NISP, bone fragmentation, and the measurement of taxonomic abundance

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  • NISP, bone fragmentation, and the measurement of taxonomic abundance

Dublin Core

Title

NISP, bone fragmentation, and the measurement of taxonomic abundance

Subject

S7-1. New perspectives on taphonomy, poster

Description

Abstract:

NISP is dependent on the degree to which bones have been fragmented, but rarely are attempts made to control for the effects of fragmentation on NISP, even though, without doing so, it cannot be known whether variability in NISP is simply telling us about variability in fragmentation rather than about factors of more direct archaeological interest. This paper takes steps towards developing methods for better dealing with this problem by presenting 1) a formal model of the relationship between NISP and fragmentation, 2) experimental data on the shape of this relationship, and 3) experimental data on the effectiveness of several potential measures of fragmentation. The experimental data, derived from an incremental bone crushing protocol, indicate that NISP values first increase and then decrease with increases in fragmentation, as is to be expected on theoretical grounds. However, they also suggest that NISP may change less with increases in fragmentation than is commonly assumed because increases in numbers of specimens are well-balanced by declines in identifiability at most levels of fragmentation. Finally, the experiments suggest that specimen weight and specimen size (which can be measured quickly through digital image analysis) are useful measures of the degree of fragmentation among assemblages, while there are both theoretical and empirical reasons to think that MNI:NISP ratios respond to increases in fragmentation in a non-monotonic manner and are thus less useful.

Authors:

CANNON Mike and BARGER Nicci

Affiliations

SWCA Environmental Consultants, 257 E. 200 S, Suite 200, Salt Lake City, UT 84106, USA. mcannon@swca.com

Creator

Cannon, Mike
Barger, Nicci

Date

August 2010

Contribution Form

Online Submission

No

Document Item Type Metadata

Citation

Cannon, Mike and Barger, Nicci. "NISP, bone fragmentation, and the measurement of taxonomic abundance ," in BoneCommons, Item #1021, http://alexandriaarchive.org/bonecommons/items/show/1021 (accessed August 7, 2020).

License

Creative Commons License

File: Cannon_Barger_ICAZ_2010_poster.pdf