Patrick McCutcheon (Anthropology & Museum Studies)
Morphometrics analysis of stone tools emphasizes the use of metric data to capture information about tool attributes, such as shape. These techniques are still under development, with some adapted for less reduced tools and others making use of prohibitively expensive technology. This project developed a morphometric analysis technique that is more accessible and attuned to more reduced tools. The artifacts used come from a teaching collection of 18 projectile points from the mid-Columbia River Valley in Kittitas County, Washington. We compare a novel technique to two pre-existing approaches. Our research objective is to identify morphological attributes whose presence, frequency, and distribution are shaped by natural selection in contrast to those traits influenced by cultural transmission. The comparative methods fell short of identifying shape trends but some data suggested there are greater differences in variation around the haft elements than those of the blade and point. The novel method indicated blade shape was a functional element influenced by natural selection and hafting was a stylistic trait influenced by cultural selection.
Keywords: Morphometrics, Archaeology, Tools