tDAR Logo tDAR digital antiquity

Geometric Morphometric Approaches to Casas Grandes Ceramic Specialization

Author(s): John Topi ; Philip Leflar

Year: 2015

» Downloads & Basic Metadata


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.

SAA 2015 abstracts made available in tDAR courtesy of the Society for American Archaeology and Center for Digital Antiquity Collaborative Program to improve digital data in archaeology. If you are the author of this presentation you may upload your paper, poster, presentation, or associated data (up to 3 files/30MB) for free. Please visit for instructions and more information.

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

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 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America