#Exhibit of the Month
The human mandible from Cobîlea
Throughout time, people have "worn" their teeth as some of their most precious ornaments. Precisely because of this, in many cultures, teeth have undergone changes countless times, acquiring various shapes and colors.
To this day, such local traditions are known in Bali as a rite of initiation for young people between the ages of 16 and 18. Such a practice symbolizes the entry into adult life. Such a procedure is believed to pacify six basic spiritual sins (among them greed, lust, avarice). And for this, six teeth are filed, including the fangs. The women of the Mentawai tribe, from the island of Sumatra, practice carving and sharpening their teeth, being convinced that this is the only way they become attractive. The procedure is performed without anaesthesia, by a local shaman, who, to make the ceremony as painful as possible, uses a chisel with a sharpened and blunt edge. The given ritual has been practiced for millennia at the request of entire generations of girls.
A human mandible with traces of such a ritual was discovered in the settlement of Cobîlnea "Stația" (Cobîlea village, Șoldănești district, year 1986) attributed to the Noua culture (late period of the Bronze Age, XV-XIII centuries BC). ). As a result of the anthropological analysis of the object, it was proven that the mandible belongs to a young man of European race, aged between 18 and 20 years old. The importance of this discovery lies in the rendering of an unusual practice for the communities of the Noua culture and in general for the prehistoric human populations that populated the Carpatho-Danubian-North Pontic space, namely - dental filing. The four incisor teeth are sectioned in half lengthwise, an operation performed shortly before the individual's death. It is not excluded that the mandible belonged to an allogene, which as a result of unknown circumstances arrived in this space and came into contact with the local population. But to verify such a hypothesis, a series of analyzes are needed (DNA, isotopic, 14C).
The grinding marks observed on some areas of the mandible do not exclude its use as a cult attribute (pendant) after the death of the individual.