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Journal Article

Time wears on: Assessing how bone wears using 3D surface texture analysis

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Steele,  Teresa E.
Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society;

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McPherron,  Shannon P.
Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society;

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Schulz-Kornas,  Ellen
Max Planck Weizmann Center for integrative Archaeology and Anthropology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society;

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Martisius_Time_PlosOne_2018.pdf
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Citation

Martisius, N. L., Sidéra, I., Grote, M. N., Steele, T. E., McPherron, S. P., & Schulz-Kornas, E. (2018). Time wears on: Assessing how bone wears using 3D surface texture analysis. PLoS One, 13(11): e0206078. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0206078.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0002-73C2-1
Abstract
Use-wear analysis provides a means of studying traces produced on animal bone during manufacture and use in an effort to reconstruct these processes. Often, these analyses are qualitative and based on experience and expertise. Previous studies have focused on interpreting final traces, but little is known about how these traces develop and change over time. We propose the use of an innovative quantitative method for studying bone surface traces that aims to reduce any unreliable or non-replicable results that can confound more traditional qualitative analyses. We seek to understand the basics of use-wear formation over Time by taking incremental molds of bone specimens subjected to a controlled, mechanical experiment. This study assesses how bone wears during extended use on three Material types (fresh skin, processed leather, or dry bark), from three initial Manufacturing states (unworked, ground with sandstone, or scraped with flint). With data obtained from a confocal disc-scanning microscope, we then apply 3D surface texture analysis using ISO 25178 parameters: surface roughness [Sa], autocorrelation length [Sal], peak curvature [Spc], and upper material ratio [Smr1]. We employ a multilevel multivariate Bayesian model to explain parameter variation under experimental conditions. Our findings show how duration of use strongly affects the transformation of the bone’s surface. Unworked bone is completely distinguishable from bone used for long time intervals and those modified by scraping. Interestingly, material wear does not often produce type-specific traces, but does affect the rate of bone alteration and how it is transformed. Specifically, fresh skin transforms bone at a faster rate than other materials. This novel quantitative and experimental approach enhances our understanding of the use of bone as a raw material for making and using tools and provides a foundation for future exploration of archaeological materials and questions.