This Stone Age human jawbone contains a tooth with the
oldest filling ever found
We’re lucky to live in a modern age, an age when, instead of ripping out a painful cavity-ridden tooth, we can have dentists drill away the rotten bit and plug up the hole with a filling. But a new discovery reveals that fillings aren’t just modern conveniences: they date back to the Stone Age. Researchers have discovered that a tooth on a 6500-year-old human jawbone has a large cavity covered by a beeswax cap—making that wax the oldest dental filling ever discovered.
The well-cared-for jaw was discovered in a cave in Slovenia. Radiocarbon dating indicates that both the jawbone and the wax filling come from the Stone Age. And a close examination of the teeth shows that the left canine has worn enamel, a vertical crack, and a beeswax cap that partially fills the cavity.
While the beeswax may have been applied as a coating before the crack opened, or placed after death as part of a funeral ritual, the researchers think it was a filling. It looks like the cavity formed before the wax’s application, and it seems odd that a …