A Morphometric Model and Landmark Analysis of Acheulian Hand Axes from Northern Israel

  • Scott Brande
  • Idit Saragusti
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSA, volume 284)


The numerical abundance of artifacts in the archaeological record is in some ways analogous to the occurrence of individuals in many species populations. Methods devised by biometricians for the geometric description of organism form may be applied to artifacts, provided that coordinates of landmarks on individual specimens are available. We have conceptualized two- and three-dimensional geometric models of a bifacial tool, the hand axe, defined landmark locations and from them transformed traditional linear measures into geometric coordinates, illustrated individual variations in hand-axe shape, and found statistically significant differences in mean shape between two stratigraphic units in an excavation in northern Israel. The concept of a geometric model for a hand axe may be easily applied to other types of artifacts for which geometric coordinates may be calculated and may prove a useful tool for the archaeologist who desires to illustrate and analyze artifact form.


Maximum Length Maximum Width Stratigraphic Unit Baseline Length Discriminant Function Analysis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Belitzky, S., N. Goren-Inbar, and E. Werker. 1991. A Middle Pleistocene wooden plank with man-made polish. Journal of Human Evolution 20: 349–353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bookstein, F. L. 1991. Morphometric tools for landmark data: geometry and biology. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.Google Scholar
  3. Bordes, F. 1961. Typologie du Paleolithique Ancien et Moyen. Delmas: Bordeaux, France.Google Scholar
  4. Crompton, R. H., and J. A. J. Gowlett. 1993. Allometry and multidimensional form in Acheulean bifaces from Kilombe, Kenya. Journal of Human Evolution 25: 175–199.Google Scholar
  5. Goren-Inbar, N., and S. Belitzky. 1989. Structural position of the Pleistocene Gesher B’not Ya’acov site in the Dead Sea Rift zone. Quaternary Research 31: 371–376.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Goren-Inbar, N., S. Belitzky, K. Verosub, E. Werker, M. Kislev, A. Heimann, I. Carmi, and A. Rosenfeld. 1992. New discoveries at the Middle Pleistocene Acheulian site of Gesher Benot Ya’aqov, Israel. Quaternary Research 38: 117–128.Google Scholar
  7. Isaac, G. 1977. Olorgesailie: Archaeological studies of a Middle Pleistocene lake basin. University of Chicago: Chicago.Google Scholar
  8. Potts, R. 1993. Archeological interpretations of early hominid behavior and ecology. Pages 49–74 in D. Tab Rasmussen, (ed.), The origin and evolution of humans and humanness. Jones and Bartlett: Boston.Google Scholar
  9. Richtsmeier, J. T., J. M. Cheverud, and S. Lele. 1992. Advances in anthropological morphometrics. Annual Reviews of Anthropology 21: 283–305.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Roe, D. A. 1964. The British Lower and Middle Palaeolithic: Some problems, methods of study and preliminary results. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society (New Series) 30 (13): 245–267.Google Scholar
  11. Roe, D. A. 1968. British Lower and Middle Palaeolithic hand axe groups. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society (New Series) 34 (1): 1–82.Google Scholar
  12. Rohlf, F. J., and L. F. Marcus. 1993. A revolution in morphometrics. Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 8: 129–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Schick, K. D. and N. Toth. 1993. Making silent stones speak: human evolution and the dawn of technology. Simon and Schuster: New York.Google Scholar
  14. Slice, D. E. 1993. GRF-ND, Generalized rotational fitting of N-dimensional landmark data. Department of Ecology and Evolution, State University of New York, Stony Brook, New York 11794.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Scott Brande
    • 1
  • Idit Saragusti
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of GeologyUniversity of Alabama at BirminghamBirminghamUSA
  2. 2.Institute of ArchaeologyHebrew University — Mt. ScopusJerusalemIsrael

Personalised recommendations