In adding detail to their illuminations, it is plausible to assume that artists would have occasionally licked their brushes to make a fine point, a practice that later artist manuals refer to explicitly. In doing so, pigments, such as lapis lazuli, may have been introduced into the oral cavity, where they could have become entrapped within dental calculus. The repeated activity of inserting the tip of the brush into the mouth could explain the distribution pattern.
The archaeologists do hedge their bets by suggesting several other scenarios ("it is possible that the lapis lazuli ... entered the oral cavity through the kissing of painted images"), but that's probably because they wanted to negate some of the embarrassment at having stumbled across Ralph Wiggum's medieval ancestor.
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