.D.S., Professor (Emeritus), University at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY, USA. Email rprenner@gmail.com.

    Competing Interests: None declared.
  • RE: A DENTIST'S PRESPECTIVE AS TO WHY LAPIS LAZULI ENDED UP IN THE DENTAL CALCULUS OF A MEDIEVAL WOMAN:

    A DENTIST'S PRESPECTIVE AS TO WHY LAPIS LAZULI ENDED UP IN THE DENTAL CALCULUS OF A MEDIEVAL WOMAN:

    I have few questions wavering in my mind. I want to know. Why is there only blue pigment present in the dental calculus of the medieval woman's teeth. Why not any other colors like red, green, etc if she is a painter? Iam sure she would use many colors in her paintings. Also if she had the habit of licking the painting brush to make the tip pointed, she would have done it with all colors including some colors which are toxic.

    So it is highly unlikely (even for a novice) painter to, not to know that the paints she/he is using may be toxic and dangerous.
    Lapis Lazuli was very expensive. So who could have gone to such a lengths to procure it? Who ever did it, would have not done unless it is several times more profitable to him.

    Dentists know the significance of blue color when dealing with brightening of teeth. Many laundry men use blue to brighten the white color clothes. Iam sure many other skulls which are yet to be found in the future in that same graveyard, will have ultramarine in their teeth.

    My opinion is that Lapis Lazuli ended up in dental calculus because it was applied on purpose to brighten the teeth.

    -Dr.Azhar Akhil

    Competing Interests: None declared.

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