AGMT3-D: A software for 3-D landmarks-based geometric morphometric shape analysis of archaeological artifacts

Gadi Herzlinger*, Leore Grosman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


We present here a newly developed software package named Artifact GeoMorph Toolbox 3-D (AGMT3-D). It is intended to provide archaeologists with a simple and easy-to-use tool for performing 3-D landmarks-based geometric morphometric shape analysis on 3-D digital models of archaeological artifacts. It requires no prior knowledge of programming or proficiency in statistics. AGMT3-D consists of a data-acquisition procedure for automatically positioning 3-D models in space and fitting them with grids of 3-D semi-landmarks. It also provides a number of analytical tools and procedures that allow the processing and statistical analysis of the data, including generalized Procrustes analysis, principal component analysis, a warp tool, automatic calculation of shape variabilities and statistical tests. It provides an output of quantitative, objective and reproducible results in numerical, textual and graphic formats. These can be used to answer archaeologically significant questions relating to morphologies and morphological variabilities in artifact assemblages. Following the presentation of the software and its functions, we apply it to a case study addressing the effects of different types of raw material on the morphologies and morphological variabilities present in an experimentally produced Acheulian handaxe assemblage. The results show that there are statistically significant differences between the mean shapes and shape variabilities of handaxes produced on flint and those produced on basalt. With AGMT3-D, users can analyze artifact assemblages and address questions that are deducible from the morphologies and morphological variabilities of material culture assemblages. These questions can relate to issues of, among others, relative chronology, cultural affinities, tool function and production technology. AGMT3-D is aimed at making 3-D landmarks-based geometric morphometric shape analysis more accessible to archaeologists, in the hope that this method will become a tool commonly used by archaeologists.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere0207890
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are profoundly thankful to Naama Goren-Inbar for providing access to the experimental material used in the study as well as her valuable advice, financial assistance and supervision. We thank Bo Madsen for knapping the experimental material and Gonen Sharon for curating it. We express our gratitude to Uzy Smilansky for his role in the development of the positioning protocol and to Dan Pri-Tal for his assistance with programming. Lastly, we are most thankful to the team of the Computerized Archaeology Laboratory at the Institute of Archaeology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem for scanning and processing the material. This study was funded by Israel Science Foundation grant no. 27/12 given to Naama Goren-Inbar. We are grateful to the Wilson Foundation and Yad Hanadiv Foundation for their significant contributions given to Leore Grosman, without which these scientific developments would not have been possible. Sue Gorodetsky edited the manuscript with her usual professionalism and dedication.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Herzlinger, Grosman. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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