Morphometry of Middle Bronze Age palstaves. Part II - spatial distribution of shapes in two typological groups, implications for production and exportation.

Abstract : For archaeologists, metallic artifacts are key materials to assess Middle Bronze Age production areas and cultural exchanges. Here, a set of 629 bronze palstaves excavated in northern France, belonging to Breton and Norman typological groups, was treated by (open) outline-based morphometrics with orthogonal polynomial regression. Using robust statistics developed for outlier detection, these Norman and Breton palstave outlines can be divided into two groups: those for which the shape fluctuates close to the standard shape, called "congruent" axes, and those which are far enough from this standard to be considered as "non-congruent", although they possess most of the features of the typological group. The highest density of discovery (whether congruent and non-congruent in shape) is in the extreme east of Brittany for the Breton axes, while the Norman axes are concentrated in northern Normandy, hence the choice of names. However, the distribution of congruent and non-congruent artifacts appears to be spatially dependent for the Norman group, and to a lesser extent for the Breton group, as there are proportionally more congruent specimens inside the supposed production areas than outside. This contradicts the generally accepted archaeological scheme which hypothesizes that all axes in a group originate from the same production center, and that some items were exported from there to supply neighboring regions. Other minor production centers probably existed, copying the original model with greater shape variation.
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Contributor : Rémi Laffont <>
Submitted on : Monday, November 5, 2012 - 10:13:23 AM
Last modification on : Friday, September 14, 2018 - 9:56:08 AM

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Fabrice Monna, Ahmad Jebrane, Maréva Gabillot, Rémi Laffont, Marie Specht, et al.. Morphometry of Middle Bronze Age palstaves. Part II - spatial distribution of shapes in two typological groups, implications for production and exportation.. Journal of Archaeological Science, Elsevier, 2013, 40 (1), pp.507-516. ⟨10.1016/j.jas.2012.06.029⟩. ⟨hal-00748207⟩

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