Using off-the-shelf software, we are able to display the results of successive seasons' work from each quarry site as a single image. We can view the site from various perspectives, analyze the orientation of long bones, look at the distribution of such things as tendons and teeth and evaluate the spatial relationship between bones suspected of belonging to the same animal. We have also been able to visualize the thickness of the bone layer, the number of bones per unit area, and the vertical profile of the bones in each site. The formidable learning curve for GIS software can be initially sidestepped by focusing only on procedures required for 3-D display.
One of the objectives of taphonomic quarrying is to preserve
as much information from the quarry site as possible, not only for the
purpose of present investigations, but so that questions can be asked of
the data that may not have occurred to investigators at the time of the
initial study. Virtual quarry reconstruction requires high standards for
data acquisition and retrieval, thereby ensuring the possibility of future
queries from different perspectives.
paper presented at the SVP 2002 meeting, Norman, OK, Oct 2002.