‘Erfahrungsbericht’ of application of different quantitative methods at Kalapodi
conference contributionposted on 21.02.2013, 15:51 by Sara Strack
Late Bronze and Early Iron Age levels in a sample trench at the Central Greek cult site at Kalapodi are used to apply a range of quantitative methods, in order to assess their comparability, as well as applicability and ease of use for an assemblage characterized by a high degree of fragmentation and corresponding low completeness. Sherd count, weight, rim and base portion EVEs, MNIs, and aggregate feature count are assessed for their uses and pitfalls. While none of these methods are found to be entirely unproblematic, and while all have their advocates and opponents in the relevant bibliography, it is argued that particularly for the analysis of pottery as evidence for human behaviour, but also for the comparison of assemblages across sites and/or periods, methods establishing vessel numbers (EVE, MNI, AFC) are preferable over those establishing the amount of pottery (sherd count, weight). A comparison of data sets resulting from different quantitative methods illustrates that the latter are roughly equivalent, suggesting that the quantitative approach best suited for each assemblage can be chosen while retaining inter-site and inter-period comparability. Finally, an examination of sample size effect on representation of artefact classes shows the need for sample sizes larger than anticipated in order to obtain statistically significant data.