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They discover the secrets of a 17th century aristocrat through her teeth

2023-01-26T16:52:11.170Z


This is Anne d'Alègre, who died in 1619 at the age of 54. Her body was well preserved in a lead coffin, as well as her teeth.


Thirty years after its discovery,

the skeleton of a Protestant French aristocrat

, from the time of the religious wars in that country, finally reveals the intimate secrets of that personality, and of its social environment.

The tomb of Anne d'Alègre,

who died in 1619

at the age of 54, was opened during excavations at the Château de Laval in 1988. Embalmed in a lead coffin, the skeleton was particularly well preserved,

as were its teeth.

Archaeologists discovered that this denture contained

a prosthesis

, but they did not have proper analysis tools to analyze that find.

The use of a 3D scanner has now revealed that the deceased suffered from a periodontal disease that causes tooth loss, according to a study published this week in the

Journal of Archeological Science.

Embalmed in a lead coffin, the skeleton was particularly well preserved, as were its teeth (AFP).

The prosthesis supported an incisor tooth,

made of elephant ivory

, supported by gold threads that at the same time held the premolars in place.

But this treatment actually "only succeeded in aggravating the situation" for the patient, explains Rozenn Colleter of the French Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research, lead author of the study.

In the long term, this treatment, which included "multiple mandatory reinforcements, caused the instability of the nearby teeth," the text explains.

The objective of such a prosthesis was not only therapeutic, but also aesthetic and, above all, social.

A noblewoman should try to preserve her healthy teeth for as long as possible.

In the words of Ambroise Paré, court physician and contemporary of Anne d'Alègre, "if a patient was toothless, his word was depraved", explains Rozenn Colleter.

Examination of his teeth reveals "a lot of stress" during those years.

And Anne d'Alègre must have suffered in addition to her because she endured her poorly configured prosthesis for years (AFP).

Controversial and twice widowed

And Anne d'Alègre was also a "controversial" personality,

twice a widow

and "without a good reputation", explains this archaeo-anthropologist.

She was first married to Paul de Coligny, the last Count of Laval.

She was widowed at 21, with a son.

France is torn at that time by clashes between Catholics and Protestants.

She is a Huguenot Protestant.

She hides her son so that she does not suffer the wrath of the ultra-Catholics, but

she loses guardianship of her and her property

by order of the king.

She remarries the governor of Normandy.

Her son, Guy XX, converts to Catholicism and dies at the age of 20 on a

religious crusade.

The prosthesis supported an incisor tooth, made of elephant ivory, supported by gold threads that at the same time held the premolars in place (AFP).

"For three years, Anne d'Alègre fought for Guy XX to be buried with his Protestant family," explains Rozenn Colleter.

She is widowed again, falls ill, and dies during the winter of 1619 at the age of 54.

Examination of his teeth reveals

"a lot of stress"

during those years.

And Anne d'Alègre must have suffered in addition to her because she endured her poorly configured prosthesis

for years.

Currently one in two people in the world suffers from what is known as bruxism (teeth grinding).

AFP Agency.

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Source: clarin

All news articles on 2023-01-26

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