Comparing Stone Tool Resharpening Trajectories with the Aid of Elliptical Fourier Analysis

  • Radu IoviţăEmail author


Resharpening has long played a confusing role in the history of research on lithic variability. In this chapter, I argue that, far from confounding issues of variability, resharpening can be used as a classificatory principle because it reflects human technical choices related to repeated uses of a tool. The advantage that resharpening offers is that of a mathematically suitable study object, through the investigation of shape change along the continuum of size reduction. Building upon a rich history of research in both biology and prehistoric archaeology, I present a variant of a new method for comparing resharpening trajectories, using elliptical Fourier analysis (EFA) and principal components analysis to compare the slopes of allometric regressions. The theoretical presentation is followed by a worked example using bifacial tools from two European Middle Paleolithic sites: Pech de l’Azé I (France) and Buhlen III (Germany).


Stone Tool Geometric Morphometrics Lithic Assemblage Projectile Point Classical Fourier Analysis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I would like to thank the editors for inviting me to submit this paper, as well as the two anonymous reviewers whose comments significantly improved the quality of this manuscript. Funding for the data collection was provided by the National Science Foundation (U.S.A.), grant BCS#0624962, the Kolb Foundation, (University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology), and the University of Pennsylvania School of Arts and Sciences and Department of Anthropology. Finally, I wish to thank Dr. Alain Turq (Musée National de Préhistoire, Les-Eyzies-de-Tayac, France) and Dr. Irina Görner (Hessisches Landesmuseum Kassel, Germany) for access to the collections from Pech de l’Azé I and Buhlen.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Forschungsbereich AltsteinzeitRömisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum MainzNeuwiedGermany

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