NEW ANALYTICAL METHODS FOR COMPARING BONE FRACTURE ANGLES : A CONTROLLED STUDY OF HAMMERSTONE AND HYENA (Crocuta crocuta ) LONG BONE BREAKAGE

Reed Allen Coil, Martha Tappen, Katrina Yezzi-Woodley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Accurate interpretation of the cause and timing of bone breakage is essential for understanding
the archaeological record. However, many variables potentially influencing break
morphology have yet to be systematically explored. Focusing primarily on hammerstone
breakage, we introduce new analytical methods for comparing fracture angles using the
absolute values of the angle from 90°. We systematically control for intrinsic variables such
as taxon, skeletal element, limb portion and skeletal age. We also compare experimental
assemblages of femora broken by hammerstone and spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta). We show
that fracture angles are influenced by breakage plane, skeletal element and limb portion.
While the latter two have been suggested before, this is the first time the differences have been
quantified. We suggest that researchers stratify their assemblages by these variables if they are
using fracture angles in analyses. At the assemblage level, hyenas created more oblique
fracture angles on oblique breaks than did hammerstones.
Original languageEnglish
JournalArchaeometry
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2017

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