Morphometry of Middle Bronze Age palstaves by discrete cosine transform.

Abstract : The Discrete Cosine Transform (DCT) is a Fourier-related transform widely used in signal processing and well suited to the analysis of open outlines. This method was applied here to evaluate the discrimination power of the inner lateral rib for two palstave populations dating from the Middle Bronze Age, excavated in northwest France. A corpus of almost 400 palstaves (bronze axes) of the Breton and Norman types was processed, and compared to specimens found at Sermizelles in Burgundy. The procedure is robust and produces a discrimination in good agreement with the traditional typology. Besides the definition of a ‘standard' shape for each population, the morphometrical approach allows shape disparity, which is generally inaccessible to the naked eye, to be visualised and quantified. Shape disparity indicates that, contrary to previous assumptions, the bronze axes from the Sermizelles hoards cannot be explained as an assortment of Breton and Norman palstaves alone. We believe that this approach is quick, reproducible, and generalisable enough to be applied to a wide variety of artefacts from different periods, in order to clarify their typology and even their origin.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, January 21, 2009 - 5:53:13 PM
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Benoît Forel, Maréva Gabillot, Fabrice Monna, S. Forel, Cyril Hugues Dommergues, et al.. Morphometry of Middle Bronze Age palstaves by discrete cosine transform.. Journal of Archaeological Science, Elsevier, 2009, 36 (3), pp.721-729. ⟨10.1016/j.jas.2008.10.021⟩. ⟨hal-00355053⟩

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