Effects of Clay Shrinkage on Sex Estimation of Dermatoglyphic Impressions on Ceramics

Author(s): William Marquardt

Year: 2016


Dermatoglyphic impressions - the patterns of ridges and furrows, whorls, loops, and arches present on human hands and feet - are recognized by forensic scientists as having sexually dimorphic characteristics. Sex and age can be estimated from these impressions achieving rates of accuracy similar to other metric methods utilized in physical anthropology and bioarchaeology (Marasco et al. 2014, Mundorff et al. 2014). Despite this potential, analysis of dermatoglpyphic impressions left on plastic materials (e.g. ceramics) has received little attention in archaeological studies. Stinson (2004) and Kamp (1999, 2001) remain two of only a handful of archaeologists who have given any serious attention to dermatoglyphs. This method of analysis is in its infancy and more research is needed to maximize its potential for the archaeologist. For instance, the effects of clay shrinkage on sex estimation from dermatoglyphs are poorly understood and may lead to erroneous sex estimates in fired ceramics. This study, utilizing ridge density analysis, investigates potential bias in data arising from shrinkage of clay during the drying and firing process in a sample of dermatoglyphic impressions on clay. Initial results suggest that sex can still be determined despite shrinkage found in a sample of native New Mexican clays.

Cite this Record

Effects of Clay Shrinkage on Sex Estimation of Dermatoglyphic Impressions on Ceramics. William Marquardt. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404617)

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