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Horses, hemiones, hydruntines? assessing the reliability of dental criteria for assigning species to Southwest Asian equid remains

Twiss, K.C., Wolfhagen, J., Madgwick, Richard, Foster, H., Demirergi, G.A., Russell, N., Everhart, J.L., Pearson, J. and Mulville, Jacqueline 2017. Horses, hemiones, hydruntines? assessing the reliability of dental criteria for assigning species to Southwest Asian equid remains. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 27 (2) , pp. 298-304. 10.1002/oa.2524

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Abstract

Many faunal assemblages across southwest Asia contain the remains of multiple wild equid species, which may reflect individual prehistoric human populations’ use of different hunting and/or landscape exploitation strategies. Accurate equid species assignments are therefore important. This paper tests the extent to which zooarchaeologists agree on equid species assignments made using commonly used zooarchaeological dental identification criteria. Seven zooarchaeologists individually use published criteria to assign species to equid teeth from Neolithic Çatalhöyük in central Anatolia, then use Fleiss’ kappa to measure our reliability of agreement. We assess our degrees of agreement for species assignments made using scanned images versus actual specimens and for mandibular teeth versus maxillary teeth. Having failed to achieve significant agreement, we conclude that zooarchaeologists should be cautious about species assignments made using these methods.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
Uncontrolled Keywords: Equus; interobserver reliability; southwest Asia; species assignment; zooarchaeology
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 1047-482X
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 18 July 2016
Date of Acceptance: 28 February 2016
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2019 22:51
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/92750

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