Geometric Morphometric Approaches to Casas Grandes Ceramic Specialization

Author(s): John Topi; Philip Leflar

Year: 2015


Previous studies of the Casas Grandes region have suggested that several craft items, including ceramics and ground stone, were produced by part or full-time specialists. In this study, we build upon previous approaches to ceramic specialization by conducting geometric morphometric analysis on an extensive collection of scaled digital photographs of Viejo and Medio period whole vessels. Geometric morphometrics allows for the statistical analysis of shape as indicated by the relationship between landmark and semi-landmark points on the outline or surface of artifacts; these methods allow for the examination of shape and size, gathered from linear measurements, and can be used for both 2D and 3D analyses. Application of geometric morphometrics to ceramics has developed slowly but allows for greater understanding of variation in vessel form and decoration. Our results suggest a change in the variability of vessel form and decreased variability in certain aspects of ceramic decoration, including a decrease in the width of painted line on some vessels types, from the Viejo to the Medio period. Decreased variability in vessel form and decoration suggest increased specialization in ceramic production and has implications for broader questions of social organization and leadership strategies in the Casas Grandes area.

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Cite this Record

Geometric Morphometric Approaches to Casas Grandes Ceramic Specialization. John Topi, Philip Leflar. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396647)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -115.532; min lat: 30.676 ; max long: -102.349; max lat: 42.033 ;