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Evaluating morphological variability in lithic assemblages using 3D models of stone artifacts

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... After their description by Rust (1950) Pastoors et al. 2009;Bretzke and Conard 2012). Their lithic technological characteristics can be summarized as follows. ...
... In KS 5, the technological spectrum includes unidirectional and bidirectional reduction on highly convex reduction surfaces, as well as the production of twisted blades (Bretzke and Conard 2012). In contrast to KS 7 and 6, bidirectional reduction in KS 5 involves cores with two opposed platforms serving two independent reduction surfaces. ...
... Assemblages from the overlying sequence of KS 4 to 2 are characterized by an increasing emphasis on unidirectional reduction of cores with a trend toward lithic production on flat reduction surfaces (Bretzke and Conard 2012). Despite this trend, the overall lithic technological behavior remains largely unchanged in KS 4 to 2 compared to the underlying KS 5. ...
... Yabroud Rockshelter II (hereafter "YR2"), which is the focus of our study, contained a sequence of stratified layers, ∼ 3 m deep, with dense lithic deposits as well as intact ash concentrations (i.e., combustion remnants, most likely hearths), attesting to little post-depositional disturbance. As a result of Rust's excavations, this locality played an important role in defining the Levantine Palaeolithic (e.g., Bordes, 1955Bordes, , 1962Heinzelin, 1966;Solecki and Solecki, 1966, 1986Farrand, 1970;Ziffer, 1981;Gilead, 1991;Pastoors et al., 2008;Bretzke et al., 2011;Bretzke and Conard, 2012;Shimelmitz et al., 2016). Rust's assemblages are housed at the Institute of Prehistoric Archaeology, University of Cologne (Germany), where they have long been a focus of research (Bakdach, 1982;El-Kassem, 2001;Frank, 2004;Hauck et al., 2014). ...
... The depositional differences seem to roughly coincide with the MP-UP transition and might correlate with climatic changes (Pastoors et al., 2008). Lithic types associated with the MP occur in Layers 10-7, UP lithic types occur in Layers 5-1, and a possible "transitional" assemblage occurs in Layer 6 (Pastoors et al., 2008;Bretzke and Conard, 2012). The Layer 4 lithic assemblage includes a total of 882 chert artifacts (e.g., tools, cores, flakes, shatter) plus the obsidian artifact. ...
... Belfer-Cohen and Goring-Morris (2003) attribute Layer 4 to the Levantine Aurignacian tradition, while Schyle (1992) and Kuhn et al. (2003) assign it to the Ahmarian. Bretzke and Conard (2012) note that Layer 4′s emphasis on blades and unidirectional reduction favor an Ahmarian classification, while carinated scrapers, twisted blades, and multiple reduction strategies easily fit the Levantine Aurignacian. Readers interested in a detailed techno-typological analysis of the Layer 4 lithics are referred to Hauck et al. (2014). ...
Article
Identifying the movement of lithic materials to reconstruct social networks has been a mainstay of research into Palaeolithic cognition and behavior, but such datasets are often predicated on studies of cherts and similar siliceous rocks, the origins of which can be difficult to establish conclusively. Yabroud Rockshelter II (YR2) in southern Syria contained stratified Middle and Upper Palaeolithic layers and, therefore, played a key role in defining the Levantine Palaeolithic. One obsidian scraper was found in Layer 4, which, via techno-typological correlations with nearby sites, dates to ∼41–32 ka. Here we report our attribution of this scraper, based on its elemental analysis, to the Komürcü outcrops at Göllü Dağ volcano in central Turkey, ≥700 km on foot. This finding has three important implications. First, the earliest transport of obsidian into the Levant is usually associated with the Epipalaeolithic Natufian cultural complex (∼14.5–11.5 ka); however, the phenomenon dates farther back to a period following the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic transition. Second, Layer 4 is roughly contemporaneous with Layer C at Shanidar Cave in northern Iraq, where two obsidian flakes were sourced to eastern Turkey and/or the Caucasus, suggesting similar scales of interaction across the landscape. Lastly, the chert assemblage is presumed to be local (≤10 km), but the obsidian scraper suggests that there are other far- travelled artifacts, underscoring that visual identification of cherts might be underestimating the extent of Late Pleistocene mobility and networks.
... Still, both EG IV and NEG I assemblages are characterized by wide-fronted cores with minimal or no preparation and bladelets with wide, flat platforms, possibly related to the use of direct or indirect organic percussion technique. In contrast, the extraction of highly standardized, narrow, incurvated bladelets from the narrow side of flint nodules and the fixed set of core-maintenance operations attested by "formal" CTEs observed in EG I and III are already attested in the Levant during the Upper Palaeolithic Early Ahmarian culture (Bretzke and Conard 2012;Davidzon and Goring-Morris 2003;Goring-Morris and Davidzon 2006). ...
... The continuity between EG I and III and the Early Ahmarian manufacturing traditions (Bretzke and Conard 2012;Davidzon and Goring-Morris 2003;Goring-Morris and Davidzon 2006) further supports the conservative nature of the reduction method and technique (Marder 2002), and their possible use to track manufacturing traditions beyond the typological variability in the final tools. The Ahmarian technological concept focuses, in fact, on obtaining regular, elongated bladelets, easily modified in the intended final tools (El-Wad points) by marginal retouch (Davidzon and Goring-Morris 2003;Goring-Morris and Davidzon 2006). ...
... Technological continuity between the Kebaran and the Geometric Kebaran in Ein Gev highlights how populations occupying geographically limited areas may have preserved their particular manufacturing traditions over long periods, developing or adopting in turn typological traits of the EP cultural entities. In addition, continuity between EG I and III and the Early Ahmarian manufacturing traditions (Bretzke and Conard 2012;Davidzon and Goring-Morris 2003;Goring-Morris and Davidzon 2006) further supports the conservative nature of the reduction method and technique (Marder 2002). ...
Article
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In the Levant, the Epipalaeolithic is a long sequence of cultural entities dated between ca. 24,000 to 11,500 cal BP. Different Epipalaeolithic entities are mainly defined based on chronological and geographical patterns in the produced types of microliths. However, typological variability provides limited information on the dynamics of the local learning communities through time. The present study wishes to test whether the analysis of the microlith manufacturing process can help track the movement of people and ideas beyond the observed variability in microlith types, providing a novel insight on the population dynamics. The study focuses on the area of Ein Gev, where three different Early and Middle Epipalaeolithic cultural entities (Kebaran, Nizzanan, and Geometric Kebaran) were recorded respectively in three sites (Ein Gev I, III, and IV). We conducted an attribute analysis of cores and production blanks. Our results were discussed in light of a theoretical framework for the transmission of typological and technological traits among prehistoric populations. It suggests that, in a geographically limited area, continuity of technological traits among assemblages attributed to different cultural entities can be associated with continuity in the population. The analysis enabled tracking the continuity between the local Kebaran and Geometric Kebaran manufacturing traditions. In contrast, the Nizzanan occupation of the area presents technological traits that may reflect a different manufacturing tradition. It is suggested that the possible increase in territoriality of local groups can be considered among the factors that triggered, during the Natufian, the onset of sedentism.
... Abel et al. 2011;Buchanan & Collard 2010;Clarkson & Hiscock 2011;Lin et al. 2010;Magnani 2014;Morales et al. 2015;Porter et al. 2016;Shott 2014). Researchers have also begun to take advantage of techniques such as geometric morphometrics and landmark analysis (Archer et al. 2018;Davis et al. 2015;Lycett et al. 2006;Lycett & von Cramon-Taubadel 2013;Shott & Trail 2010), attribute-based principal components analysis (Scerri 2013), elliptical Fourier analysis (Chacón et al. 2016;Fox 2015;Iovita 2010;Iovita 2011;Iovita & McPherron 2011;Picin et al. 2014;Putt et al. 2014;Sholts et al. 2012), vector analysis (Bretzke & Conard 2012;Clarkson et al. 2006), and scar density analysis (Shipton and Clarkson 2015). ...
... Roussel 2013;Roussel et al. 2016). However, with few exceptions (Bretzke & Conard 2012) this has almost exclusively been done using qualitative descriptors and manual categorization. Developing sets of continuous variables to capture the diversity in blade core technology would be a significant step forward, and would give researchers an additional tool to better describe and compare artifacts across typologies and technocomplexes in a reproducible manner. ...
... Analyses of flake scar orientation (e.g. Bretzke and Conard 2012;Clarkson et al. 2006) could be an alternative avenue to pursue. ...
Article
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This study uses data extracted from 3D models to compare blade cores from the Châtelperronian and Protoaurignacian stone tool industries. These technocomplexes are at the center of the debate surrounding the interactions between Neanderthals and anatomically modern humans approximately 45 to 40,000 years ago. We created 3D models of lithic cores from the sites of Roc de Combe and Les Cottés using a standardized photogrammetry protocol. We then used data derived from these 3D models to make quantitative comparisons of artifact attributes that have previously been argued to distinguish the two stone tool industries in question. These attributes include the angle between the platform and flaking surfaces, the shape of core cross sections, and the angle between core axes. The conception of this study was not to privilege the use of new technological and statistical approaches over more traditional or qualitative forms of lithic analysis. Rather, our aim was to experiment with using digital tool to develop nuanced, reproducible ways to describe variability in lithic artifacts. Our results support the hypothesis that there is a difference in the angle between core surfaces between these two industries. Our analysis also indicates a difference in the angle between core axes, although we are more cautious in interpreting these results. An elliptical Fourier analysis of core cross section shape was inconclusive. We discuss what archaeological and methodological factors may have contributed to our results, and the roles of both qualitative and quantitative observations in archaeological research. 3D artifact models generated for this study are included as supplemental data and are available for use by other researchers.
... [4,6,7,8,9,10]). 3D methodology offers an automatic and bias-free method for extracting homologous parameters and measurements that are only available with this technology (4) or attributes that were not formerly readily quantifiable [10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17]. 3D scanning records the whole artefact and displays its digitized image as a triangulated point-cloud. ...
... These confirm that this method is relevant as a complementary quantitative approach for the study of human technological behaviour, with a wide array of applications (e.g. resharpening, shape, tool function and variability: [13,23,24,25,26,27,28,33,34,35,36,37,38,39,40,41,42]; technological attributes: [10,12,16,29,43,44,45,46,47]; post-depositional processes: [48]). ...
... We emphasize in this work the utility of expanding the application of methods and analyses based on 3D scanning in combination with, rather than instead of, more traditional quantitative and qualitative methods [12]. We anticipate that such combinations of quantitative and qualitative analytical approaches will increase the scope of lithic studies and their contribution to our knowledge and understanding of the variability of technological behaviours of past hominin populations, as well as their cultural and behavioural adaptive processes [7,34,42]. ...
... Since the work by Lycett and colleagues, several calls have been made to encourage wider adoption of these methods for the shape analysis of lithic artifacts and other objects of material culture [4,5]. These calls, which were indeed answered by an ever-growing volume of works [6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18], outlined some of the problems and difficulties entailed in the application of landmarks-based GM methods to material culture objects. The main problem was the lack of readily identifiable homologous landmarks on such artifacts, among others [5]. ...
... However, these lack 3D landmark acquisition capabilities [8-10, 13, 16]. A different computer program, which records 3-D landmarks on digital models, is IDAV Landmark [11,17]. This software, however, was designed mainly for 3-DGM analysis in the context of biological research and as such requires that both the studied object and the landmarks be positioned manually. ...
Article
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We present here a newly developed software package named Artifact GeoMorph Toolbox 3-D (AGMT3-D). It is intended to provide archaeologists with a simple and easy-to-use tool for performing 3-D landmarks-based geometric morphometric shape analysis on 3-D digital models of archaeological artifacts. It requires no prior knowledge of programming or proficiency in statistics. AGMT3-D consists of a data-acquisition procedure for automatically positioning 3-D models in space and fitting them with grids of 3-D semi-landmarks. It also provides a number of analytical tools and procedures that allow the processing and statistical analysis of the data, including generalized Procrustes analysis, principal component analysis, a warp tool, automatic calculation of shape variabilities and statistical tests. It provides an output of quantitative, objective and reproducible results in numerical, textual and graphic formats. These can be used to answer archaeologically significant questions relating to morphologies and morphological variabilities in artifact assemblages. Following the presentation of the software and its functions, we apply it to a case study addressing the effects of different types of raw material on the morphologies and morphological variabilities present in an experimentally produced Acheulian handaxe assemblage. The results show that there are statistically significant differences between the mean shapes and shape variabilities of handaxes produced on flint and those produced on basalt. With AGMT3-D, users can analyze artifact assemblages and address questions that are deducible from the morphologies and morphological variabilities of material culture assemblages. These questions can relate to issues of, among others, relative chronology, cultural affinities, tool function and production technology. AGMT3-D is aimed at making 3-D landmarks-based geometric morphometric shape analysis more accessible to archaeologists, in the hope that this method will become a tool commonly used by archaeologists.
... While a traditional point typological and attribute-based approach is not neglected, as noted above, a major focus of this research is on comparing point shape using a 3D geometric morphometric approach (3D GM). This approach has become increasingly used, in examining and comparing artifact assemblages in archaeology (see Bretzke and Conard 2012;Charlin and Gonzalez-Jose 2012;Crompton 2008;Gingerich et al. 2014; and offers a quantitative analysis of form. While it has been used several times in Paleoindigenous studies (Buchanan and Collard 2010;Buchannan et al. 2011, 2014, Shott and Otarola-Castillo 2021, it is a research avenue that has never been attempted within northwestern Ontario. ...
... de Azevedo et al. 2014;Brande and Saragusti 1996; Collard 2007, 2010;Buchanan et al. 2011 Buchanan et al. , 2014 Cardillo 2010;Davis et al. 2017; Fox 2015; Gero and Mazzullo 1984;Lenardi and Merwin 2010; Okumura and Araujo 2014). Other archaeological researchers have used morphometrics on other types of artifacts recovered from sites and, more recently, threedimensional morphometrics has begun to be employed to distinguish stylistic differences between similar types of artifacts(Bretzke and Conard 2012; Costa 2010; Gilboa et al. 2004; Gingerich et al. 2014;Grosman et al. 2008;Karasik and Smilansky 2008; Lycett 2009; Lycett and Von Cramon-Taubadel 2013;Eren and Lycett 2012; Saragusti et al. 2005). ...
Thesis
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Despite decades of archaeological investigations into the presence of people in northwestern Ontario during the late Pleistocene and early Holocene there is still a tenuous understanding of the timing and origins of those past groups that moved across the region. This is mainly a result of small sample sizes, acidic soils (that degrade organic materials) and low recoveries of diagnostic tools such as projectile points. The discovery of an uncharacteristically large Paleoindigenous site, the Mackenzie I site, east of Thunder Bay, yielded recoveries of artifacts in numbers never seen in the region. The exceptionally large number of projectile points recovered from this site offers a unique opportunity to examine Paleoindigenous activity. Projectile points are considered to contain a significant amount of cultural information in their shape, and in the method of manufacture used for shaping them, largely because they are the most "complex" of stone tools recovered. The recoveries from the Mackenzie I site allow for an in-depth analysis both from an intra-site perspective, as well as a comparison from an inter-region perspective using samples from Manitoba, Minnesota and across northwestern Ontario. In conjunction with a GIS density analysis to identify spatial clusters across the site, a 3-dimensional geometric morphometric (3DGM) examination of the morphological traits of the projectile points is completed. The resulting information offers insight in both how the site was used over time as well as highlighting stylistic variability between the identified areas of the site. Furthermore, part of the 3DGM results from the inter-region comparison indicate that shape variation from the Mackenzie I site is markedly different from all other samples, representing a restricted range of variation suggesting the site was occupied for a brief period of time. These findings contradict previous research, specifically for Minong beach sites, that suggested morphological variation within the region was continuous and multimodal, with attributes varying widely from site to site. Furthermore, additional impressionistic and typological analysis suggests that there is a close relationship stylistically between the points from the Mackenzie I site and western forms such as Jimmy Allen or possibly Angostura. This type of research has never been completed within the region and offers a glimpse into the activities and occupation of the largest Paleoindigenous site in northwestern Ontario.
... However, objects are generally scanned individually and the scanning and post-processing times can be extensive. Bretzke and Conard (2012) demonstrated that two objects can be scanned at a time. In some cases, multiple objects can be scanned simultaneously using medical or micro-CT. ...
... To set-up, scan and post-process 2, 474 fragments to make 3D models would minimally take 2, 061.5 hours of interactive user time, or 50 minutes per fragment. These times are similar to times reported elsewhere (see Ahmed, Carter, & Ferris, 2014;Bretzke & Conard, 2012;Kuzminsky & Gardiner, 2012;Magnani, 2014). ...
Preprint
Within anthropology, the use of three-dimensional (3D) imaging has become increasingly standard and widespread since it broadens the available avenues for addressing a wide range of key issues. The ease with which 3D models can be shared has had major impacts for research, cultural heritage, education, science communication, and public engagement, as well as contributing to the preservation of the physical specimens and archiving collections in widely accessible data bases. Current scanning protocols have the ability to create the required research quality 3D models; however, they tend to be time and labor intensive and not practical when working with large collections. Here we describe a streamlined, Batch Artifact Scanning Protocol we have developed to rapidly create 3D models using a medical CT scanner. Though this method can be used on a variety of material types, we use a large collection of experimentally broken ungulate limb bones. Using the Batch Artifact Scanning Protocol, we were able to efficiently create 3D models of 2,474 bone fragments at a rate of less than $3$ minutes per specimen, as opposed to an average of 50 minutes per specimen using structured light scanning.
... Closing the seams scanners (McPherron et al. 2009;Lin et al. 2010;Bretzke & Conard 2012;Magnani 2014). These scanners can range significantly in price, costing from several thousand US dollars for the most commonly employed systems, to several hundred thousand dollars for the highestprecision models. ...
... Finally, at the top end of the cost spectrum, computed tomography (CT) scanners are being employed in the analysis and publication of archaeological (Abel et al. 2011;Soressi et al. 2013;Cox 2015) or anthropological remains (Tryon et al. 2015). Between these two extremes are a few other frequently used options, including mid-range structured-light or laser scanners (McPherron et al. 2009;Lin et al. 2010;Bretzke & Conard 2012;Magnani 2014). ...
Article
Photogrammetry provides an accessible, cost-effective means of creating a high-resolution, digital 3D record of archaeological artefacts. The methodology has been widely adopted, but a number of issues remain, especially in relation to model variability, and to misalignments that result in gaps in the models generated. Two new approaches are presented here that have been shown to increase standardisation during data capture and processing routines. This ensures that models are seamless and quantitatively accurate.
... These preferences did not seem to have changed very much at Manot Cave, between the Ahmarian and Levantine Aurignacian in press). The Ahmarian Horizon at Manot Cave shares technotypological similarities with other sites within the Mediterranean zone; Ksâr 'Akil XVI-XX, Yabrud II 6e7, Üça gizli BeC, Qafzeh E and Kebara III-IV (Bergman, 1988;Bar-Yosef et al., 1996;Kuhn et al., 2003Kuhn et al., , 1999Bar-Yosef and Belfer-Cohen, 2005;Bretzke and Conard, 2012;Bergman et al., 2017;Bretzke et al., 2017;Demidenko and Hauck, 2017). The main characteristics include the use of opposed platform cores for blade production and small prismatic single-platform cores for blades and bladelets, use of ridge blades and rejuvenation blades, the presence of el-Wad points, retouched blades and composite tools, and end scrapers on blades and burins. ...
... Other sites in the Levant with assemblages which represent unique technological characteristics that do not fit the classical definitions of the Ahmarian and Levantine Aurignacian are either small assemblages or are curated assemblages (i.e., Yabroud Rockshelter II, Baaz Rockshelter and wadi Kharkar). These assemblages are important for understanding the Early UP cultural variability represented at Ksâr 'Akil, which is most probably larger than depicted in the Levantine Aurignacian-Ahmarian dichotomy (Azoury, 1986; Bergman and Goring-Morris, 1987; Bergman, 1987Bergman, , 1988Bergman, , 2003Pastoors et al., 2008;Williams and Bergman, 2010;Bretzke and Conard, 2012;Hauck et al., 2014;Belfer-Cohen and Goring-Morris, 2014a;Kadowaki et al., 2015;Bergman et al., 2017;Bretzke et al., 2017;Demidenko and Hauck, 2017;Kadowaki, 2018). The point made here is that although in the past, based on typological grounds, only the Ahmarian and Levantine Aurignacian cultural traditions were noted in the southern Mediterranean cave site, recent technotypological studies, including the present analysis, albeit the reservations noted above, hint at the presence of a wider cultural variability. ...
Article
For more than a century, prehistoric research has focused on cave sites and rock shelters, mostly because of good preservation of organic remains associated with stratified anthropogenic layers. Manot Cave in the Western Galilee, Israel offers the possibility of studying prehistoric assemblages in pristine condition because of the collapse of the cave entrance some 30 thousand years ago. Nine years of excavations have uncovered an Early Upper Paleolithic archaeological sequence. Area C, situated at the bottom of the talus, was exposed to fast and slow depositional and postdepositional processes affecting sediment accumulation. The central part of area C was selected for this study, as it was least disturbed. Following a technotypological analysis, and taking postdepositional processes into consideration, the assemblages were defined and assigned to the Levantine Aurignacian, and Ahmarian traditions. The two archaeological horizons are separated by a mixed horizon within which indicative artifacts of both traditions alternately appear. The Ahmarian assemblage, dated to 46-42 ka cal BP, fits within the northern Mediterranean Ahmarian sites, which technotypologically differs from and is currently dated earlier than the southern desert region Ahmarian sites. The main technotypological characteristics of the assemblage from the Levantine Aurignacian Horizon, dated to 38-34 ka cal BP, are comparable to those from Manot Cave area E layers V-VI, and Ks^ar ‘Akil levels VII-VIII. Yet, several technotypological elements seem more compatible with the unnamed assemblage from Ks^ar ‘Akil levels XI-XIII and possibly layer IX from area E.
... Core reduction strategies can be described in parallels terminology, with cores either emphasizing hierarchical or prepared design elements associated with highly mobile strategies or exhibiting expedient design traits more common among settled communities (Bretzke and Conard, 2012;Kuhn, 1991Kuhn, , 1992Parry and Kelly, 1987;Wallace and Shea, 2006). Prepared cores require more preparation and are designed to produce flakes that are of consistent size and shape. ...
... These rare instances were recorded as being flat to avoid conflation with actual core face curvature. Despite the weaknesses of this method, it remains useful for discussing core design (Andrefsky, 2005;Bretzke and Conard, 2012;Gilreath, 1984). ...
Article
Mobile pastoralism is the earliest form of food production to develop in Africa, and for the past 5000 years has remained one of the most important subsistence strategies for people across the continent. Despite its importance, the technological infrastructures that facilitated the successful spread of stone-tool–using pastoralists through environmentally heterogenous and climatically unpredictable regions remain poorly understood. This study provides comprehensive analyses of the lithic technological organization of early herders in southern Kenya responsible for the distinct “Elmenteitan” material traditions. Quantitative data on blade production strategies from thirteen Elmenteitan sites demonstrate that this group represents the emergence of new technological strategies based on participation in long-distance obsidian exchange networks, and flexible and versatile blade blank production. Elmenteitan lithic technological patterns are interpreted in terms of preparation for different configurations of local and regional mobility, which helped early herders manage environmental unpredictability in eastern Africa. These data provide a foundation for future study of the role of lithic technologies in pastoralist economies and contribute a case study from mobile food-producer contexts to global debates on the organization of stone tool economies.
... Two main 3D field recording technologies are most often applied in archaeology: laser scanning and image-based modeling (henceforth IBM). To be clear, these are not the only three-dimensional technologies applied to archaeology, nor do they account for the rapidly expanding category of 3D-based lab analysis of artifacts (e.g., Bretzke and Conard 2012;Karasik and Smilansky 2008). However, this discussion will focus on 3D recording in the field, which is primarily done through laser scanning and IBM. ...
Chapter
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3D recording of archaeological sites is one of the trendiest applications in archaeology today. Archaeologists are increasingly devoted to applying three-dimensional approaches, with a variety of techniques and results. As these methods become increasingly common, archaeologists face an important challenge: that of ensuring the data they collect is relevant to the research questions they investigate. For many archaeologists, anthropologically focused or otherwise, these questions may often relate to grand narratives of culture change or similarly broad topics. Very little effort has gone into connecting the results or outputs of the ongoing “3D revolution” in archaeology to broader theoretical issues, with no middle range theory adequately connecting these new methods to one of archaeology’s ultimate goals—studying culture change. It has yet to be established whether or not 3D recording will form the basis of the next revolution in archaeological practice akin to the development and ubiquitous adoption of archaeological GIS, if it will be seen as a purely methodological advance, or even if it will be relegated to sideshow status as an aesthetically pleasing but ultimately unproductive party trick. This chapter will discuss the usefulness of 3D field recording for contributing to the grand narratives told by archaeology and take a critical perspective as to whether or not 3D recording can truly contribute to answering the questions asked by archaeologists worldwide regardless of region or era of focus.
... In lithic studies, 3D optical scanners certainly represent one of the most powerful tools to create noninvasive, cost-effective and high-quality 3D models, even allowing insitu measurement (McPherron et al., 2009). The use of 3D digital models of lithic artefacts is increasingly popular among archaeologists not only to create virtual archives but also to evaluate morphological variability (Bretzke and Conard, 2012), cortex ratios (Lin et al., 2010) or reduction sequences (Clarkson et al., 2014). Scholars and practitioners in the discipline are especially focusing on the use of 3D digital models as the basis for automatic technical documentation drafting. ...
Article
Despite the existence of a wide variety of standards to create hand-made illustrations of lithic artefacts, the conventional process is laborious, time-consuming and the quality of the drawings is highly variable. In this paper, a novel computer-based methodology to create automatic technical documentation of lithic artefacts, in the form of manual-like drawings, is presented. The method exploits the artefact digital model obtained by a 3D optical scanner. An optimization process is proposed to orient the digital model reproducing the conventional positioning. A lighting model is used to introduce an illumination source having different directions, to highlight surface details. A set of images is then created and segmented to retrieve the artefact outline and the internal ridges between flake scars. Potentialities of the proposed methodology are illustrated by analyzing three different stone artefacts acquired by a structured light scanner. 2D technological drawings are automatically created and compared to those obtained by an experienced lithic illustrator.
... The ways in which lithic analysts measure and discuss the variability of stone artifact technology have changed substantially through time and across space (Monnier and Missal 2014;Trigger 1989). By the 2000s, the advent of computer-assisted lithic analysis dramatically altered this trajectory with considerable focus on three-dimensional methods of analysis (Archer et al. 2015;Bretzke and Conard 2012;Clarkson et al. 2006;Lin et al. 2010). Three-dimensional digital analysis enables analysts to measure aspects of artifact form-such as angles and volumeswhich are otherwise time-consuming or nearly impossible to capture with two-dimensional measurements. ...
Article
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Levallois technology is a hallmark of many Middle and Late Pleistocene stone artifact assemblages, but its definition has been much debated. Here we use three-dimensional photogrammetry to investigate the geometric variation among Levallois and discoidal core technologies. We created models of experimental and archaeological stone artifact assemblages to quantitatively investigate the morphologies of Levallois and discoidal core technologies. Our results demonstrate that technological characteristics of Levallois technology can be distinguished from discoidal variants by analyzing the relative volumes and angles of the two flaking surfaces. We apply these methods to a random subset of Middle Paleolithic cores from Skhūl (Israel) and show that, overall, the Skhūl archaeological sample falls in range with the experimental Levallois sample. This study advocates the investigation of core technology on a spectrum to elucidate particular reduction trajectories while maintaining visible outliers and dispersion within an assemblage. Our quantified approach to studying centripetal core technology broadly is particularly applicable in studies related to forager mobility strategy and raw material use. Ultimately, the methods developed here can be used across temporal and geographic boundaries and facilitate attribute-based inter-site comparisons.
... This method needs a longer measuring protocol than other estimating methods because a 3D digitalization of the artifacts is required. In the past few years, the number of lithic studies that uses laser or structured light 3D scans has increased exponentially (Grosman et al. 2008;Lin et al. 2010;Shott and Trail 2010;Clarkson and Hiscock 2011;Bretzke and Conard 2012). Nevertheless, 3D scan is still a time-consuming procedure that complicates its systematic application to large archaeological or experimental samples. ...
Article
This document compiles the complete set of 3D models used for the experimental work of the paper: Morales, J. I., et al. (2015). "Measuring Retouch Intensity in Lithic Tools: A New Proposal Using 3D Scan Data." Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 22(2): 543-558. Zenodo Dataset, find at: https://zenodo.org/record/1405047 It includes 3D scans from both unmodified and modified flakes (X & Xb). All the flakes produced in this experiment were produced by freehand hard hammer percussion and no specific flaking method was followed. Diferents types of tertiary evaporitic flint described in Soto, M., et al. (2017). "The chert abundance ratio (CAR): a new parameter for interpreting Palaeolithic raw material procurement." J. Archaeol Anthropol Sci. (https://doi.org/10.1007/s12520-017-0516-3) were used.
... Paralelamente a dichas aplicaciones, un número creciente de proyectos arqueológicos fundamentan sus investigaciones en el análisis de modelos digitales 3D generados con sistemas ópticos de medición de corto alcance. Entre éstos pueden citarse estudios cuantitativos que abordan distintos aspectos de la tecnología lítica, por ejemplo aquellos dedicados al retoque, la dinámica de reducción y la predicción de masa o del volumen originales de los artefactos (Clarkson y Hiscock, 2011;Lin et al., 2010;Morales et al., 2015;Muller y Clarkson, 2014), así como la caracterización y variabilidad morfológicas (Bretzke y Conard, 2012;Li et al., 2016;Moitinho de Almeida, 2013, Moitinho de Almeida et al., 2013aShipton y Clarkson, 2015) (figura 1). ...
... 3D models of the cores have been used to quantify the Scar Pattern Index (SPI), proposed by Clarkson and colleagues (Clarkson et al., 2006), by computing the vectors established by the initial and final coordinates of each removal. SPI values, ranging from 0 to 1, were obtained by dividing the norm of the vector resulting from the addition of all the vectors, by the sum of the norms of all the vectors (Bretzke & Conard, 2012;Clarkson et al., 2006). Values close to 0 are related to opposing scar patterns, as in the case of opposite bipolar strategies; while values close to 1 mean that the vectors run parallel to each other, as in longitudinal unipolar strategies. ...
Article
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The ability of early hominins to overcome the constraints imposed by the characteristics of raw materials used for stone tool production is a key topic on the discussion about the evolution of hominin cognitive capabilities and technical behaviours. Thus, technological variability has been the centrepiece on this debate. However, the variability of lithic assemblages cannot be correctly interpreted without understanding site occupational models and function and considering that individual tools represent specific discard moments in a continuous reduction process. In Europe, the earliest technological record is represented by the scarce and scattered Mode 1 technologies, often deriving from occasional occupations or restricted activity areas yielding unrepresentative assemblages. In this paper, we approach the technological behaviours exhibited by Lower Palaeolithic hominins from the subunit TD6.2 of the Gran Dolina site (Atapuerca, Burgos) by including the perspective of reduction intensity studies on the analysis of technological variability. Gran Dolina TD6.2 is a unique and extremely significant archaeological context, as it represents the oldest multi-layered unit of domestic hominin occupations in the Early Pleistocene of Europe. We use the Volumetric Reconstruction Method (VRM) to estimate the original volume of the blanks and quantify the reduction intensity of each core individually to characterise the reduction distribution patterns using Weibull probability distribution functions. Our results suggest differential raw material management in terms of reduction intensity, according to the characteristics of each lithology. This could reflect a solid understanding of raw material qualities and a certain degree of planning. Altogether, the continuity between knapping strategies through reduction denotes constant adaptation to raw material constraints as well as particular knapping conditions, rather than specific compartmentalised mental schemes. In conclusion, Homo antecessor toolmakers would have been situational knappers whose technological behaviour would be highly adaptive. This research constitutes the first reduction approach for the European Early Pleistocene assemblages that will lead to a referential framework for other European Early Pleistocene sites.
... For these reasons, we tried a different approach obtaining three-dimensional templates of the artifacts, in order to be able of analyze them more easily on a virtual system. As previously established in papers on lithic technology and other disciplines within prehistoric archaeology (Bretzke & Conard, 2012;Clarkson & Hiscock, 2011;Lin et al., 2010;Richardson et al., 2013), the analysis of threedimensional models can be used to obtain morphometric data that would be otherwise inaccessible with the traditional method. For lithic refitting, the analysis is focused Fig. 3. Cross-sections of the refitted core: the upper one shows the progression of the core reduction viewed from the upper surface (surface A), with the detached flakes succession showing a turning exploitation pattern in a clockwise sense, strictly following the peripheral edge according to a discoid concept. ...
Article
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Lithic refitting studies have consistently contributed to address two specific research aims: the intra-site mobility and identification of preferential areas or latent structures, and the in-depth analysis of the knapping technologies and core reduction strategies. Multiple refits, in particular, can produce highly detailed data on knapped stone technology. Elucidating human skills and lithic economy, a potential still rarely evaluated for Discoid technology: a stone knapping method largely spread across the Middle Paleolithic of Europe. The opportunity to explore Neanderthal knapping behavior is provided from the remarkable discovery of a primary lithic waste concentration in the Mousterian Discoid level of the Grotta di Fumane, Italy, dated to at least 47.6 ky cal BP. With a combined approach that included the 3D virtual interaction, we were able to reproduce a complete reduction sequence that supports the technological analysis conducted on the lithic assemblage. Results lead to a better comprehension of the knapper's technological and technical behavior, including the detection and quantification of economic objectives and productivity.
... Recently, however, other approaches were added, combining the two types of analyses (Hovers, 2009;Nigst, 2012;Scerri et al., 2016;Tostevin, 2012). At the same time, new technologies such as the use of 2D and 3D digital images of artifacts (Bretzke & Conard, 2012;Chac on et al., 2016;Dogand zić, Braun, & McPherron, 2015;Grosman, 2016), have opened new perspectives in the field of lithic analysis. However, the use of these very different methods has sometimes contributed to impeding communication between researchers as well as restricting comparisons between stone tool assemblages. ...
... Other drawbacks in applying these results to the archaeological record include the feasibility of scanning and land-marking large archaeological collections at this point in time. However, the efficiency of scanning technologies and the availability of digital methodologies for landmarking stone artefacts have both increased at an exponential rate within just the last 5 to 6 years (Bretzke and Conard 2012;Grosman 2016;Morales et al. 2015). Applying these newly available digital tools to wider ranges of experimental as well as archaeological flake collections and in pursuit of tackling more complex questions about the technological behaviour of past hominins comprise exciting new avenues of this research. ...
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The archaeological record represents a window onto the complex relationship between stone artefact variance and hominin behaviour. Differences in the shapes and sizes of stone flakes—the most abundant remains of past behaviours for much of human evolutionary history—may be underpinned by variation in a range of different environmental and behavioural factors. Controlled flake production experiments have drawn inferences between flake platform preparation behaviours, which have thus far been approximated by linear measurements, and different aspects of overall stone flake variability (Dibble and Rezek when the results are applied to archaeological assemblages, there remains a substantial amount of unexplained variability. It is unclear whether this disparity between explanatory models and archaeological data is a result of measurement error on certain key variables, whether traditional analyses are somehow a general limiting factor, or whether there are additional flake shape and size drivers that remain unaccounted for. To try and circumvent these issues, here, we describe a shape analysis approach to assessing stone flake variability including a newly developed three-dimensional geometric morphometric method ('3DGM'). We use 3DGM to demonstrate that a relationship between platform and flake body governs flake shape and size variability. Contingently, we show that by using this 3DGM approach, we can use flake platform attributes to both (1) make fairly accurate stone flake size predictions and (2) make relatively detailed predictions of stone flake shape. Whether conscious or instinctive, an understanding of this geometric relationship would have been critical to past knap-pers effectively controlling the production of desired stone flakes. However, despite being able to holistically and accurately incorporate three-dimensional flake variance into our analyses, the behavioural drivers of this variance remain elusive.
... Over the last few years, many studies have focused on digital survey techniques (mainly short-range laser scanner and photogrammetry) to establish affordable and efficient pipelines for the production of artefact's digital 3D replicas (Koutsoudis et al., 2013), for geometric analysis (Barazzetti et al., 2010) and for visualization purpose (Gonizzi Bersanti et al., 2015). Research efforts are increasingly focused on the measurement and 3D documentation of medium and small archaeological finds, such as to study the technological and morphological variability of artefacts (Bretzke & Conard, 2012) and to create accurate models in a time-and resource-efficient manner (Olson et al., 2013). The study of ancient pottery is a crucial phase in the archaeological interpretation, from different points of view, as for example the chronological or cultural aspects. ...
Article
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The paper presents a digital approach to the reconstruction and analysis of two small-sized fragments of louteria, a kind of large terracotta vase, found during an archaeological survey in the south of Sicily (Italy), in the area of Cignana near the Greek colony of Akragas (nowadays Agrigento). The fragments of louteria have been studied by an image-based approach in order to achieve high accurate and very detailed 3D models. The 3D models have been used to carry out interpretive and geometric analysis from an archaeological point of view. Using different digital tools, it was possible to highlight some fine details of the louteria decorations and to better understand the characteristics of the two fragments. The 3D models provide also the possibility to study and to document these archaeological finds in a digital environment.
... Based on its potential, it is obvious why 3D scanning has been employed in the development of computer-based analytical methods to approach a variety of questions (Lin et al., 2010;Clarkson and Hiscock, 2011;Bretzke and Conard, 2012;Richardson et al., 2013). This application has been made possible thanks to the high level of precision, quantification, and detail yielded by 3D scanning. ...
... Por lo tanto son, en general, trabajos en los que a partir del modelo tridimensional de las piezas, se intentan crear nuevas metodologías de medición precisa por medio de softwares aplicados a parámetros concretos. Así pues, hay quienes lo emplean para estimar la variación morfológica de los conjuntos a fin de clasificar formalmente las industrias (Bretzke y Conard, 2012), quienes lo emplean para aproximarse a las secuencias de reducción (Lin et alii, 2010;Morales, Lorenzo y Vergès, 2015), o quienes con enfoques morfométricos lo utilizan para realizar análisis de contornos (Sholts et alii, 2012). Sin embargo, si alguien destaca en este campo es el profesor Chris Clarkson, que interesado en las cuestiones del comportamiento y la cognición durante el Paleolítico, ha realizado varios trabajos en los que, mediante el 3D, trata de profundizar en los sistemas de explotación de núcleos y configuración de herramientas mediante diferentes cuantificaciones sobre la pauta dorsal (Clarkson, Vinicius y Mirazón Lahr, 2006), la masa perdida en el proceso de talla (Clarkson, 2013;Clarkson, Shipton y Weisler, 2014 o la masa original de las lascas a partir del estudio de las superficies talonares (Clarkson y Hiscock, 2011;y Muller y Clarkson, 2014). ...
Article
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3D techniques are nowadays widely used in a variety of heritage studies. The so-called “virtual archaeology” constitutes a good example of the growing strength accomplished by these techniques. Paleolithic studies have incorporated an increasing number of 3D routines in fieldwork, lithic, fossil bone and rock art studies, in order to enhance their analytical and interpretative tools. In this paper we present an updated review of the current uses and future possibilities of 3D techniques applied to Archaeology, particularly focusing on the Paleolithic record. In order to show the way in which the array of 3D techniques can be applied in Lower Palaeolithic contexts, two case studies are presented here. Through the digitalization of Acheulean lithic artefacts, the first example shows to what extent both formal representation and technological interpretation can benefit from 3D representation. Secondly, by comparing more traditional drawing procedures and photogrammetry we aim to stress how the later constitutes a much more efficient tool for data recovery and management in on-site archaeological fieldwork. In sum, this paper underlines how a wide range of archaeological procedures and studies can benefit from 3D technologies. Resumen. La introducción de las técnicas 3D en el contexto patrimonial es una realidad plenamente consumada tal y como lo demuestra la aparición de la denominada “arqueología virtual”. Siguiendo esta tendencia, los estudios centrados en el Paleolítico han sufrido una verdadera revolución en sus trabajos de investigación y documentación de restos óseos, manifestaciones artísticas, colecciones líticas y trabajo de campo al poder mejorar y ampliar sus estudios hacia múltiples direcciones. Así pues, tras la presentación de un amplio estado de la cuestión sobre la utilización y las posibilidades de los métodos y herramientas tridimensionales tanto en la arqueología en general como en el mundo del Paleolítico en particular, se exponen dos ejemplos concretos de aplicación de tales técnicas a un conjunto de materiales y yacimientos adscritos al Paleolítico inferior africano. Por un lado, se describe la digitalización de artefactos líticos achelenses como medio de estudio y representación de los mismos; y por otro, se analiza la documentación del proceso de excavación mediante fotogrametría, como medio alternativo al levantamiento de plantas y secciones de manera manual. De este modo, la utilización y el empleo de las tecnologías 3D se muestra como un mecanismo viable que favorece y facilita el estudio del registro arqueológico.
... As shown in the examples above, lithic studies use shape analyses of artifacts to obtain insights into the lithic evolution and particularly the stages of lithic chaînes opératoires or the "operational sequences." These stages include (a) the procurement of raw materials (i.e., cortex coverage; see Lin et al. 2010) and tool production (i.e., technological aspects; e.g., Bretzke & Conard 2012, Clarkson & Hiscock 2011, followed by (b) their utilization (i.e., typological features; e.g., Grosman et al. 2011a) and resharpening of the tools (Zaidner & Grosman 2015), and ending with (c) the final abandonment of the object, frequently accompanied by various postdepositional processes (Grosman et al. 2011b). These studies trace variations over the use history of tools ranging from the early handaxe to late projectile points in archaeological contexts around the world (North and South Africa, North America, Southern Levant, etc.). ...
Article
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Archaeologists generally agree that high-power computer technology constitutes the most efficient venue for addressing many issues in archaeological research. Digital techniques have become indispensable components of archaeological surveys, fieldwork, lab work, and communication between researchers. One of the greatest advantages of the digital approach is its ability to examine large assemblages of items using advanced statistical methods. Digital documentation has reached the point of no return in archaeological research, and reverting to traditional methods is highly improbable. However, digital data may also contain additional information that has yet to be extracted by computer analysis. In this arena, new computer algorithms can be triggered by research questions that cannot be addressed without digital models. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Anthropology Volume 45 is October 21, 2016. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/catalog/pubdates.aspx for revised estimates.
... Beyond estimating reduction intensity, 3D scanning approaches to lithic analysis are becoming more common, and powerful conclusions have been drawn using such technology including morphology (Bretzke and Conard, 2012), reduction sequences (Clarkson et al., , 2015Goren-Inbar et al., 2011), typology (Grosman et al., 2008), cortex ratios (Lin et al., 2010) and taphonomy . However, such 3D scanning approaches remain costly and time consuming, thus measuring platform area with 3D scans is rarely feasible, especially in field archaeology scenarios. ...
... The accuracy of acquired point cloud AQ1 achieve sub-millimeter range, and the operation resolution are excellent [12]. At present the main application areas of MPT are quality control, reverse engineering and 3D modeling, especially works of art and archaeological research and digital archiving [13,14]. Micro-CT (micro-computer tomography) is a non-contact 3D imaging technique that can clearly acquire the external configuration and internal micro structures of the sample without destroying itself. ...
Chapter
The rapid, efficient and non-destructive 3D morphological data acquisition of plants are great significance to the study of digital plant, functional structural plant model and crop phenotype. This paper discusses 3D data acquisition methods for smaller plant organs, which take maize grain as an example. Smartscan and Micro-CT scanning can be used to obtain the morphological data of the grains. The efficiency, accuracy, processing of data in two scanning ways are compared and analyzed. The results shows that the Micro-CT is more suitable for obtaining information of internal structure of maize grain. While grain morphology in SmartScan can get better visualization than Micro-CT, and the former one can also obtain image texture information. These two kinds of methods for volume measurement have good consistency except for Denghai 605. The study will provide theoretical basis for obtaining 3D data of plant organs at smaller scales.
... The relative position in 3D space of the points is then determined through triangulation (Luhmann et al. 2013;Porter et al. 2016). Both techniques give the possibility to produce highresolution 3D models, which can be used in geometric morphometric analysis of stone tools (Bretzke and Conard 2012;Chacòn et al. 2016;Grosman et al. 2008;Morales et al. 2015), percussion tools (e.g., Caruana et al. 2014;Benito-Calvo et al. 2015), and cutmarks on bone surfaces (Arriaza et al. 2017;Maté-González et al. 2018;Maté-González et al. 2017). For the purpose of this study, we adopted the photogrammetric technique, following the methodological framework proposed by Porter et al. (2016) to produce accurate 3D models of the experimental groundstones before and after use. ...
Article
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In recent years, several works have proved the reliability of the application of 3D modeling and spatial analysis in the study of stone tool use. Monitoring surface morphometry resulting from the use of lithic tools has the potential to objectively quantify and identify patterns of modifications associated to specific activities and worked materials. In particular, the combination of surface morphometry with a systematic experimental framework and use wear analysis has the potential of foreseeing residue distribution areas over the groundstone surfaces, hence providing a key aid in establishing sampling strategies applied to archeological specimens. Here, we propose an approach that applies 3D modeling, performed through a close-range photogrammetry, and the use of GIS software to investigate surface modifications and residue distribution on groundstones used to process wild plants. Our work comprises a dedicated experimental framework in which modern tool replicas have been used to process different species of wild plant foods through grinding, crushing, and pounding. By applying 3D modeling and spatial analysis, we were able to characterize patterns of surface modifications related to each of the worked substances and activities performed. Moreover, we monitored the distribution of starch granules over the experimental groundstone surfaces and its variation in relation to the state of the worked substance and the action carried out. Our results provide one of the first experimental dataset focused on the use of groundstones for wild plant processing, and a reliable methodology for further studies related to the exploitation of stone technology and wild vegetal substances in the past.
... This view is increasingly apparent in current stone artifact archaeology. Advanced computational techniques such as 3D digitization and geometric-morphometrics are now commonly featured in the analysis of prehistoric stone artifacts (Bretzke and Conard 2012;Clarkson 2010;Iovita and McPherron 2011;Iovita 2009Iovita , 2011Lin et al. 2010;Lycett and von Cramon-Taubadel 2013;Rezek et al. 2011). Renewed attention to quantification, objectification, modelling, and hypothesis testing have equally been revived recently (Lycett and Chauhan 2010) in conjunction with the growing application of outside frameworks, including phylogenetic and transmission models to lithic analysis (Lycett 2009a,b;O'Brien et al. 2001). ...
Article
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Since the beginning of prehistoric archaeology, various methods and approaches have been developed to describe and explain stone artifact variability. However, noticeably less attention has been paid to the ontological nature of stone artifacts and the adequateness of the inferential reasoning for drawing archaeological interpretations from these artifacts. This dissertation takes a scientific perspective to rethink critically the ways that current lithic approaches generate knowledge about past hominin behavior from stone artifacts through experimentation (Chapter 2), and further, to explore the use of controlled experiments and uniformitarian principles for deriving inferences. The latter is presented as two case studies about Late Pleistocene Neanderthal behavior in southwestern France (Chapter 3 & 4). Archaeological reasoning is inescapably analogical, and archaeological knowledge is bound to be established on the basis on modern observations. However, simplistic treatments of archaeological analogs often result in inferences of questionable validity. In this dissertation, it is argued that greater attention is required to consider the implication of experimental design, variable control, and analogic reasoning in the construction of archaeological inference from stone artifacts. It is argued that the ability to move beyond the constraint of modern analogs in archaeological knowledge production lies in the use of uniformitarian principles that operate independently from the research questions archaeologists wish to evaluate. By examining the uniformitarian connection between platform attributes and flake morphology, the first case study explores how the production of unretouched flakes can be altered in ways that increase their relative utility, as reflected in the ratio of edge length to mass. Application of this relationship to Middle Paleolithic assemblages shows two modes of flake production pattern, possibly related to different ways Neanderthal groups managed the utility of transported tool-kits. The second case study applies a geometric model to assess the lithic cortex proportion in the Middle Paleolithic study assemblages. An excess or deficit of cortex relative to artifact volume provides an indication of possible artifact transport to or from the assemblage locality. Results show correlation between assemblage cortex proportions and paleoenvironmental conditions, suggesting possible shifts in Neanderthal artifact transport pattern and land use during the late Pleistocene.
... 3D geometric morphometric analysis. 3DGM is nowadays a widespread set of methods for quantitative analyses of stone artifact shape variability [1,38,45,46,[72][73][74][75][76][77][78]. I applied it here with the intention to reveal patterns of variability within the Lichtenberg Keilmesser type and to further analyze the variability of the active edges. ...
Article
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The presence of the 'Keilmesser-concept' in late Middle Paleolithic assemblages of Central and Eastern Europe defines the eponymous 'Keilmessergruppen'. The site of Lichtenberg (Lower Saxony, Germany) was discovered in 1987 and yielded one of the most important Keilmessergruppen assemblages of the northwestern European Plain. At that time, researchers used the bifacial backed knives to define a new type, the 'Lichtenberger Keil-messer', which they characterized by an aesthetic form-function concept with a specific range of morphological variability on the one hand, and a standardized convex cutting edge one the other hand. Thereby, a shape continuum was observed between different form-function concepts in the Lichtenberg assemblage, from Keilmesser through to Faustkeilblä t-ter and handaxes. In a contrasting view, it was recently suggested that the morphology of Keilmesser, including what is defined here as type Lichtenberg, is the result of solutions to establish and maintain edge angles during resharpening. With the intention to evaluate these contrasting hypotheses, I conducted a re-analysis of the Keilmesser from Lichtenberg and their relationship to central German late Middle Paleolithic knives, using 3D geometric morphometric analyses and an automatized approach to measure edge angles on 3D models. Despite a morphological overlap of the tools from both regions, I could show that the Lichtenberg Keilmesser concept refers to one solution to create a tool with specific function-alities, like potentially cutting, prehension, and reusability. To establish and maintain its functionality, certain angles where created by the knappers along the active edges. This behavior resulted in specific shapes and positions of the active parts and created what looks like a standardized or template morphology of this Keilmesser type.
... In each instance, much technological information can be derived from the position, number and size of these scars, such as reduction sequences, reduction intensity and knapping strategy. For instance, analysis of scar abundance on 3D scans has previously been used to calculate reduction intensity [120][121][122][123][124], while scar directionality has been used to infer reduction strategies of cores [125,126]. Surface area has also proven particularly useful in improving our ability to calculate the reduction intensity of cores [120,127,128], core-tools [122,124,129,130], and flake-tools [86,87,92,131]. ...
Article
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The study of artifacts is fundamental to archaeological research. The features of individual artifacts are recorded, analyzed, and compared within and between contextual assemblages. Here we present and make available for academic-use Artifact3-D, a new software package comprised of a suite of analysis and documentation procedures for archaeological artifacts. We introduce it here, alongside real archaeological case studies to demonstrate its utility. Artifact3-D equips its users with a range of computational functions for accurate measurements , including orthogonal distances, surface area, volume, CoM, edge angles, asymmetry, and scar attributes. Metrics and figures for each of these measurements are easily exported for the purposes of further analysis and illustration. We test these functions on a range of real archaeological case studies pertaining to tool functionality, technological organization, manufacturing traditions, knapping techniques, and knapper skill. Here we focus on lithic arti-facts, but the Artifact3-D software can be used on any artifact type to address the needs of modern archaeology. Computational methods are increasingly becoming entwined in the excavation, documentation, analysis, database creation, and publication of archaeological research. Artifact3-D offers functions to address every stage of this workflow. It equips the user with the requisite toolkit for archaeological research that is accurate, objective, repeat-able and efficient. This program will help archaeological research deal with the abundant material found during excavations and will open new horizons in research trajectories.
... Bello et al. 2009Bello et al. , 2011aBoschin and Crezzini 2012;Robinson 2012) and lithic analysis (e.g. Bretzke and Conard 2012). In BSM, they allow the analysis of morphological features that can be difficult to identify and quantify in a 2D microscope photograph, or even SEM image. ...
Thesis
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Modifications to the surfaces of fossil bones are one of the most important lines of evidence for understanding different issues in palaeoanthropological, archaeological, and taphonomic research. Bone surface modifications (BSM) are used to infer past lifeways and behaviours through site formation processes, subsistence patterns and adaptations and how they influenced human evolution, as well as patterns of economic and social evolutions. The study of BSM first appeared in palaeontology in the mid-19th Century, before gaining traction in archaeology during the processual boom of the 1960s. By identifying BSM from ethnographic studies of BSM created by people in the present day and comparing them to marks found in the archaeological record, archaeologists were able to tie traces to specific bone modifying actions (e.g. Binford 1978; Brain 1981; White 1954). However, traces left by non-human modifiers can mimic those produced by humans (e.g. Blumenschine et al. 1996; Olsen and Shipman 1988; Selvaggio 1994a; Shipman and Rose 1984). Experimental taphonomic studies in zooarchaeology have been largely conducted with the goal of confidently tying traces to known actors and effectors (Gifford-Gonzalez 1989b, 1991). However, variation in experimental design, experimental bone subjects, and how the resultant BSM are classified and analysed has contributed to a lack of consensus between researchers. For example, cut marked bones found in deposits dating to 3.39 million-years-ago (Ma) challenged the current paradigm that butchery, meat-eating behaviours and, subsequently, stone tool use were present in pre-Homo hominins (Domínguez-Rodrigo et al. 2011; McPherron et al. 2011). Furthermore, debates based on bone surface modification interpretations illustrate the lack of consensus amongst researchers about how to best identify and differentiate anthropogenic from non-anthropogenic modifications on bones. In the context of the origins of tool-assisted butchery, having a robust method to identify these traces is a foremost concern for understanding our own evolution. Resolving this issue requires two things: 1) a large dataset in which marks on bones have been produced experimentally under highly controlled conditions; and 2) a replicable method for quantitatively analysing and describing traces on bone surfaces. This research provides impetus for the standardisation of bone surface modification studies, specifically the experimental and analytical methods, as well as how researchers identify and classify modifications and, subsequently, communicate their results and interpretations.
... Ninety-three artifacts were digitized using a Geomagic Capture structured light scanner, with a resolution of 0.110 mm and an accuracy of 0.060 mm (3D Systems, 2019a). All scans were processed into a watertight mesh using Geomagic Wrap software and oriented to a common coordinate system in Geomagic Design-X; this is similar to the process used in OPTOCAD as described by Bretzke and Conard (2012) (3D Systems, 2019b). Completed meshes were used for landmark-based 3D geometric morphometrics (3D-GM) and to record highly accurate measurements in the subsequent analysis of diagnostic artifacts. ...
Article
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Hatis-1 is a Lower Paleolithic open-air site on the Hrazdan-Kotayk Plateau of central Armenia. Although the site was tested in the 1980s, little has been published regarding the material. Consequently, we reinvestigated the site by expanding the original test pit to better understand the stratigraphy and recover a new sample of artifacts. As a result, more than 300 obsidian artifacts were recovered from colluvial deposits found close to primary obsidian outcrops, which sourcing data show to be the exclusive areas of toolstone procurement used by the inhabitants. The recovered assemblages are Late Acheulian in character and are largely homogenous across strata in terms of techno-typology. Hatis-1 records the use of large flakes for production of cores and tools indicative of the Large Flake Acheulian, but also contains limited evidence for simple prepared cores and the recycling of bifaces as cores, suggesting expansion of the technological repertoire of hominins in this region during the Late Acheulian. The in-depth study of large cutting tools presented here reveals that differences in the shape and typology of these tools are largely determined by different production strategies. While samples suitable for direct chronometric dates were not recovered, constraining geological factors suggest this material was deposited after c.700/480 ka. This study expands our understanding of the Late Acheulian and further contextualizes the later Lower–Middle Paleolithic technological transition in the region. In a broader sense, our interpretation of the techno-typological patterns at Hatis-1 expands the current understanding of geographical and chronological variation in the Acheulian record.
... 3D models of the cores have been used to quantify the Scar Pattern Index (SPI), proposed by Clarkson and colleagues (Clarkson et al., 2006), by computing the vectors established by the initial and final coordinates of each removal. SPI values, ranging from 0 to 1, were obtained by dividing the norm of the vector resulting from the addition of all the vectors, by the sum of the norms of all the vectors (Bretzke and Conard, 2012;Clarkson et al., 2006). Values close to 0 mean that the vectors cancel each other out, as in the case of opposite bipolar strategies; ...
Preprint
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Approaching the life history of artefacts is fundamental for understanding both the formation processes of archaeological assemblages and their technological variability. In this paper, we explore the variability of technological behaviours exhibited by the hominins from subunit TD6.2 at the Gran Dolina site (Atapuerca, Burgos), by combining both technological and reduction intensity analyses of the cores recovered. We used the Volumetric Reconstruction Method (VRM) to estimate the original volume of the blanks and quantify the reduction intensity of each core individually, after which we characterised the reduction distribution patterns using Weibull probability distribution functions. Our results suggest differential raw material management in terms of reduction intensity, according to the characteristics of each lithology. This could reflect a solid understanding of raw material qualities and a certain degree of planning. From a technological perspective, our results suggest continuity between knapping strategies through reduction, which seems to indicate constant adaptation to raw material constraints as well as particular knapping conditions, rather than to specific compartmentalised mental schemes.
... Сочетание метрических измерений сколов и нуклеусов, включая количественную оценку выпуклости фронтов нуклеусов, из комплексов грота Ябруд-2 позволило исследователям количественно описать основные технологические изменения ахмарийской культуры Леванта в хронологической перспективе (Bretzke, Conard 2012). ...
Article
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Digital technology advancements have been widely applied in science, particularly in archaeology. The article discusses new possibilities and prospects for three-dimensional modelling using structured light scanners in order to obtain new, previously inaccessible data. As a scientific method, three-dimensional scanning has certain advantages over photogrammetry and computer tomography. It allows obtaining scale 3D models that fully match actual artifacts, by employing relatively inexpensive equipment. This, in turn, allows for accurate measurement and non-invasive model manipulation, which takes archaeological research to a new level where any data obtained and experiments carried out can be verified. In recent years, research procedures previously unavailable to archaeologists have been developed or improved, including three-dimensional geometric morphometric analysis, calculation of artifact's volume/center of gravity, and drawing contours of negatives. The article presents these new possibilities through the example of three-dimensional models of artifacts from the Middle Paleolithic assemblages of the Chagyrskaya Cave (Altai Mountains).
... Unfortunately, since this instrument required manual operation and orientation, this meant that the method was highly time-consuming, there was potential inter-analyst bias (due to subtle differences in caliper orientation), and it had a limited resolution (due to the limited number of landmarks) (Herzlinger and Grosman, 2018). Nevertheless, inspired by this pioneering study, various new quantitative methods have been designed to better characterize the geometric morphometric shapes of LCTs, as well as other types of lithics in Paleolithic assemblages (Grosman et al., 2008(Grosman et al., , 2011b(Grosman et al., , 2014Archer and Braun, 2010;Archer et al., 2015Archer et al., , 2018Costa, 2010;Bretzke and Conard, 2012;Iovita et al., 2017;Herzlinger et al., 2017b;Herzlinger and Grosman, 2018;Herzlinger and Goren-Inbar, 2019;Key, 2019;Valletta et al., 2020). ...
Article
The ever-growing use of the landmarks-based 3D geometric morphometric approach in Paleolithic studies is providing researchers with robust datasets that facilitate the interpretation of new research questions that cannot be explored using traditional planform measurements. Here, we utilize this method to investigate the shape of the Large Cutting Tools (LCTs) from the Baise (or Bose) Basin in South China that are heavily debated as Acheulean or Acheulean-like. Our results show that the greatest variability in shape is primarily concentrated along the lateral edges of the mesial and basal parts of the LCTs, which is in contrast with the relative consistency in shape for the distal tips. This trend in shape variability is very likely related to certain functional needs driving the technological investment within different portions of the LCTs during the shaping process (i.e., more extensive shaping in the tips relative to the other remaining parts). Another key feature for LCT tip morphology is the general preference for arched or tongue-like shapes, although some variability still exists. We suggest that the consistency in these tip morphologies likely reflects an inherent mental template in the minds of the LCT makers, and is also probably a specific functional adaptation (e.g., wood working) within the local humid subtropical paleoenvironment. This study provides an important case study demonstrating the successful application of a landmarks-based 3D geometric approach to Asian LCTs, showcasing its innovative potential when investigating the evolution of Paleolithic assemblages.
... The field of archaeology has also benefited in various ways, ranging from the generation of more accurate records to the development of new analytical methods, in addition to digital preservation for disaster risk mitigation and uses in exhibitions. Examples include lithics, human skeletal remains, and architecture, and further potential applications have been discussed [1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11]. ...
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... This is because blanks can be obtained by several completely different methods, as exemplified by Levallois points [1], or because the flakes or cores from different methods converge in shape and size and can be difficult to differentiate. Several studies have aimed to morphologically and qualitatively identify some of these methods through the technological, diacritical, and structural readings of blanks and cores [2][3][4], and, more recently, through various methodologies such as typometry, statistics, 3D models, and geometric-morphometric approaches [5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14]. ...
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In this paper, we apply Machine Learning (ML) algorithms to study the differences between Discoid and Centripetal Levallois methods. For this purpose, we have used experimentally knapped flint flakes, measuring several parameters that have been analyzed by seven ML algorithms. From these analyses, it has been possible to demonstrate the existence of statistically significant differences between Discoid products and Centripetal Levallois products, thus contributing with new data and a new method to this traditional debate. The new approach enabled differentiating the blanks created by both knapping methods with an accuracy >80% using only ten typometric variables. The most relevant variables were maximum length, width to the 25%, 50% and 75% of the flake length, external and internal platform angles, maximum width and number of dorsal scars. This study also demonstrates the advantages of the application of multivariate ML methods to lithic studies.
... A recent application of 3D technology concerns the analysis of lithic artefacts. The possibility of high level interaction with the pieces, to obtain easily precise quantitative measurements and to perform computerized statistical analyses, allowed to study the morphological variability of artefacts (Bretzke and Conard, 2012), estimate core and flakes reduction (Clarkson and Hiscock, 2011;Clarkson, 2013), quantify the extension of the cortex (Lin et al., 2010), analyse refittings and productive stages Delpiano et al., 2019) and estimate the density and distribution of use-wear traces (Caricola et al., 2018;Zupancich et al., 2019). ...
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Archaeological investigations at the Paleolithic Piovesello open-air site in Italy have brought to light a small lithic workshop composed of 123 artefacts (Structure I). In order to remedy to the destructive nature of the excavation, we developed a conservative protocol based on a three-dimensional reconstruction of the heap, enabling us to restore information lost during the removals of the flakes. A 3D model of the structure and its close context was produced for each artefact through laser scanning, and then it was spatially positioned after the creation of a relative coordinate system using Structure from Motion with Agisoft Photoscan and by rectifying 24 photographs documenting different SI removal stages, performed by the software QGIS. Images provide X, Y coordinates of the findings located at the base of SI; for the Z coordinate is used the quote recorded during excavation. To reconstruct the formation process of the structure, we investigated its stratigraphy and performed the analysis according to different technological and morphometrical parameters, as core reduction stages, dimensional classes, presence of direct connections like refittings. Once Structure I has been interpreted like a primary workshop formed during knapping activities, it was possible to cross different data and to recognize six depositional stages, in which the alternation of large-size core shaping products, management flakes and fine full-production artefacts is visible.
... Among the various 3D digitization methodologies for cultural heritage objects and sites [25], photogrammetry [26] is being widely used as a simple, low-cost and effective method [27]. 3D models are increasingly being used for recording cultural heritage objects, monuments and sites [28][29][30], for morphological, architectural and structural analysis [31][32][33][34][35][36], for deterioration monitoring [37][38][39][40] and remedial treatment assessment [41]. Of interest for stone conservation and restoration is the 'Predictive digitization, restoration and degradation assessment of cultural heritage objects' project (http://www.presious.eu/) ...
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Grove Street Cemetery (GSC) of New Haven is one of the 60 National Historic Landmarks in Connecticut; it is also the ninth such landmark in New Haven since 2000. Besides, the cemetery has an indispensable place in the daily life of New Haven community. The aim of the study is to develop an efficient, simple, and low-cost methodology for the assessment of the level of deterioration qualitatively of the stones of Grove Street Cemetery, which will serve as a model for long-term condition monitoring. The studies included the generation of 3D models of memorials, mapping of visual weathering forms on these 3D models according to the ICOMOS International Scientific Committee for Stone (ISCS) illustrated glossary on stone deterioration patterns, and evaluation of the level of deterioration by ultrasonic velocity measurements. The obtained results were combined in the open-source software Cultural Heritage-Object (CHER-Ob) for decision-making and monitoring studies. Making direct use of the 3D models for calibrated distance measurements for the ultrasonic pulse velocity (UPV) measurements in situ with the help of CHER-Ob has been introduced for the first time as a facilitating element of the monitoring process.
Chapter
This chapter reviews the production and interpretation of chipped- and ground-stone tools, including the chaînes opératoires that describe processes from the acquisition of raw materials through the manufacture and recycling of these types of tools. It describes the conventional terms for the “anatomy” of lithic flakes and some of the main types of ground-stone tools, and outlines some of the attributes and methods that archaeologists commonly study in their attempts to infer lithic technology and tool use. There are brief reviews of use-wear and non-use alteration of tools, of style in tools, and ways to ensure the validity and reliability of stone-tool analyses.
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Nowadays, the fruitful discussion regarding the morphological variability of handaxes during the Middle Pleistocene has reached a decisive moment with the use of more accurate statistical methods, such as geometric morphometrics (GM) and multivariate analyses (MA). This paper presents a preliminary methodological approach for checking the utility of these new approaches on the analysis of the tools" shape. It goes beyond the simple description of morphology and isolates the variables which define the final morphology of a tool. We compared two Middle Pleistocene sites, Boxgrove and Swanscombe, which are morphologically very different. Then, we applied the GM analysis on 1) 2D images, with two semi-landmark distributions: 28 semi-landmarks, specially concentrated on the tip and butt, and 60 equally spaced points; and 2) on 3D models using a new software (AGMT3-D Software) including 5000 semi-landmarks. The more points used to define the tool"s outline, the more accurate will be the interpretation of the variables affecting shape. On the other hand, if the semi-landmarks are localized on specific sectors of the tool, a bias is created, by concentrating on those sectors, rather than the general tool shape. The 3D models offer a new dimension on the shape analysis, as their results mean the combination of plan-shape, profile-shape and the tool"s topography.
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Given the importance of the Levant in understanding the origins and dispersals of modern humans, there has been great interest in archaeological evidence to support population movements between the Levant and ad- jacent regions. The link, if any, between the Aurignacian tradition across Europe and the “Levantine Aurignacian” is a particular focus. Ksar Akil in Lebanon not only is one of the most deeply stratified Levantine sites but also has the longest record of Upper Paleolithic behaviors, so it is a benchmark to which developments in the Levant are often compared. Schmidt and Zimmermann (2019) recently proposed that the European Aurignacian tradition might best be understood in terms of connectivity, as evidenced by long-distance lithic transfers that can act as a proxy for mobility and social networks. Here we document a previously unreported obsidian burin from Ksar Akil. Portable X-ray fluorescence reveals that it matches a source ≥700 km away on foot in central Turkey. Two recent dating programs have calculated ages of ~41–38 and ~39–37 ka cal BP for its layer, which also included an obsidian flake and immediately precedes the Levantine Aurignacian at the site. The obsidian artifacts from Ksar Akil are roughly contemporaneous obsidian from Yabroud Rockshelter II in Syria and Shanidar Cave in Iraq. Such instances of long-distance obsidian transport imply that connectivity might have risen ahead of the Levantine and Zagros Aurignacian. Unfortunately, due to the limited chronological resolution of older excavations at these sites, only at Ksar Akil can we have confidence that the layer containing obsidian artifacts immediately precedes the earliest Levantine Aurignacian sensu stricto layer. Given the apparent rarity of obsidian in the Levant, this region will benefit from endeavors to nondestructively source other toolstone ma- terials as a means to create datasets similar to those recently used to model cultural areas of the European Aurignacian.
Thesis
Dans l’Arctique nord-américain occidental, les vestiges architecturaux des sites gelés sont souvent extrêmement bien préservés, mais les niveaux plus proches de la surface actuelle sont souvent moins bien conservés et difficiles à définir. Ces vestiges sont ceux de maisons d’hiver occupées par les ancêtres des Inuit , ici les Iñupiat du nord de l’Alaska (États-Unis d’Amérique) et les Inuvialuit des Territoires du Nord-ouest (Canada). L’enjeu de cette recherche a été de concevoir et de mettre en œuvre une méthodologie robuste d’enregistrement et de traitement. Nous avons principalement utilisé les ressources informatiques appliqués en archéologie pour les associer, de la conception technique d’une base de données aux traitements statistiques en passant par l’enregistrement et la modélisation 3D ainsi que la visualisation spatiale.Nous avons étudié quatre structures d’habitat dont les datations sont comprises entre le XVe et le XVIIIe siècle de notre ère, situées dans deux sites du cap Espenberg, sur la côte nord-ouest de l’Alaska et le site de Kuukpak, dans le delta du Mackenzie, au nord-ouest des Territoires du Nord-Ouest. 1447 éléments structurels en bois ont été décrits et prélevés sur le terrain, puis leurs essences ont été identifiées en laboratoire. Après les traitements statistiques et les analyses spatiales, nous proposons des restitutions des élévations – en associant relevés photogrammétriques et modélisation 3D – et une chaîne opératoire globale de construction pour ces structures d’habitat. Celles-ci nous apportent des pistes d’interprétation pour comprendre comment ont été construites ces maisons semi-enterrées de l’Arctique occidental nord-américain.
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Partiendo de la premisa de dinamizar ciertos recursos existentes en el Departa- mento de Prehistoria y Arqueología (la colección de réplicas osteológicas - cráneos - y un escáner 3D de superficie) nos propusimos como objetivo componer una colección virtual de referencia de materiales osteológicos accesible, com- prensible y funcional, para enriquecer la formación teórico-práctica del alumnado, y contribuir a la mejora de la enseñanza de la evolución humana en los diferentes grados y posgrados de la Universidad de Granada, pero también válido para la investigación. Para ello, se procedió a digitalizar, con un escáner 3D de luz estructurada Ar- tec2000, 25 réplicas de cráneos de individuos significativos para el estudio de la evolución humana y pertenecientes a los principales taxones extintos (australopitecinos –en sentido amplio- y Homo). Además, se realizaron fichas de cada uno de ellos con información relativa a su descubrimiento y adscripción, así como de algunas de las principales variables métricas craneales (volumen endocraneal, tres del neurocráneo y otras del tres viscerocráneo) que se hallaban dispersas en la literatura científica. Dicha información junto con las reproducciones digitales configuran una base de datos alojada en una página web “la craneoteca del Dpto. de Prehistoria y Arqueología de la UGR”, de libre acceso desde cualquier compu- tadora con Internet (www.prehistoriayarqueología.es/craneoteca).
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A methodology for identifying prehistoric local learning communities is proposed. We wish to test possible relationships among communities based on continuity and variability in lithic reduction sequence technological traits with different visibility and malleability. Quantitative features reflecting different technological traits are measured on 3-D models of flint cores in different scales: the ratio between core thickness and reduction surface width, the angle between subsequent bands of production blank scars to the relative striking platform, and the average curvature of the ridge between each blank scar striking platform pair. Continuity and variability in these features are used to establish the relations among lithic assemblages on different hierarchical levels: local learning communities and geographically widespread cultural lineages. The Late Upper Palaeolithic and the Epipalaeolithic of the Southern Levant (ca. 27,000–15,000 cal BP) provide an opportunity to test our method. A progressive increase in territoriality is hypothesized throughout this timespan, yet the precise timing and modes of this phenomenon need to be defined. The present study analyzes six core assemblages attributed to different cultural entities, representing chronologically separated occupations of the Ein Gev area and the coastal Sharon Plain. Continuity in technological traits between the Atlitian (ca. 27,000–26,000 cal BP) and Nizzanan (ca. 20,000–18,500 cal BP) occupations of the Ein Gev area suggests that the same learning community repeatedly settled there during a long time span. Two geographically separate learning communities were defined in the study areas within the Kebaran cultural entity (ca. 24,000–18,000 cal BP); the group occupying the Ein Gev area possibly continued to settle there during the Geometric Kebaran (ca. 18,000–15,000 cal BP). Continuity in more conservative traits of the reduction sequence allows to tie these two communities to the same cultural lineage. The ability to track prehistoric learning communities based on quantitative features helps increase the objectivity and the resolution in the reconstruction of past cultural dynamics.
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El objetivo de este trabajo es corroborar que los modelos 3D elaborados a partir de la fotogrametría de rango corto son una herramienta confiable y sencilla para la documentación, investigación y presentación de información arqueológica.
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Laminar technologies were adopted by Paleolithic foragers to produce a variable range of stone implements. Archaeologists have reconstructed the different reduction procedures involved in the production of laminar stone tools, often underlying a separation between the bigger blanks (i.e., blades) and smaller bladelets. However, these two blank types are in most cases poorly defined, as their classification typically relies on arbitrary size thresholds that do not consider blank shape, which is a fundamental component of tool production and function. In this study, we investigate whether traditional classifications of blades and bladelets are morphologically and technologically meaningful. For this purpose, we employ a three-dimensional geometric morphometric approach on a large sample of complete blanks retrieved from one of the earliest laminar industries assigned to modern humans in southern Europe: the Protoaurignacian from Fumane Cave. We rely on a cutting-edge protocol for acquiring virtual 3D meshes of stone tools using micro-computed tomography. This novel approach allows us to scan large quantities of small lithics in a short period of time and without the typical technical problems associated with scanning small objects. After calculating the principal components of shape variation, we explore differences and similarities across the dataset using linear discriminant analysis and analysis of variance. Our multivariate study highlights distinct morphological tendencies across blades and bladelets that are however better framed when the technological organization of Protoaurignacian stone knapping is taken into consideration. Overall, our results demonstrate that virtual analysis of stone tool shape can help elucidate aspects of lithic technology and its implications for past human behavior.
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This paper uses new lithic research with well-dated stratified collections from the foothills of the Absaroka Mountains and adjacent Bighorn Basin to build a dichotomous key for chronologically classifying points in the northern Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) as Late Prehistoric (200–1,500 cal BP), Late Archaic (1,500–3,200 cal BP), Middle Archaic (3,200–5,700 cal BP), Early Archaic (5,700–8,500 cal BP) or Paleoindian (8,500–12,000 cal BP). The Plains Typology, which is currently used throughout the GYE, has never been formally based on points with affiliated absolute dates. Further, it has always been unclear how well this typology functions in the mountains of the GYE. Based on detailed attributes from over 600 points, including Mummy Cave (48PA201), a foundational chronology for the region, we build a key intended for use with fragmentary surface collections. We then use this key to consider variation in high elevation projectile points from the Beartooth and Absaroka Mountains.
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The analysis of the functional potential of bifaces, which are artefacts extending beyond ourtechnical memory, is based on direct (micro-wear) or indirect approaches (experimenta-tion, relationship between form/function, comparative ethnography). Indirect approachesare fundamental when artefacts are not well enough preserved for micro-wear analysis,which is frequent for the middle Pleistocene. This article proposes a new method basedon the three-dimensional acquisition of artefact images, enabling us to measure cuttingedge angles and depth of cut. This process allows us to distinguish, in particular, betweencutting edges created for longitudinal or transverse cutting. The application of this analysisto bifaces from UA P3 of the “Caune de l’Arago” brings to light tools with a high functionalpotential for longitudinal cutting, some of which were used for incising, others for deep cut-ting. These results corroborate those obtained by most micro-wear analyses and presentnew ways of interpreting the functional potential of bifaces.
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This paper summarizes results from excavations at U ¨ çag ˘ızlı Cave (Hatay, Turkey) between 1999 and 2002 and 2005. This collapsed karstic chamber contains a sequence of early Upper Paleolithic deposits that span an interval between roughly 29,000 and 41,000 (uncalibrated) radiocarbon years BP. Lithic assemblages can be assigned to two major chronostratigraphic units. The earliest assemblages correspond with the Initial Upper Paleolithic, whereas the most recent ones fit within the definition of the Ahmarian. Substantial assemblages of stone tools, vertebrate faunal remains, ornaments, osseous arti-facts, and other cultural materials provide an unusually varied picture of human behavior during the earliest phases of the Upper Paleolithic in the northern Levant. The sequence at U ¨ çag ˘ızlı Cave documents the technological transition between Initial Upper Paleolithic and Ahmarian, with a high degree of continuity in foraging and technological activities. The sequence also documents major shifts in occupational intensity and mobility.
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However they measure stone took, archaeologists typically use orthogonal—mutually perpendicular—dimensions like length and width. Although useful, orthogonal dimensions do not capture the geometric configuration of specimens. We describe an alternative approach to lithic analysis that involves three- dimensional laser scanning and geometric morphometries. This approach preserves much geometric information and generally is more faithful to whole-object form. Using landmarks—points at equivalent positions on different specimens—it also exploits powerful analytical techniques not traditionally used in lithic analysis. We illustrate the approach and its analytical potential in the study of a small collection of Paleoindian fluted points.
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The discussion about the Levantine transition from Middle to Upper Palaeolithic is still very intense. Different interpretations of the assemblage from Yabroud II (Syria) make this problem particularly apparent. This article presents the results of our reanalysis, which concentrated on the lithic artefacts from layers 10 to 5. Hence, the updated state of knowledge of Yabroud II allows a comparison to the sequence from Ksar Akil (Lebanon). Acting with all necessary caution that old excavations require, we see evidence for a complete transition from Tabun B-Type via Initial Upper Palaeolithic to Early Ahmarian industries at Yabroud II. Moreover, the cultural change at Yabroud II might be correlated to a climatic event. La question de la transition au Levant du Paléolithique Moyen au Paléolithique supérieur est encore aujourd'hui sujet à de vifs débats. Des interprétations différentes des industries de Yabroud II (Syrie) rendent ce problème particulièrement sensible. Un ré-examen des artefacts provenant des couches 10-5 montre que ces assemblages permettent une comparaison avec ceux de la séquence de Ksar Akil (Liban). Prenant en compte toutes les précautions qu'exigent des fouilles anciennes, nous observons à Yabroud II une transition complète qui passerait du type Tabun B à l'Ahmarien ancien via un Paléolithique supérieur initial. Par ailleurs, le changement culturel constaté à Yabroud II serait à corréler à un événement climatique.
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Controlled experiments in percussion flaking allowed for objective analysis of relationships between variables of flake production and those variables which are attributes of the final result. The independent variables, those controlled by the flintknapper in the production of stone tools, include force and angle of blow, platform thickness and exterior platform angle. The dependent variables are those attributes of the flakes which are often used in current lithic analyses and include interior platform angle, length, thickness and flake termination. The results clearly show that exterior platform angle is highly significant for understanding many aspects of flake production. These and other relationships between the independent and dependent variables are also discussed.
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Microlith production in the Levant began with the Upper Paleolithic. Two microlithic production techniques have been observed: straight retouched (Ahmarian) bladelets from a blade bladelet-oriented reduction sequence; and tiny, twisted “Dufour” (Levantine Aurignacian) bladelets, intentional and/or unintentional byproducts of carination. Twisted bladelets appear in varying frequencies throughout the Upper Paleolithic. The straight variety ultimately dominates and characterizes the fully fledged microlithic Epipaleolithic. A major conceptual change occurs in fashioning microliths during the late Upper Paleolithic/Early Epipaleolithic. Earlier assemblages were produced by a predetermined chaine operatoire and blanks closely parallel the microliths in shape and size. During the Early Epipaleolithic tool shapes increasingly resulted from subsequent blank modification, by invasive retouch and, sometimes, use of the microburin technique. By the late Epipaleolithic almost any small, elongated flake was opportunistically fashioned into a microlith. Explanations for the appearance of microliths include developments in economizing behaviors, hafting practices, projectile-point propulsion mechanisms, and functional variability. The described changes could be interpreted as declining knapping abilities, yet such developments probably reflect increasing efficiency and flexibility.
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The classic Upper Paleolithic sequence in the Levant was based on a series of stratified assemblages with culture-specific type fossils. Research in the last two decades has revealed numerous assemblages that cannot be accommodated within the classic sequence. The recently discovered assemblages are now regarded as representing two large entities that differ in both technology and typology. The locally developed Ahmarian is dominated by blades and bladelets, while the Levantine Aurignacian (probably an intrusive from the north) is dominated by flakes and by endscrapers or burins. The nature and contents of the sites suggest that Levantine Upper Paleolithic people were organized as small bands of mobile foragers, whose important resources were ungulate meat and plant foods. This subsistence economy and the associated settlement patterns lasted till about 13,000 B.P. and was succeeded by the Natufian culture with an entirely new socioeconomic organization.
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A key feature of stone artefact morphology is the arrangement and patterning of negative flake scars left on flakes and cores. Scar patterning is often treated as a rough guide to identifying methods of core preparation and reduction and usually forms a key component of lithic typologies and other systems of analysis. However, scar patterns are often complex and difficult to capture using traditional measurement or classificatory techniques, particularly where flakes are thick and irregular, or where cores are flaked on many sides from a number of platforms. Three-dimensional analysis of flake scars is now more feasible using digital 3D surface scanning technologies, or using three-dimensional measurement tools such as the Microscribe-3DX which is now widely used in biological geometric morphometric studies more generally [D.C. Adams, F.J. Rohlf, D.E. Slice, Ital. J. Zool., 71 (2004) 5–16; F.J. Rohlf, L.F. Marcus, Trends Ecol. Evol. 8 (1993) 129–132. [ [1] and [34]]]. This paper develops a mathematical formula for describing scar patterning using vectors calculated from the start and end points of flake scars recorded in three dimensions.
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A 3-D optical scanner was used to obtain precise and complete representations of lithic artifacts. A computer algorithm, which was specially developed for the purpose, was used to position the artifacts in a way which enables the extraction of the standard metric parameters (length, width, width at 1/2 length, etc.). In this way, the ambiguities which affect the traditional manual measurements were eliminated. This new methodology creates accurate and objective databases. Several other parameters (center of mass position, volume, surface area) were also computed. The advantages of our method are illustrated by the analysis of 90 scanned Lower Paleolithic handaxes.
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Middle Palaeolithic stone artefacts referred to as 'Levallois' have caused considerable debate regarding issues of technological predetermination, cognition and linguistic capacities in extinct hominins. Their association with both Neanderthals and early modern humans has, in particular, fuelled such debate. Yet, controversy exists regarding the extent of 'predetermination' and 'standardization' in so-called 'preferential Levallois flakes' (PLFs). Using an experimental and morphometric approach, we assess the degree of standardization in PLFs compared to the flakes produced during their manufacture. PLFs possess specific properties that unite them robustly as a group or 'category' of flake. The properties that do so, relate most strongly to relative flake thicknesses across their surface area. PLFs also exhibit significantly less variability than the flakes generated during their production. Again, this is most evident in flake thickness variables. A further aim of our study was to assess whether the particular PLF attributes identified during our analyses can be related to current knowledge regarding flake functionality and utility. PLFs are standardized in such a manner that they may be considered 'predetermined' with regard to a specific set of properties that distinguishes them statistically from a majority of other flakes. Moreover, their attributes can be linked to factors that, based on current knowledge, are desirable features in flake tools (e.g. durability, capacity for retouch, and reduction of torque). As such, our results support the hypothesis that the lengthy, multi-phase, and hierarchically organized process of Levallois reduction was a deliberate, engineered strategy orientated toward specific goals. In turn, our results support suggestions that Levallois knapping relied on a cognitive capacity for long-term working memory. This is consistent with recent evidence suggesting that cognitive distinctions between later Pleistocene hominins such as the Neanderthals and anatomically modern humans were not as sharp as some scholars have previously suggested.
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This paper has deliberately concentrated on univariate examples, which commonly arise in archaeology and where the advantages of kernel density estimates are, we hope, obvious. The MATLAB routines that have been developed can also handle bounded data where, for example, data are non-negative so that the KDE should be zero for negative values, and adaptive estimation (analogous to the use of variable bin-widths) where h can vary and is typically greater in less dense areas of the data space. The most productive extension of the univariate KDE for archaeologists is likely to be to the bivariate case for which histograms, though occasionally presented, are unwieldy and difficult to interpret. The mathematical development is straightforward, although theory for the optimal choice of window-widths is less advanced than that for the univariate case. Baxter and Beardah (1995) have presented a successful application, based on bivariate plotting of the first two principal components from an analysis of glass compositions, in which the existence of three groups was clearly evident. The methodology is most useful for large data sets, where conventional two-dimensional plots are too dense for any patterns to be easily seen. Another potential area of application would be to the analysis of co-ordinates of finds, of the kind that are used in spatial k-means clustering for example (Baxter, 1994, pp. 148-9). Baxter and Beardah (1995) also exploit the use of contouring, based on work by -5 0 5 10 15 20 25 0 0.02 0.04 0.06 0.08 0.1 0.12 Pot diameter (cm)
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L’abri sous-roche de Ksar Akil (Liban) presente la plus longue sequence connue pour le Paleolithique superieur du Levant. Les recherches sur ce site ont commence au debut des annees 1920 et ont dure pratiquement 90 ans. Cet article concerne la partie superieure de la sequence stratigraphique qui inclut l’Aurignacien du Levant et il presente la premiere tentative de correlation entre les donnees des campagnes de 1937-1938 et de 1947-1948 conduites par l’universite de Boston. De maniere generale, les divergences portent non pas tant sur la description des assemblages que sur leur interpretation, tout particulierement sur les regroupements de niveaux, la designation des phases et leur affiliation culturelle. Un point important concerne la caracterisation de l’Aurignacien du Levant. Chacun des niveaux etudies dans cet article comprend de nombreuses lames et lamelles, ainsi que l’avait souligne J. Tixier lors de ses fouilles en 1969-1975. Ceci concerne notamment la phase 5 de Ksar Akil, generalement associee a l’Aurignacien « classique » ; cette industrie a ete decrite, dans les autres parties du Levant, comme orientee vers la production d’eclats.
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Steel balls were dropped on to massive equilateral and right-angle glass prisms in order to investigate the effects of varying platform angle and prism size on the shape and size of hard-hammer percussion flakes. Ball diamėter, drop height, and impact angle were held Constant. For a given platform angle [measured between striking platform and exterior surface of prism or flake], a decrease in the size of the prism is accompanied by a decrease in terminal flake length, terminal flake width, and terminal platform thickness, and by an increase in the minimum ball diameter required to remove a flake. For prisms of comparable size, a decrease in platform angle is accompanied by a decrease in terminal flake length and in the average values of the length/width, length/platform thickness and width/platform thickness ratios. A decrease in platform angle is also accompanied by a marked increase in the width of the zone along the edge of the prism within which flakes can be produced. Thus, the larger the platform angle, the greater the accuracy required to remove a flake. Further investigations are needed in order to determine to what extent the relationships and trends observed in the present study are applicable to the more complex core geometries generally encountered by archaeologists.
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Steel balls were dropped on to massive glass prisms at an impact angle of 45 degrees in order to determine the effects of oblique impact on several attributes of flake size and flake shape. The results indicate that a flake produced by oblique impact is shorter, but not significantly thinner (except in the immediate area of the cone), than a flake of comparable platform thickness produced by vertical impact.
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The Early Upper Palaeolithic of Üçağızlı Cave, Turkey - Volume 76 Issue 293 - Erksin Güleç, Steven L. Kuhn, Mary C. Stiner
Article
The total variability in archaeological material derives from at least 4 different sources: technological, functional, stylistic, and random variation. Different attributes may be needed to quantify each aspect of the total variability, and the particular attributes that the archaeologist singles out for analysis will determine, to a large extent, the utility and validity of any subsequent typology. At present, there is relatively little theory to aid in the selection of the attributes most appropriate for a particular archaeological problem. In the analysis of prehistoric flake stone tools, the technology of flake production falls largely within the realm of the natural sciences; thus, technological variability is perhaps that aspect of the total variability for which suitable theory may be most readily developed. Flake production can be divided into 2 distinct processes, percussion flaking and pressure flaking, on the basis of the duration of the applied force. The fracture processes involved in these 2 types of flake production are sufficiently different to warrant a separate treatment of each. Attention is focused specifically on percussion flaking because this process appears to have been the predominant mode of flake production throughout most of human prehistory and, at present, it remains poorly understood. It is found that a percussion flake is detached from a core largely by a process known as spalling, the fracture produced by the reflection of a stress wave at the free surface of the core adjacent to the striking platform. The thickness of a flake is a function largely of 4 impact parameters and 2 constants of the material: the shape, intensity, and wavelength of the stress wave emanating from the point of impact, the angle of incidence of the stress wave on the free face of the core, the critical impact strength of the material in tension, and an elastic property of the material. Other attributes of flake size such as the length, width, area, weight, and volume are also influenced by these parameters. Several other factors affecting the size of a flake are discussed, and areas where further research is needed are outlined. It is concluded that the various attributes of flake size are highly and predictably interrelated.
Article
This study confirms the increased capacity to predict flake mass that arises from more accurately measuring surface area in three dimensions using a digital scanner. We also reveal the existence of significantly different relationships between platform area and flake mass for flakes with different platform types and ventral and dorsal morphologies. These different relationships between platform surface area and mass have not been previously identified, and reveal the complexity of platform/mass relationships. Using multivariate regression of 3D platform surface area and external platform angle we improve the accuracy of predictions of original flake mass. We propose a method for studying reduction intensity on retouched flakes, based on comparing predictions of the initial mass of the flake with measurements of the mass following retouching to estimate the amount of mass removed through retouching. We name this approach the Initial-/Terminal-Mass Comparison, or ITMC. Our experiments demonstrate that the capacity of the 3D platform scans to predict flake mass, and by implication the capacity of the ITMC to estimate mass loss, rivals or exceeds the capacity demonstrated for existing reduction measures.
Article
Les recherches entreprises en Syrie centrale sur le site de plein air d'Umm el Tlel ouvrent de nouvelles perspectives quant à l'étude du Paléolithique supérieur au Levant Nord. Depuis 1991, près d'une quarantaine de niveaux d'occupation du Paléolithique supérieur ont été individualisés au sein d'une séquence archéologique qui s'étend du Paléolithique ancien aux périodes historiques. L'étude des occupations du Paléolithique supérieur, encore préliminaire, nous amène néanmoins à nous interroger sur la place de la région dans le peuplement du Levant pendant cette période. Les premiers résultats nous conduisent à distinguer quatre ensembles culturels sur la base des caractères typologiques et technologiques des industries lithiques. L'ensemble le plus récent se rapporte au Paléolithique supérieur final sans pouvoir être qualifié plus précisément. Les trois autres ensembles appartiennent au Paléolithique supérieur ancien. Deux peuvent être rapprochés de l'Aurignacien du Levant et le troisième s'insère dans l'Ahmarien. De façon très originale pour le Levant, la séquence d'Umm el Tlel présente une interstratification d'occupations ahmariennes et aurignaciennes. Ceci apporte des éléments nouveaux quant au peuplement du Levant Nord au Paléolithique supérieur ancien et témoigne de l'implantation de ces groupes dans des régions intérieures du Levant, bien éloignées de la bande côtière. Research undertaken in central Syria at the open-air site of Umm el Tlel opens new prospects for the study for the Upper Paleolithic in the Northern Levant. Since 1991, close to forty Upper Paleolithic archaeological levels were identified within a sequence extending from Lower Paleolithic to historical periods. The study of the Upper Paleolithic occupations, still preliminary, nevertheless raises questions concerning the place of the area in the settlement of the Levant during this period. On the basis of the typological and technological characters of the lithic industries, our first results lead us to distinguish four cultural sets. The most recent set is related to the Late Upper Paleolithic but cannot be more precisely qualified. The three other sets belong to the Early Upper Paleolithic. Two can be brought closer to the Levantine Aurignacian and the third fits in the Ahmarian. In a very novel way for the Levant, the sequence of Umm el Tlel shows an interstratification of Ahmarian and Aurignacian occupations. This introduces new factors regarding the settlement of the Northern Levant in the Early Upper Paleolithic and testifies to the establishment of these groups within the interior of the Levant, quite far away from the coastal strip.
Article
Potential variables that underlie variation in flake size, and in some instances shape, are investigated in a newly designed experiment. This new design, which utilizes glass cores molded to a specific shape, results in flakes that are identical to archaeological ones. Variation in exterior platform angle, platform depth and angle of blow all directly affect flake size, and in the case of exterior platform angle, flake shape as well (in spite of constant core surface morphology). In treating velocity and force independently, neither is found to affect flake size or shape. These results have implications for understanding different strategies that flintknappers may employ to control the size of their flake products.
Article
This paper presents the results of controlled fracture experiments designed to investigate the effects on flake mass of varying the mass and velocity of the hammer. It was found that the contribution of these two independent variables are almost negligible for a given combination of exterior platform angle and platform thickness, though they must be sufficient to initiate production of a flake of a given potential mass.
Article
The development of content based retrieval mechanisms is a very active research area. Present studies are mainly focused on automating the information extraction and indexing processes. Usually for the development and evaluation of such mechanisms, there is always a need for a ground-truth database. In this paper, we present a software tool named qp that is able to semi-automatically produce a collection of random 3D vessels, with morphological characteristics similar to those found in ancient Greek pottery, a ceramic group exhibited worldwide with great impact to scholars as well as general public. A 3D vessel collection has been produced by qp and can be used as a test bed dataset for the development of shape-based 3D descriptors applicable to pottery. Additionally, qp can be considered as a 3D vessel modelling software tool which can be used by people not related to computer graphics technology and particularly to 3D modelling.
Article
The ‘Victoria West’ is a Lower Paleolithic industry from South Africa, which includes prepared cores and has previously been noted to bear strong morphological resemblances with later Middle Paleolithic prepared core technologies (i.e. Levallois cores). Indeed, from the earliest commentaries on the Victoria West, it has frequently been thought of as a ‘large Levallois’ variant. The hypothesis that VW cores are accurately characterised as ‘large Levallois’ is tested here using a comparative 3D geometric morphometric (GM) methodology. GM methods are powerful statistical tools for shape analysis that offer many advantages over traditional means of shape quantification and comparison. The use of landmarks to capture shape variation allows for the preservation of the full geometry, as well as enabling the more precise description of shape versus size. Moreover, biological studies have shown that the use of landmarks allows for a flexible approach to comparing specific aspects of overall morphology. Here, we employ GM to analyse differences in core surface morphology in a range of Lower and Middle Palaeolithic artefacts, including Victoria West examples (total n = 639 artefacts). In comparison with cores from non-handaxe Mode 1, Acheulean handaxes, and Levallois cores, the Victoria West share shape affinities with both Acheulean handaxes and Levallois cores. However, when compared directly with a group of large Middle Palaeolithic Levallois cores from Baker's Hole (UK), the Victoria West were found to more closely resemble handaxes, while the Baker's Hole set are simply isometrically-scaled Levallois cores. These analyses show that, despite broad technological and qualitative morphological similarities with Levallois cores, Victoria West cores are morphologically more similar to Lower Palaeolithic artefact forms, such as handaxes, and are in some respects distinct from Middle Palaeolithic Levallois cores. In line with other recent analyses, our results support suggestions that the Victoria West technique is an extension of longstanding Acheulean traditions for the preparation of biface blanks, but with its own distinct characteristics.
Article
Kernel density estimates, which at their simplest can be viewed as a smoothed form of histogram, have been widely studied in the statistical literature in recent years but used hardly at all within archaeology. They provide an eeective method of data presentation for univariate and particularly bivariate data and this is illustrated with a range of examples. The methodology can be used as an informal approach to spatial cluster analysis, and one example suggests that it is competitive with other approaches in this area. A reason for the lack of use of kernel density estimates by archaeologists may be the lack of accessible software. The analyses described here were undertaken in the MATLAB package using routines developed by the second author, and are available on request.
Article
It is long been thought that many flake attributes, including both size and shape, are largely due to the morphology of a core’s flaking surface, yet this has never been tested under strictly controlled conditions. Using molded glass cores with surface morphologies that highly resemble prehistoric ones, this experiment demonstrates that while core surface morphology does exhibit some influence on flake size and shape, a high degree of variation in flakes produced with the same core surface morphology shows that the effects of other independent variables, such as exterior platform angle and platform depth, have an even stronger effect. A major implication of these results is that current approaches to reconstruct prehistoric knapping strategies are overlooking significant sources of variation.