Yikes, no comparative collection! Can 3D imaging produce robust faunal identifications?

Author(s): Melanie Fillios

Year: 2017


Most zooarchaeologists are familiar with the uncertain feeling when faced with identifying material in the absence of a physical comparative collection. In response to this challenge, numerous photographic atlases have been produced to provide researchers with access to collections while in the field. Unfortunately, 2D images are constrained by their inability to be ‘handled’ and measured in the same way as a physical specimen. The UNE Archaeology virtual bone project was initially developed as a pedagogical tool to teach distance students faunal analysis in an online environment. Human and animal bones were scanned to generate easily accessible 3D models that could be ‘handled’ and measured. Given our field is predicated first and foremost on physical specimen ID – we received quite a few sceptical looks for this approach. In this talk, we present our virtual bone project and test its ability to facilitate robust identification of osteoarchaeological remains. We compare the ability of students trained the traditional, hands-on way to those trained in the virtual classroom, to accurately identify material from an archaeological faunal assemblage. We then present the identification results of several ‘experienced’ zooarchaeologists using the tool – and the results just may surprise you.

Cite this Record

Yikes, no comparative collection! Can 3D imaging produce robust faunal identifications?. Melanie Fillios. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430390)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: 111.973; min lat: -52.052 ; max long: -87.715; max lat: 53.331 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15603