Using Taphonomy, GIS, and Photogrammetry to reconstruct site formation and carnivore-hominin interaction at Dmanisi, Georgia

Reed Allen Coil, Martha Tappen, Reid Ferring, Maia Bukhsianidze, David Lordkipanidze

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


The Lower Paleolithic site of Dmanisi, Georgia, possesses rich archaeological and paleontological deposits, which include remains of at least five Homo erectus individuals. As with most rich archaeological sites, understanding the nature of the deposits, deconstructing complex stratigraphic sequences, and sorting through the palimpsest are integral to interpreting behaviorally driven site formation. In Block 2 at Dmanisi, the agents contributing to the accumulation of the deposits are mostly biotic (i.e. carnivores and hominins), but evidence from abiotic agents is not entirely absent. Pairing ArcGIS generated 3D spatial distributions and an Agisoft-Photoscan-created-photogrammetric model of the excavation provides support for these interpretations when examining the spatial patterning of fauna, stones, and taphonomic factors. Additionally, this 3D data and model effectively illustrate the location and nature of the physical constraints to biotic and abiotic site formation processes. Pseudo-karstic pipe and gully formations, along with the complex underlying basalt formation, appear to have differentially dictated site formation depending on stratigraphic layer, which is apparent when comparing stratigraphy to the 3D distributions. 3D bone orientations in some areas show directional preference, but this is generally correlated to the shape and dip of the basalt and pipe/gully formations, as illuminated by the 3D model. The spatial patterning of the lithic and faunal material also differs depending on the stratigraphic layer, with faunal remains being more densely distributed in the lower strata. The distribution of coprolites differs greatly from either of these patterns, possibly indicating spatially discrete carnivore activity.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2018
EventComputer Applications & Quantitative Methods in Archaeology - Tubingen, Germany
Duration: Mar 19 2018Mar 23 2018


ConferenceComputer Applications & Quantitative Methods in Archaeology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Using Taphonomy, GIS, and Photogrammetry to reconstruct site formation and carnivore-hominin interaction at Dmanisi, Georgia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this