Analyzing Similarity of Animal Style Art in Iron Age North Central Eurasia: A New Way to Study Continental Expression of Religious Symbolism
Author(s): Kathryn MacFarland
This is an abstract from the "Novel Statistical Techniques in Archaeology I (QUANTARCH I)" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.
Animal Style Art (ASA), an iconographic style expressed on monuments and material culture, is a geographically widespread phenomenon in north central Eurasia during the Iron Age (ca. 1,000 BCE – 100 CE). ASA analyses usually focus on stylistic difference or similarity. This poster reports an artifact-focused macro-scale (continental) study of ASA (n = 4,633 catalog lots), breaking down the elements of the style itself to holistically assess inter-regional expression. This discussion begins with an analysis of the diversity of the object types and associated proveniences included in this study, identifying limiting factors of inferences made from this dataset, assessed with Simpson’s Diversity Index (Lyman 2008). The Raup Crick Index of Similarity (Raup and Crick 1979) is utilized to compare potentially similar occurrences of decorative attributes (i.e., stylistic elements as well as graphical content) common to two regions. A Geographic Information System is used to graphically illustrate the similarity score and give further context to inferred inter-regional relationships. This approach results in identification of a religious landscape among ten regions to varying degrees throughout the Iron Age. The methodology and line of inquiry described in this research reinvigorates study of ASA, a continental-scale iconographic phenomenon, and symbolic studies in general.
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Analyzing Similarity of Animal Style Art in Iron Age North Central Eurasia: A New Way to Study Continental Expression of Religious Symbolism. Kathryn MacFarland. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451193)
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Abstract Id(s): 23899