Journal of Computer Applications in Archaeology

26 Aug 202026 Aug 2020 New paper out: Towards a Method for Discerning Sources of Supply within the Human Remains Trade via Patterns of Visual Dissimilarity and Computer Vision.
We have a new paper out: Graham, S., Lane, A., Huffer, D.
and Angour ak is, A., 2020.
Towards a Method for Discerning Sources of Supply within the Human Remains Trade via Patterns of Visual Dissimilarity and Computer Vision.
Journal of Computer Applications in Archaeology, 3(1), pp.253–268.
DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/jcaa.59 “While traders of human remains on Instagram will give some indication, their best estimate, or repeat hearsay, regarding the geographic origin or provenance of the remains, how can we assess the veracity of these claims when we cannot physically examine the remains.
A novel im age analysis using convolutional neural networks in a one-shot learning architecture with a triplet loss function is used to develop a range of ‘distances’ to known ‘reference’ images for a group of skulls with known provenances and a group of images of skulls from social media posts.
Comparing the two groups enables us to predict a broad geographic ‘ancestry’ for any given skull depicted, using a mixture discriminant analysis, as well as a machin e-learning model, on the image dissimilarity scores.
It thus seems possible to assign, in broad strokes, that a particular skull has a particular geographic ancestry.
” Our code is at https://github.com/bonetrade/visual-dissimilarity The key idea: a one-shot neural network can be used to measure the web of differences in carefully selected social media images (backgrounds removed) of human skulls.
patterns of similar *dissimilarities* can then be compared with osteological or forensic materials and then we can look at what vendors say about the remains.
We find that the stories told are often dubious.
The web of differences also seems to imply that Indigenous North America n human remains are being traded, but not labelled as such.
While bonetraders will be quick to point out that ‘buying human skulls is legal’ (and we’ll write more about that in due course), trading in Indigenous Human remains gets into NAGPRA territory & it’s most definitely illegal (US): https:// law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18.
Zettlekasten to Online  Wiki Post to.