A Morphometric Model and Landmark Analysis of Acheulian Hand Axes from Northern Israel
The numerical abundance of artifacts in the archaeological record is in some ways analogous to the occurrence of individuals in many species populations. Methods devised by biometricians for the geometric description of organism form may be applied to artifacts, provided that coordinates of landmarks on individual specimens are available. We have conceptualized two- and three-dimensional geometric models of a bifacial tool, the hand axe, defined landmark locations and from them transformed traditional linear measures into geometric coordinates, illustrated individual variations in hand-axe shape, and found statistically significant differences in mean shape between two stratigraphic units in an excavation in northern Israel. The concept of a geometric model for a hand axe may be easily applied to other types of artifacts for which geometric coordinates may be calculated and may prove a useful tool for the archaeologist who desires to illustrate and analyze artifact form.
KeywordsMaximum Length Maximum Width Stratigraphic Unit Baseline Length Discriminant Function Analysis
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