Applying Multivariate Methods to Archaelogical Data (using R)

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Instructor: Dr. Georg Roth (Ur- und Frühgeschichte, University of Cologne)

The workshop focuses on explorative and inferential multivariate methods suited specifically for archaeological data sets. Methods are discussed with special reference to archaeological research questions, i.e. what insight is sought for and which method can support this approach.

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Starting with the classic archaeological method CA its fields of application are reviewed with a focus on its limitations and an alternative solution for archaeological data, transformation based PCA (tbPCA), is introduced. First day ends with including explanatory information into ordinations i.e. canonical ordinations (CCA, tbRDA).

Besides (explorative) ordination finding reliable groupings is an important field of multivariate analysis. Starting with a special emphasis on choosing suitable distance measures traditional cluster approaches are discussed and enhanced by building reliable groupings based on internal validity criteria. The workshop closes with perspectives on multivariate methods for more specific purposes.

During afternoon intermissions individual mentoring is possible. Participation requires base knowledge of data handling in R. Participants are kindly asked to refresh their skills in advance. A small list of free media is provided in advance.

Workshop Schedule Day 1, Friday

10.00-12.00h Introduction: Why m-var stats anyway?

Repetition getting data into R, multivariate stats packages, CA – myths of CA and seriation.

12.00-13.00h Lunchbreak

13.00-15.00h Comparing CA with tbPCA; new alternative ordinations for archaeological data sets.

15.00-16.00h Didactic break (individual mentoring)

16.00-18.00h Testing interpretations in ordination (constrained analysis); how to connect cause and effect for multivariate data. 

Workshop Schedule Day 2, Friday

10.00-12.00h Distance based methods with focus on clustering; how to measure differences for different kinds of data.

12.00-13.00h Lunchbreak

13.00-15.00h Finding reliable groups with cluster validity criteria; how to define objective groups. 

15.00-16.00h Didactic break (individual mentoring).

16.00-18.00h Perspectives on multivariate solutions for specific research questions.

Media:
Borcard et al. 2011: D. Borcard/Fr. Gillet/P. Legendre, Numerical ecology with R (New York 2011).
Legendre/Legendre 2012: P. Legendre/L. Legendre, Numerical ecology. Developments in environmental modelling 24 (Amsterdam 2012 3rd).

[a small collection of additional introductory media is provided in advance].

Event Information:

Date, Time: 03/06/2016, 10:00 h – 18:00 h
& 10/06/2016 10.00 – 18.00 h

Location: Room 1.90 Bernhard Feilchenfeld Str. 11, Bernhard Feilchenfeld Str. 11, Cologne

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A comparison of rock art site distribution in the North and South of Iberia during the Solutrean and Magdalenian

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Viviane Bolin is a PhD student in the C1 project working on Upper Paleolithic settlement history of the Iberian Peninsula.

The settlement history of the Iberian Peninsula during the Upper Palaeolithic was influenced by diverse geographic and climatic conditions. An increase of site density from the early to the late Upper Palaeolithic can be observed – with a higher concentration of sites in the northern regions and in coastal areas of the Peninsula, while the interior and the southern areas were sparsely populated. Only the Solutrean period displays a similar number of human settlement sites in the North and South, as well as an increase of sites in the interior of the Iberian Peninsula (Schmidt et al. 2012).

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Viviane Bolin, Project C1

Viviane Bolin, Project C1

According to literature, a comparable pattern is visible for the distribution of rock art sites. During most of the Upper Palaeolithic periods mainly the northern and coastal areas show a greater artistic expression than the South or the interior of the Iberian Peninsula – with one exception during the Solutrean when an explosion of rock art sites can also be observed in the southern and interior regions (Bicho et al. 2007).

Does a correlation between demographic and artistic expansion exist? To answer this question, a diachronic and spatial analysis of rock art and occupation sites during the Solutrean and Magdalenian in different regions of Iberia will be carried out. Mapping and interpolation of the data with Kernel Density Estimation could reveal changes in site distribution and frequency. This spatio-temporal multivariate approach furthermore provides estimates of relative population densities and reconstructs land-use patterns (Grove 2011).

The objective of this analysis is to determine demographic and artistic centres of human settlements and show the diffusion and mobility of the hunter-gatherer groups during the later periods of the Upper Palaeolithic. Thus, a cross check between different time periods (Solutrean and Magdalenian), different regions of Iberian Peninsula (North and South) and spatial (settlement) and cultural data (art) is possible.

Date, Time: 30/05/2016, 14:00 h – 14:45 h

Location: Room S12, Seminargebäude (Building 106), Universitätsstraße 37 , Cologne

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The Epipalaeolithic occupation of the Eastern Sahara – Aspects of a Colonisation Process

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Jan Kuper is a PhD student in project A2 “Late Quaternary High-Resolution Climate Archives in the Sahara” of the CRC 806 “Our Way to Europe”, University of Cologne (Institute of Prehistoric Archaeology). In his PhD project, he focusses on the Epipalaeolithic occupation of the Eastern Sahara.

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This postglacial reoccupation is a convenient case study to examine a migration process of colonising hunter-gatherers at relatively high temporal resolution. A key advantage of this dispersal is the fact that this population movement cannot be disputed as the desert had been uninhabitable due to hyperaridity during the Late Pleistocene for tens of millennia. Besides generic questions of origin and time, the PhD project aims at investigating why and how people spread to new and unfamiliar tracts of land.

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Jan Kuper, Project A2

Tackling these questions might not only illuminate the prehistory of the Eastern Sahara, but also help to better understand general mechanisms of migration, in particular the colonisation of uninhabited landscapes.

Necessary archaeological and environmental information for this investigation derive from both, primary data (lithic analyses of crucial sites and palaeoclimate results obtained in project A2) and a review of relevant literature. This talk will present an initial attempt to integrate these diverse data into a tentative model for the early Holocene colonisation of the Eastern Sahara.

Date, Time: 30/05/2016, 14:00 h – 14:45 h

Location: Room S12, Seminargebäude (Building 106), Universitätsstraße 37 , Cologne

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Beyond out of Africa: the North African Middle Stone Age as a window into human origins

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EScerri

Dr. Eleanor Scerri British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Oxford

Hypotheses invoking fossil and archaeological data from the North African Middle Stone Age (MSA) include a gradual, multiregional origin of our species within Africa, an intricate history of within and out of Africa dispersals and the demographically induced origins of complex culture (d’Errico et al., 2009; Gunz et al., 2012; Scally and Durbin, 2012; Harvati and Hublin, 2013; Scerri et al., 2014a, 2014b). However, the North African MSA itself remains poorly understood, despite the implications of these hypotheses.

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Technical changes in the Late Upper Paleolithic of Morocco. A case study from Ifri El Baroud

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Alessandro Potì is a PhD student in Project C2 at the Institute of Prehistoric Archaeology (University of Cologne) since February 2014.

I studied Prehistory at the University of Ferrara (Italy). Since that time I’ve been mainly interested in lithic technology and in the adaptive behaviors of Paleolithic human groups. In my master thesis I analyzed, by means of a 3D geometric morphometric approach, a specific component of stone artifacts from the Lower Paleolithic site of Pirro Nord (S-Italy).

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The Motivation for the Seasonal Movement of Bison Hunters on the Northwestern Plains of North America

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Gerald Oetelaar

Prof. Gerald A. Oetelaar, Department of Archaeology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

To western researchers, the structure of the grasslands ecosystem on the Northwestern Plains of North America is determined primarily by climate as modified locally by topography, drainage, and sediments. The seasonal availability of the different grasses determines the migratory behaviour of bison which, in turn, influences the movement of human populations. Bison ecology and behaviour also determine the patterns of human aggregation and dispersal. Long-term climatic fluctuations, as measured by effective moisture and temperature, influence the net primary productivity of the short grass plains and, by extension, the size of the bison population.

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Models on adaptive strategies of hunter-gatherers derived from the analysis of lithic tools

Schmidt_Banner_nConcepts and methods applied to Solutrean points from Iberia

 Isabell Schmidt Institute of Prehistoric Archaeology, African Archaeology, University of Cologne, Germany

Dr. des. Isabell Schmidt
Institute of Prehistoric Archaeology, African Archaeology, University of Cologne, Germany

Archaeological research has developed numerous approaches to trace past human behaviour and its ability to adapt to different or changing environmental and social conditions. Although differences and changes are generally perceived on very broad temporal and spatial scales in prehistory, methods applied to archaeological remains frequently operate on local, momentary scales.

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