(Binary Analytical Consultants, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA)
Outline: Present enhanced quantitative analysis using morphometic methods available in computer-assisted digitial image analysis in a very broad range of archaeological study.
Computer-assisted measurement of size and shape parameters of digital images allows detailed quantitative, i.e. morphometric, analysis of virtually the full range of archaeological materials, artifacts and features at the microscopic, macroscopic or megascopic levels.
Demonstrations studies have been conducted to date on such diverse items as: seeds, phytoliths,projectile points, lithic debitage, stone beads, ship (steel) hull plating, architectural construction sand, architectural features, architectural deterioration, among others. In all cases, analysis of complex morphology was simple, quick, accurate and inexpensive while producing significant results — often not available using conventional (i.e. manual) measurement techniques.
Morphometric analysis has exposed substantial inaccuracies in conventional typological methods widely accepted in archaeological studies. New and substantially improved systematic classification techniques are accurate, objective, easily communicated and precisely replicated by others. Comparative anallysis is likewise enhanced.
The speed, efficiency and cost-effectiveness of computer-assisted morphometry allows detailed analysis of large artifact assemblages not feasible using labor-intensive manual methods. This includes analysis of curated collections in archives, repositories, and museums accumulated over many years, both those that have never been subjected to analysis and revisiting previously analyzed collections with new and improved techniques.
Many more applications in archaeological research have yet to be tested. Although computer-assisted morphometric systems have been well-established and commercially available for decades, are relatively inexpensive and user-friendly, there has been an unfortunate avoidance of these systems by archaeologists, even in the context of computer applications in archaeology.
Keywords: Morphometry, Digital Images, Computer-assistance, Systematics