Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 651–665 | Cite as

3D analysis of cut marks using a new geometric morphometric methodological approach

  • Lloyd A. CourtenayEmail author
  • Jose Yravedra
  • Miguel Ángel Mate-González
  • Julia Aramendi
  • Diego González-Aguilera
Original Paper


The arrival of new methodological approaches to study microscopic qualities in cut mark morphology has been a major improvement in our understanding of butchering activities. Micro-morphological differences can be detected in multiple different taphonomic alterations on bone cortical surfaces that can later be used to compare different trace mark types. Through this, we can generate studies that are able to diagnose the specific taphonomic agents and activities that produce said traces that can be found on osteological surfaces. This paper presents experimental data that have been studied using micro-photogrammetry and geometric morphometrics, successfully distinguishing morphological differences in cut marks produced by different lithic tool types as well as different raw materials. The statistical results and methodologies presented here can later be applied to archaeological sites; aiding in our understanding of raw material exploitation, tool production as well as the different butchering activities that are present in faunal assemblages.


Taphonomy Experimental archaeology Geometric morphometrics Cut marks Raw materials 



We would like to thank the TIDOP Group from the Department of Cartographic and Land Engineering of the High Polytechnics School of Avila, University of Salamanca, for the use of tools and facilities. We want to recognise the technical support provided by C.A.I. Arqueometry and Archaeological Analysis from Complutense University which has been very useful to carry out the present work. Julia Aramendi would like to thank Fundación La Caixa and the Spanish Education, Culture and Sports Ministry (FPU15/04585) for funding her postgraduate education programmes. We also appreciate the help Andrea Martínez Fernández, Nicolas Alix González and Irene Faza Aladro provided with the photographical documentation of the experimental lithic tools. The corresponding author would also like to thank Abel Moclán for his advice on countless occasions.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lloyd A. Courtenay
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jose Yravedra
    • 1
    • 2
  • Miguel Ángel Mate-González
    • 3
    • 4
  • Julia Aramendi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Diego González-Aguilera
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PrehistoryComplutense UniversityMadridSpain
  2. 2.IDEA (Institute of Evolution in Africa)MadridSpain
  3. 3.Deparment of Cartography and Terrain Engineering, Polytechnic School of AvilaUniversity of SalamancaAvilaSpain
  4. 4.C. A. I. Archaeometry and Archaeological AnalysisComplutense UniversityMadridSpain

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