Historians chew over mystery of old tooth from Boleyn home (UK)

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Molar that was discovered in attic of Blickling Hall is thought to date from second world war.

The National Trust is appealing for information about a human tooth that has turned up alongside Jacobean furniture and old masters during the annual winter cleaning of a stately pile.

The badly decayed molar, still with small scraps of flesh attached, was found in an attic cabinet at Blickling Hall, former home of the Boleyn family whose most famous member, Anne, lost her head in 1536 on the orders of King Henry VIII.

The tooth is thought to be much more recent than Anne's Tudor days, prompting the trust's hopes that its former owner, or a relative, may have information about home dentistry or possibly a fight at the mansion in Norfolk. The trust's regional archaeologist, Angus Wainwright, said today: "Perhaps there was a servants' brawl or maybe an airman lost a tooth when the RAF took the hall over during the second world war."

Scientific dating tests are likely to be applied to the tooth, although removal from a burial has already been ruled out. Wainwright said: "It has never been buried in the ground because you can see some of the red mush still present, so I'd say it was probably lost right here in the attics."

The tooth will go on display when Blickling reopens at the end of February.

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