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  Re-examining the use of the LSI technique in zooarchaeology

Wolfhagen, J. (2020). Re-examining the use of the LSI technique in zooarchaeology. Journal of Archaeological Science, 123: 105254. doi:10.1016/j.jas.2020.105254.

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Item Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-4BC2-A Version Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-4BC3-9
Genre: Journal Article

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 Creators:
Wolfhagen, Jesse1, Author              
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1Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society, ou_2074312              

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Free keywords: Biometry, Bayesian statistics, Domestication, Methods, Multilevel modeling
 Abstract: Biometric analysis of faunal remains is crucial for estimating the age/sex composition of assemblages and exploring large-scale processes that affected animal biology in the past. The LSI technique is a premier method for examining biometry in different zooarchaeological scenarios, particularly domestication research and regional-scale surveys. Despite the technique's popularity, several early arguments describing limitations or concerns about the LSI technique still impact interpretations and applications today. More generally, though, the LSI technique is treated as a method of increasing sample sizes as a last resort when unmodified measurements are too scarce to use. This paper re-examines the theoretical foundations of the LSI technique to update best practices in LSI analyses in zooarchaeology. Redefining the LSI technique as a pseudo-centering process shows why LSI values are preferable to unmodified measurements for biometric analyses. This new definition also highlights the arbitrary nature of standard animal and logarithm base choice, though certain decisions (smaller standard animals and base e logarithms) can aid interpretation by closely linking changes in LSI values to proportional changes of the original measurements relative to the standard. Of more consequence on LSI analyses, however, is the way to aggregate LSI values from different measurement types; this paper shows how multilevel modeling uses partial pooling to balance the trade-offs of bias and variance caused by aggregation. To showcase the benefits of the Bayesian multilevel LSI model, the biometric variation of ten simulated sites using a reference set of Shetland sheep measurements (Popkin Peter et al., 2012). Modeling all ten sites within a single multilevel structure provides a clear way to evaluate biometric differences while accounting for potential allometries and variation in body part representation between different sites. These results clarify earlier arguments about the limitations of the LSI technique, summarized in a set of best practices for LSI applications.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2020-10-05
 Publication Status: Published online
 Pages: 9
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: 1. Introduction
1.1. Size scaling and logarithm size index
1.2. Current issues in LSI practice in zooarchaeology
1.3. Measurement aggregation

2. Material and methods
2.1. Foundations of LSI analysis
2.2. Aggregating LSI values from different measurements
2.3. Simulated biometric analysis
2.4. Computational details

3. Results
3.1. Foundations of LSI analysis
3.2. Aggregating LSI values from different measurements
3.3. Simulated example of biometric analysis

4. Discussion
4.1. Practical and interpretive benefits of multilevel modeling LSI values
4.2. Best practices in logarithm base and standard animal selection
4.3. Expanding the multilevel model

5. Conclusions
 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2020.105254
Other: shh2736
 Degree: -

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Title: Journal of Archaeological Science
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: London : Academic Press
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 123 Sequence Number: 105254 Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 0305-4403
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954922648108