Geometric Morphometric Analysis

Geometric Morphometric Analysis: Geometric Morphometric Analysis (GMA) is a relatively recently developed method for analyzing shape that is becoming increasingly common in archaeological analyses. Traditionally, archaeologists used linear measurements (length, width, thickness) and ratios (maximum width/maximum length) to describe artifacts, but for anyone who’s tried it, this traditional approach is limiting and frustrating because it does not adequately describe shape or capture the variation among specimens. GMA is a sophisticated advance that allows the analyst to compare entire shapes and avoids the limitations in traditional analysis.

ARCOOP is presently involved in an effort to gather images of artifacts (mainly projectile points) from throughout North America with the ultimate goal of analyzing shapes through time and space. The first article from this effort was recently published in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

Thulman, David K. (2012). Discriminating Paleoindian Point Types from Florida Using Landmark Geometric Morphometrics. Jr. of Arch. Sci. 39:1599-1607.