Article Title

A New Way to Study Ancient Bead Workshop Traditions: Shape Analysis Using Elliptical Fourier Transforms




A new analytical methodology using trigonometric functions of Elliptical Fourier transforms (EFTs) is presented for studying morphometric proportions of stone beads. The methodology was tested using ethnographically produced bead types from a single workshop compared to a discrete assemblage of stylistically similar archaeological beads from the Levant. The two-dimensional outlines of the shapes of both sets of beads were analyzed using the same methodology and EFTs were used to classify beads by their stylistic types and calculate their average morphometric values. These data defined the variation present within a techno-stylistic workshop tradition. EFT data from the modern bead groups were compared to the archaeological samples and both shared the quantitative characteristic of a single workshop tradition. The archaeological samples can be interpreted as reflecting a distinctive workshop tradition. This pilot study suggests that EFT analysis provides meaningful, empirical demonstrations of shared group membership, in terms of style and metrics.

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The Society of Bead Researchers is a non-profit scientific-educational corporation founded in 1981 to foster historical, archaeological, and material cultural research on beads and beadwork of all materials and periods, and to expedite the dissemination of the resultant knowledge. Membership is open to all persons involved in the study of beads, as well as those interested in keeping abreast of current trends in bead research.

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