Advances in Morphometrics in Archaeobotany


Morphometry, computer-assisted image analysis, archaeobotany, macro-botanical remains, micro-botanical remains


Morphometric analysis offers an alternative or augmentation to traditional archaeobotanical methods to address differences within and between plant species and their remains, refining and enhancing taxonomic resolution. Morphometrics, the measurement of size and shape, and the multivariate statistical analysis of generated quantitative variables, have long played a major role in biological research, including plant taxonomy and systematics, although its application in archaeobotany is relatively recent. Over the last few decades, there has been an increasing interest in the use of morphometrics for analysing a varied range of archaeological plant materials (mainly seeds, pollen, phytoliths, and starch grains). In particular, morphometrics have contributed to the study of the domestication and spread of many cereals world-wide, as well as that of other taxa including legumes, underground storage organs (USO), and fruits (such as olives, grapes, and dates). This paper reviews current methodologies, recent applications, and advances in the use of morphometrics in archaeobotanical research, discusses its role in exploring major research questions, and suggests possible future directions for its use.

Original Publication Citation

Portillo, M., Ball, T.B., Wallace, M., Murphy, C., Pérez-Díaz, S., Ruiz-Alonso, M., Aceituno, F.J., and López-Sáez. J.A. 2019. Advances in Morphometrics in Archaeobotany. Environmental Archaeology: The Journal of Human Palaeoecology DOI: 10.1080/14614103.2019.1569351

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Environmental Archaeology




Religious Education


Ancient Scripture

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor