Building a Statistical Model to Evaluate the Sexes of Ancient Greek Fingerprints

Author(s): Julie Hruby

Year: 2018


While fingerprint impressions have been used archaeologically to approach a range of cultural questions, the methodologies developed to date tend to be labor intensive, statistically unsophisticated, or require large numbers of complete prints. Recently, numerous quantitative print attributes that correlate with sex in modern populations have been discovered, almost always from two-dimensional data. It is probable that there are additional, yet-unrecognized features that correlate with producer attributes, especially if we include three-dimensional data. This project is a collaboration between an archaeologist and two professional mathematicians, with the goal of building a mathematically rigorous model for sexing ancient prints. The reference sample upon which it is based is a set of high-resolution 3D scans of fingerprint impressions left by modern Greek potters of both sexes; they were chosen on the basis that they are the closest population group, both genetically and occupationally, to their ancient predecessors. A scan of a print provides a high-resolution representation, akin to a digital elevation map of the topography of the print, including ridge patterns, overall size, shape, and depression depth. We plan to use high dimensional multivariate statistical techniques to develop informative metrics that show high predictive power for the sex of the imprint maker.

Cite this Record

Building a Statistical Model to Evaluate the Sexes of Ancient Greek Fingerprints. Julie Hruby. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 445219)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -10.151; min lat: 29.459 ; max long: 42.847; max lat: 47.99 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 20487