Acta Anthropologica Sinica ›› 2021, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (06): 970-980.doi: 10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2021.0076

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The application of 3D geometric morphometric approach on the study of stone artifacts

LEI Lei1(), HE Letian2, LI Dawei3, LI Hao4,5()   

  1. 1. College of History and Ethnic Culture, Guizhou 550025
    2. School of History and Culture, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000
    3. Institute for History and Culture of Science & Technology, Guangxi University for Nationalities, Nanning 530006
    4. Key Laboratory of Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origins of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100044
    5. CAS Center for Excellence in Life and Paleoenvironment, Beijing 100044
  • Received:2021-02-01 Revised:2021-05-15 Online:2021-12-15 Published:2021-12-17
  • Contact: LI Hao;


Geometric morphometric approach has been widely used in the morphological analysis and relevant comparative studies in biological science. The geometric morphometric study aims to use landmarks and their corresponding coordinates to reveal the geomorphological characteristics of artefacts and to explore the factors that could potentially influence the morphological variabilities. Accompanying with the wide application of 3D scanning technology and the increased requirements to obtain the quantitative and high-resolution morphological information of stone artefacts, the 3D geometric morphometric approach has been gradually adopted in the Paleolithic Archaeology. This paper presents a brief introduction of the 3D geometric morphometric method and its application in lithic analyses. Importantly, we also provide a relatively detailed description of analytical procedures of the 3D geometric morphometric approach. Finally, in order to facilitate our understanding of this innovative analytical method, we provide a case study of handaxe assemblage from the Nanposhan site in the Baise Basin, South China. Overall, the 3D geometric morphometric approach is providing new perspectives and insights into the old stone artefacts, and it will likely become an important research branch in the Chinese Paleolithic Archaeology in future.

Key words: 3D scanning, 3D geometric morphometric approach, Landmark, Lithic analysis, Paleolithic Archaeology

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