The use of Multiple Correspondence Analysis (MCA) in taphonomy: The case of Middle Helladic Asine, Greece

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The goal of this paper is to investigate whether multiple correspondence analysis (MCA), a multivariate statistical technique, is a useful dimensionality-reduction tool in zooarchaeological and taphonomic studies. For this purpose, the focus is to detect and discuss traces of waste management. Animal bones from waste-related contexts at the Bronze Age site Asine, Greece, are investigated. The data consist of bone fragments dating to the Middle Helladic from this site. Unidentified fragments were categorised in size classes, where possible. Information on taxa, skeletal parts and the presence or absence of several taphonomic markers is included in the data set. The MCA reveals several correlations of zooarchaeological interest. For example, the association between indeterminate fragments and calcined bone points to issues concerning identification and preservation. Floors are characterised by weathered long-bone fragments from medium-sized mammals. Additionally, the results of MCA indicate that the material might have suffered from density-mediated attrition, based on the abundance of axial fragments, which did not differ between different contexts and taxa. The results show that MCA can be used to detect zooarchaeological and taphonomic patterns. This multivariate technique is useful when investigating large data sets, as is often the case with large zooarchaeological assemblages.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Archaeology


  • aegean bronze age, Asine, Waste management, multiple correspondence analysis, taphonomy, Zooarchaeology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)477-487
JournalInternational Journal of Osteoarchaeology
Issue number3
Early online date2016 Dec 16
Publication statusPublished - 2017 May
Publication categoryResearch

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