This paper describes how feature extraction on ancient pottery can be combined with recent developments in artificial intelligence to draw up an automated, but still flexible classification system. These features include for instance several dimensions of the vessel's body, ratios thereof, an abstract representation of the overall shape, the shape of vessel segments and the number and type of attachments such as handles, lugs and feet. While most traditional approaches to classification are based on statistical analysis or the search for fuzzy clusters in high-dimensional spaces, we apply machine learning techniques, such as decision tree algorithms and neural networks. These methods allow for an objective and reproducible classification process. Conclusions about the "typability" of data, the evolution of types and the diagnostic attributes of the types themselves can be drawn as well
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