Interobserver and Intraobserver Error in a New Method of Cut Mark Morphological Analyses

Author(s): Elizabeth McCarthy

Year: 2016


Determining the types of lithic materials used to produce cut marks can further our knowledge of movement, trade, resource use, and other anthropologically relevant variables. Previous research indicates that lithic materials can be differentiated using a new methodology based on a score derived from the presence/absence of 10 morphological features determined using a stereo microscope with an external light source. Some of the advantages of this methodology are that it is low cost, easy to replicate and does not require a scanning electron microscope (SEM). Current research continues to explore the utility of this method by evaluating its reliability in differentiating between cut marks made using obsidian or chert. Several University of Missouri undergraduate students without extensive training in cut mark analysis looked at a variety of cut marks made with obsidian or local chert. The student researchers came to the same general conclusion about many of the same cut marks, causing me to conclude that inter-observer error does not impede the assemblage identification of the lithic material, and that intra-observer error is also minimal. This experiment further lends credence to this new methodology and its use in archaeological assemblage analyses.

Cite this Record

Interobserver and Intraobserver Error in a New Method of Cut Mark Morphological Analyses. Elizabeth McCarthy. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404865)

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Spatial Coverage

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