Workers excavating a subway line in Melbourne, Australia, recently uncovered a gruesome surprise — more than 1,000 human teeth, many of them riddled with enormous cavities.
There was no suspicion of foul play; the teeth had been discarded by a dentist — a man named J.J. Forster who practiced at the turn of the 20th century — and several other nearby dentists on the same block, after the teeth were yanked from the gums of their owners, according to Melbourne news site The Age.
Forster worked as a dentist at 11 Swanston Street in the Australian state of Victoria from 1898 until the 1930s, and the site of his former practice is currently part of an archaeological dig by the Victoria government. Now halfway to completion, the six-month project is being conducted in preparation for building two new Metro Tunnel stations, the Australian Broadcasting Company reported.
Enormous, gaping holes in many of the recovered teeth suggest that their former owners endured years of agonizing pain before the teeth were finally extracted, The Age reported.
Representatives of the Metro Tunnel first shared photos of the finds on Aug. 17 in a tweet; the images included half a set of dentures, a tooth with a gold filling and a handful of assorted molars and incisors. At the time of the photo, workers had unearthed 200 teeth. They were found inside an iron pipe and scattered in sediment nearby. The teeth were “probably flushed down a drain,” according to the tweet.
read more at livescience.com
So far we have found more than 1000 human teeth and a coin worth $3000 through our archaeological investigations in the CBD pic.twitter.com/54e2Zc3fvp
— Metro Tunnel (@metrotunnelvic) August 23, 2018
More than 200 teeth and half a set of dentures have been found at no. 11 Swanston Street! No, not a grisly discovery, but the remains of a former dentistry practice that belonged dentist and surgeon JJ Forster ?. pic.twitter.com/yu97QsGM3E
— Metro Tunnel (@metrotunnelvic) August 17, 2018