Ancient Tools, Modern Technology

Updated: May 17, 2019

Author: Taylor Panczak.

My master’s thesis research involves understanding the chronology of Cuncaicha rock shelter through the creation of a projectile point typology. The stratigraphy and excavation methods employed at Cuncaicha allow morphologically distinct projectile points to be used as a temporally constraining relative dating technique for other sites with similar lithic inventories. Types of projectile points are defined by physical characteristics such as basal concavity or defined shoulders. Measurements of the haft also are considered while creating the typological groups.

A Cuncaicha projectile point prior to imaging for a 3D model.

The second portion of my project is to create 3D models of the complete and typologically diagnostic projectile points. These 3D models will be used to further explore the created groups through the use of 3D morphometrics and multi-variate statistics. Both understanding the chronology of Cuncaicha and creating a digital archaeological catalogue are my major objectives for this project.

In conjunction with this project, I also have a Cultural Heritage Informatics fellowship at Michigan State University for 2018-2019. For the fellowship, I will be creating a website dedicated to my established typology for Cuncaicha. This website will feature 3D models and various educational tools that will help the public understand the process of creating a lithic artifact.

The finished 3D model of a projectile point.

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