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      Classifying Ancient West Mexican Ceramic Figures Using Three-Dimensional Modelling and Machine Learning


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      Electronic Visualisation and the Arts (EVA 2017) (EVA)

      Electronic Visualisation and the Arts

      11 – 13 July 2017

      3D Imaging, Applications, Archaeology, Collections, Cultural heritage, Interdisciplinary, Museums, Paper, Technology



            This work involves the creation of a taxonomy of three-dimensional posture and gesture combinations represented by ceramic human figures associated with shaft and chamber tombs in the western coastal states of Nayarit, Jalisco, Michoacán and Colima of Mexico. Gordon Hewes (1966) proposed that posture and gesture of actual human subjects communicates a tremendous amount of information that was not being gathered on a consistent basis (Hewes 1966:106). While Hewes presented his paper on “The Domain Posture” fifty years ago, his observation rings true today. The three-dimensional taxonomy should demonstrate that posture and gesture are correlated with sexual characteristics and are not random, but rather, an illustration of a purposeful series of postures and gestures that transmit cultural meaning within the ancient constructs of West Mexican culture. There is an opportunity for anthropologists to begin seeing and evaluating and documenting the non-verbal communications made through posture and gesture both in artefacts crafted as figures, as in the case of the shaft tomb figures, and in modern cultural anthropology. The process of classification of the ceramic human figures according to posture and gesture takes three major steps: three-dimensional imaging, posture representation and finally classifying these representations. The three-dimensional imaging consists of creating three-dimensional models of the ceramic human figures. The posture representation consists of collecting measures of the fourteen major limb joints of the human body as they are represented in three-dimensional models of the ceramic figures. The last step is to use learning algorithms to classify the posture representation of the ceramic figures. The goal is to demonstrate the usefulness of the threedimensional imaging to accurately and consistently identify key posture/gesture combinations for comparison with other biological and cultural variables expressed by the figures. Initially, this project focuses on archaeological material located in the Gilcrease Museum collection in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but will also utilise other collections as points of comparison. While this work will identify patterns of posture and gesture within West Mexican ceramic shaft tomb figures, its application does not end there. With the utilisation of technology in the form of three-dimensional imaging, its application spans both archaeological material from other cultures and modern cultural anthropology. This technology can advance studies related to the cultural meaning of this important class of artefacts. From a musicological perspective, this technology could become a critical element in metadata collection to document collections.


            Author and article information

            July 2017
            July 2017
            : 19-24
            [0001]Department of Anthropology

            University of Tulsa

            800 S College Ave

            Tulsa, Oklahoma 74104

            [0002]Tandy School of Computer Sciences

            University of Tulsa

            800 S College Ave

            Tulsa, Oklahoma 74104

            © Forrester-Sellers et al. Published by BCS Learning and Development Ltd. Proceedings of EVA London 2017, UK

            This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

            Electronic Visualisation and the Arts (EVA 2017)
            London, UK
            11 – 13 July 2017
            Electronic Workshops in Computing (eWiC)
            Electronic Visualisation and the Arts
            Product Information: 1477-9358BCS Learning & Development
            Self URI (journal page): https://ewic.bcs.org/
            Electronic Workshops in Computing

            5. REFERENCES

            1. 1955 World Distribution of Postural Habits American Anthropologist 57 2 231 44

            2. 1966 Anthropological Linguistics, 8:8, Ethnoscience A Symposium Presented at the 1966 Meeting of Central States Anthropological Society 106 112

            3. Gilcrease Museum, 54.4051, Kneeling woman ceramic effigy with hollow construction in Lagunillas style, Kravis Discovery Center. 300 BCE - 300 CE, https://collections.gilcrease.org/obiect/544051 21 March 2017

            4. Gilcrease Museum, 54.3892, Seated female ceramic funerary effigy with hollow construction in Ixtlan del Rio style. Kravis Discovery Center, 300 BCE - 200 CE, https://collections.gilcrease.org/obiect/543892 21 March 2017

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            8. 2013 Key Developments in Human Pose Estimation for Kinect Consumer Depth Cameras for Computer Vision Advances in Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition Springer, London

            9. (unpublished) Personal communication

            10. 2014 The Visual Guide to West Mexico Shaft Tomb Ceramic Figures. University of Tulsa Tulsa, OK

            11. ext-link-type="uri" xlink:href="Scikit-learn.org.">Scikit-learn.org. http://scikit-learn.org/stable/modules/tree.html#tree 21 March 2017


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