CAT scan reveals Pompeii victims had perfect teeth

29/09/2015 18:34
(AGI) Naples, Sept 29 - A multi-layer CAT scan on 18 ofPompeii's body casts revealed that the victims of the disasterhad perfect teeth - barring cavities and other pathologies thatcan only be revealed with different medical examinations - andfractured craniums. The analysis of the casts, which wererestored in August, therefore debunks two long-held myths onancient Romans. The findings support the inhabitants of themerchant city at the foothill of Mount Vesuvius had noimmediate discernible need for dentists and likely died fromhead injuries caused by crumbling roofs or walls duringvolcanic event in 79 AD rather than suffocation. The 16-layermachine was loaned by Philips Healthcare and also gathered dataon the casts of two animals, most likely a dog and a boar."This project offers an infinite range of approaches toresearchers," Giovanni Babino, the radiologist in charge of thescans, told AGI. "From an analysis of the inhabitants'lifestyles or their teeth or other medical factors, toreconstructing the history of the casts themselves and therestoration work they have undergone." The multi-layer scanswere carried out by the special superintendency on Tuesdaymorning through an MX16 machine equipped with a 5.0 MHU CTtube, producing 3D volumes which, through post-processing andspecific software and hardware wanted by Babino, will allow a3D reconstruction of the casts' skeletons and dental arches tobe made. The superintendency also plans to create a databasefor researchers to use, providing a 'fingerprint' of the casts,which now evidence years of interventions to reinforce theplaster through wood and metal. Many of the casts were made inthe 19th century. The examination of the teeth, overseen byspecialised dentist Elisa Vanacore, was also crucial forarcheological reasons, as it provided information on thevictims' lifestyles and on their age and gender. The casts wereof men, women and a child. They were selected among the 86casts restored this summer, 20 of which were then displayed atthe Pompeii dig site. They are also being scanned by lasers toproduce 1:1 scale replicas in polymers derived from cornstarch. (AGI). .