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Statistically robust representation and comparison of mortality profiles in archaeozoology

Gerbault, P; Gillis, R; Vigne, J; Tresset, A; Bréhard, S; Thomas, MG; (2016) Statistically robust representation and comparison of mortality profiles in archaeozoology. Journal of Archaeological Science , 71 pp. 24-32. 10.1016/j.jas.2016.05.001. Green open access

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Abstract

Archaeozoological mortality profiles have been used to infer site-specific subsistence strategies. There is however no common agreement on the best way to present these profiles and confidence intervals around age class proportions. In order to deal with these issues, we propose the use of the Dirichlet distribution and present a new approach to perform age-at-death multivariate graphical comparisons. We demonstrate the efficiency of this approach using domestic sheep/goat dental remains from 10 Cardial sites (Early Neolithic) located in South France and the Iberian Peninsula. We show that the Dirichlet distribution in age-at-death analysis can be used: (i) to generate Bayesian credible intervals around each age class of a mortality profile, even when not all age classes are observed; and (ii) to create 95% kernel density contours around each age-at-death frequency distribution when multiple sites are compared using correspondence analysis. The statistical procedure we present is applicable to the analysis of any categorical count data and particularly well-suited to archaeological data (e.g. potsherds, arrow heads) where sample sizes are typically small.

Type: Article
Title: Statistically robust representation and comparison of mortality profiles in archaeozoology
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2016.05.001
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2016.05.001
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/. The final version of record is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2016.05.001
Keywords: Archaeozoology; Mortality profiles; Sheep/goat; Dental wear; Dirichlet distribution; Cardial neolithic
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1495912
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