2.4 Attribute table fields

Attribute tables for the element shapefiles can be brought up by right-clicking on the relevant entry in the list pane and choosing 'attributes'. The following fields are included:

  1. FID; shape: these are created by ArcGIS and can effectively be ignored.
  2. ID: a unique referent for each feature.
  3. Element: name of the element represented by each feature.
  4. El_code: code for the element in question. These are taken from the Çatalhöyük recording system, which is derived ultimately from Richard Meadow's 'BONECODE' (1978) but is not identical to it.
  5. Q_el: frequency of the element in the full skeleton.
  6. Portion: name of the 'portion' represented by each feature. This works slightly differently for different kinds of elements. For long bones and some other elements they are truly portions that one might wish to treat separately (proximal, distal, shaft, etc.). For ribs and vertebrae, 'element' refers to the class (rib, lumbar vertebra, caudal vertebra, etc.) and 'portion' refers to the specific element (e.g. first rib, fourth cervical vertebra). For carpals, 'element' is simply 'carpals' while 'portion' is, for example, 'radial carpal'. For phalanges and sesamoids, the portion field is used to distinguish between anterior and posterior versions. Finally, teeth are included as portions of the mandible or skull.
  7. Part_code: code for the 'portion' in question. In most cases this is the element code followed by a dot and then an identifier for the portion (e.g. proximal tibia = 76.1). The same principle is followed for ribs and vertebrae (e.g. first rib = 33.1; second thoracic = 29.2). Where 'portion' refers to a discrete element with its own code in the Çatalhöyük system, as for phalanges, sesamoids and carpals, this code is used in the part_code field. For the mandible and skull, the bone itself is given the part_code x.0, and teeth assigned to x.1-x.11. Where an element only has one portion, this field is identical to 'el_code'.
  8. Q_portion: frequency of the 'portion' in the full skeleton.
  9. Composite: this and the following two fields are included for the sake of flexibility. 'Composite' contains the name of the element and/or portion at the scale at which it is likely to be used. It can be tailored to suit the dataset without deleting any of the information included in the preceding fields. One might, for example, wish to display data on long-bones by portion but to group all the carpals together, or to treat anterior and posterior phalanges separately while not making the same distinction for sesamoids.
  10. Compcode: code for the element/portion 'composite'. This will typically be the same either as 'el_code' or as 'part_code'.
  11. Q: the frequency of the element/portion 'composite' in the body. This will typically be the same either as 'Q_el' or as 'Q_portion'.
  12. Region: the anatomical region to which the feature belongs, as defined by Mary Stiner (1991).
  13. Reg_code: numerical code for the anatomical region.

Values in any of these fields can be changed to suit different languages or coding systems. Additional fields can be added as the user sees fit using the ArcCatalogue program included in ArcGIS, although it is recommended that actual zooarchaeological data be linked in from an external table using the code fields rather than typed into the attribute table itself.


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Last updated: Thu Feb 25 2010