Results for crescent:
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Great Basin Transverse point
DEFINITION: A crescent-shaped bifacially flaked stone tool generally restricted to the Paleo-Indian period and almost always found in association with extinct Pleistocene lakes. They were possibly used for hunting large shorebirds.
- Fertile Crescent
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: The region in the Middle East where the civilizations of the Middle East and the Mediterranean basin began. The term was invented by the American Orientalist James Henry Breasted in 1916. It applied to the crescent-shaped area of cultivable land between the highland zones and the West Asian desert, stretching from Egypt through the Levant to southern Anatolia and northern Mesopotamia, and eastwards to the flanks of the Zagros Mountains. Conditions in this area were favorable for the early development of farming, and all the earliest farming communities were thought to lie within it. The Fertile Crescent in its wider extension corresponds exactly to the region described in the Hebrew traditions of Genesis; it also contains the ancient countries -- Babylonia, Assyria, Egypt, Phoenicia -- from which the Greek and Roman civilizations evolved. The belief that the earliest culture known to mankind originated in the Fertile Crescent has been confirmed by radiocarbon dating since 1948. It is now known that incipient agriculture and village agglomerations there must be dated back to about 8000 BC, if not earlier, and that irrigation was used almost immediately.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: crescent
DEFINITION: Small stone tool made on a blade or bladelet and shaped like part of a circle; the backing is along a curved arc opposite a straight unretouched edge. It was hafted, possibly as a projectile tip or as part of a cutting tool. Segments occur in some sub-Saharan African Howiesons Poor and Later Stone Age assemblages and are widespread in North Africa.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: calendrics
DEFINITION: A cyclical system of measuring the passage of time. The day is the fundamental unit of computation in any calendar. Most ancient civilizations (and perhaps some non-literate prehistoric societies) developed calendrical systems to mark the passage of time and various methods have been employed by different peoples. Where these were both carefully calculated and written down, as in Egypt, Mesopotamia and Mesoamerica, they are of considerable assistance to archaeologists for dating purposes. In the Americas, the origins of calendrics are still obscure, but evidence from Monte Albán suggests that the 52-year Calendar Round was known by the 6th century BC. The Long Count system was in use by c 1st century BC if not before. Ancient Near Eastern calendars varied from city to city and from period to period. In most cities the year started in the spring and was divided into 12 or 13 months. In some places the months were of fixed length; in others they were lunar months starting at the first sighting of the crescent of the new moon. As there are more than 12 lunar months in a solar year additional, or intercalary, months were included so that every third year contained 13 months. The earliest Egyptian calendars were based on lunar observations combined with the annual cycle of the Nile inundation, measured with nilometers. On this basis, the Egyptians divided the year into 12 months and three seasons: akhet (inundation), peret (spring/ crops), and shemu (harvest). The Egyptians had 30-day months and 5 intercalary days in their solar or civil calendar. For agricultural purposes and for determining religious festivals, they used a different calendar based on observations of Sirius, the dog star. The calendar in use in ancient Mesopotamia and the Levant was lunar, based on 12 months of 30 days each. This produced a year of only 354 days, about 11-1/4 days short of the true solar year; the necessary correction was made by the addition of seven months over a period of 19 years. This type of calendar is still used in both Judaism and Islam for religious purposes, though many countries now also employ the Gregorian solar calendar for secular purposes. The origin of the calendric system in general use today -- the Gregorian calendar -- can be traced back to the Roman republican calendar, which is thought to have been introduced by the fifth king of Rome, Tarquinius Priscus (616-579 BC). This calendar was likely derived from an earlier Roman calendar -- a lunar system of 10 months -- that was supposedly devised about 738 BC by Romulus, the founder of Rome. In the year 46 BC, Julius Caesar corrected the calendar by having a year of 445 days (known as the ultimus annus confusionis' or 'the last year of the muddled reckoning'). He then adapted the Egyptian solar calendar for Roman use, inserting extra days in the shorter months to bring the total up to 365, with the addition of a single day between the 23rd and 24th February in leap years. This calendar, known as the Julian Calendar, remained in use until the time of Gregory XIII in 1582, who made a further correction (of eleven days) and instituted the calendar which is in general use today. Very useful to Mesoamerican archaeologists is the Maya Long Count or Initial Series, which was a means of recording absolute time. Its starting date of 3113 BC (using the Goodman-Thompson-Martinex correlation) marks some mythical event in Maya history and itself stands at the beginning of a cycle 13 Baktuns long. A Baktun at 144,000 days in the largest unit of time in the calendar and is further divided into smaller units: the Katun (7200 days); the Tun (360 days); the Uninal (20 days) and the Kin (a single days). Thus Long Count dates are expressed in terms of these units in a five place notation. Therefore the date 18.104.22.168.0. indicates the passage of 9 x 144,000 plus 18 x 7200 days since the initial date of 3113 BC. In cultural contexts, however, the dates are inscribed as a series of hieroglyphs which incorporate numeration via bars (units of five) and dots (units of one). Short count dating replaced the Long Count after 900 AD and the Katun replaced the Baktun as the largest unit. It is less precise, however.
- CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Component of a horse bridle comprising a crescentic section of brow tine from a red deer's antler, perforated with a central hole or slot for the soft mouthpiece of rope or leather, with perforations above and below for a bifurcate rein. Early examples are found in the early Bronze Age of the Carpathian Basin dating to the mid 2nd millennium BC; they appear soon afterwards in northern and western Europe, although generally less heavily decorated than their southern counterparts.
- Denbigh Flint complex
- CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: An Arctic Small Tool Tradition flint industry found at Cape Denbigh, Iyatayet, Cape Krusenstern, Onion Portage, and other Alaskan sites. The typical artifacts are finely worked microblade tools (bladelets, small crescents), burins, and bifacially pressure-flaked points. The Denbigh complex had developed by c 3200 BC. The Arctic Small tool tradition spread eastwards over the whole Arctic zone from Alaska to Greenland and contributed to the earliest Eskimo cultures. Land mammals seem to have been the primary focus of subsistence activity.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Kenya Capsian, Kenya Aurignacian
DEFINITION: An East African obsidian industry of the central Rift Valley, Kenya, previously known as the 'Kenya Capsian' and before that as the 'Kenya Aurignacian'. Its time span is the 13th-8th millennia BC. The assemblages, as recovered from Gamble's Cave and Nderit Drift, comprise large backed blades, crescentric microliths, burins, and end-scrapers.
- food vessel
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: food vessel culture
CATEGORY: culture; artifact
DEFINITION: One of the two main cultures of the Bronze Age; the name given to a series of pottery vessels in northern Britain, Scotland, and Ireland. It was a prototype derived from that of the Beaker Folk and other Neolithic cultures. The food vessel culture people were hunters and farmers, raising sheep and growing corn. They also sold bronze and other metal goods made in Ireland. They buried food vessels with their dead (inhumation, in crouched positions, buried in cists under cairns or barrows). In the graves, too, are found the crescent-shaped necklaces of jet and shale beads, and gold necklaces of the same shape (lunula) from Ireland. Then there are bronze, halbards, axes, daggers, earrings of gold and bronze, bone hairpins, and plano-convex flint knives. The culture is dated to 2000-1600 BC.
- CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A general category of artifacts that includes lunates (crescent-shaped), triangles (three sides), trapezes (four sizes, two approximately parallel), and rectangles (four sides) - generally very small tools, usually less than an inch long and with the shapes formed by backing and a sharp cutting edge
- CATEGORY: lithics
DEFINITION: A crescent or half moon-shaped flint with the inner edge untrimmed and the thick, rounded edge having small chips removed; used as arrowhead.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: pl. lunulae
DEFINITION: A crescent-shaped sheet of gold, probably worn as a collar or chest ornament in the Early Bronze Age, possibly for rituals. Their incised geometric decoration suggests is similar to that on bell beakers. They originated with the food vessel people of Ireland, Scotland, and perhaps Wales in the Early Bronze Age, and traded not only to southern England but also across to northern Europe. The decoration has led to the suggestion that it imitates the multiple-strand necklaces of jet and amber that are also found during the Early Bronze Age.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Lugdunum
DEFINITION: Egyptian Late Predynastic settlement site, south of Cairo, occupied c 3200-3000 BC, immediately preceding the Archaic period. The settlement, consisting of wattle-and-daub oval and crescent-shaped huts, as well as large subterranean houses, flourished from Naqada I to II. There are large pottery jars and storage pits, imports of the Gerzean of Upper Egypt and of Early Bronze Age Palestine.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: pigmy stone
DEFINITION: Any of various very small stone tools varying in size from 1-5 cm -- mainly thin blade or blade fragments with sharp cutting edges, usually geometric in shape and set into a wooden handle or shaft or the tip of a bone or antler as an arrow point. They were shaped by abrupt retouch into various shapes like triangles and crescents. Microliths were produced during the Later Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic and were either struck as blades from very small cores or were made from fractured blades using the microburin technique. They are characteristic, for example, of Azilian culture of the Mesolithic. Microliths represent both a versatile and an economic use of raw material: just as blades yield more cutting edge than flakes per unit weight of raw material, so bladelets improve yet further this advantage, by a factor of something over 100 compared to core tools.
- Moshebi's Shelter
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A rock shelter site in eastern Lesotho, close to the borders of Natal and the Cape Province of South Africa, with two early industries attributed to the 'Middle Stone Age'. The later of these contains a number of large backed crescent-shaped pieces and other tools which suggest a possible connection with the Howiesons-Poort industries. The later industries are of backed microlith type. At a level dated to the 1st millennium AD, pottery is first represented, as are pressure-flaked tanged arrowheads.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A cemetery of four Copper Age (Chalcolithic) rock-cut tombs in Setúbal, Portugal, near Lisbon. Each has a kidney-shaped chamber, originally used for collective inhumation, entered by a long passage or through a hole in the roof. The cemetery forms the type site of a culture flourishing in central Portugal c 3800-3200 BC. A variety of amuletic objects in stone includes decorated plano-convex or cylindrical stylized human figurines, crescents, model hoes or adzes, and a pair of sandals from Alapraia. Stonework follows Neolithic traditions, but adds deeply concave-based arrowheads. The tombs were rich in Beaker material, including 50 beakers with copper knives and fragments of gold foil. Pottery, too, follows on from the Almeria culture, though foreign elements have been connected with the dark-slipped Urfirnis ware of Greece. There is also a distinctive type of arrowhead with near-circular copper blade and long tang, the Palmela point. The settlements are likely a variant of the Vila Nova de Sao Pedro culture.
- Panaramitee style
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Panaramitee art
DEFINITION: An art style found in many parts of Australia involving rock engravings featuring circles and tridents (possibly kangaroo and emu tracks) and dating to Pleistocene times. It is found at Panaramitee in the Flinder Ranges, South Australia, and arid regions in south Australia, New South Wales, north Queensland, and the Northern Territory; isolated examples have also been found in northern Tasmania and near Sydney. Engravings were found at Ingaladdi dating to 5000-7000 bp, at Early Man Shelter c 13,000 bp, and Karolta c 30,000 years old. The style involves the pecking on rock surfaces by indirect percussion of clusters of hundreds of small figures, usually about 10 cm tall, in outline or infilled forms. The designs include dots, spirals, mazes, and crescents, human footprints, lizards, radiating lines and tectiforms (roof shapes). The art is thought to be of considerable antiquity on the basis of still inconclusive evidence of patination, distribution in both Australia and Tasmania, and the absence of stone tool types belonging to the post-2000 BC Australian Small Tool Tradition.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A rock shelter in the Warburton Ranges of the Western Desert, Western Australia with occupation from c 8000 BC. It is part of the 'Australian desert culture' with stone tools in the earliest levels consisting of small stone scrapers (micro-adze flakes or thumbnail scrapers), large flake scrapers, and horsehoof cores. Larger adze flakes and seed grinders appeared around 5000 BC. Microliths (Bondi points and crescents) were present from 2000 BC. The earlier tool types persisted until the present, with late addition of flake knives and hand axes. The preponderance of adze flakes showed the significance of woodworking in the desert culture.
- CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A type of tool known from the European Bronze Age which comprises a thin bronze blade, often double-edged, which is believed to have been used for removing facial or body hair. A number of different styles can be recognized including bi-fid, horseshoe, Hallstatt, Scandinavian Terramara, quadrangular, and crescentic forms.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A rock shelter on the Jos Plateau of central Nigeria with two main artifact-bearing layers, the first containing large scrapers and backed crescent-shaped implements, but no pottery. The later horizon contained a backed microlithic industry and pottery, and dates to 2000 BP.
- CATEGORY: culture; language
DEFINITION: A name applied to the speakers of a set of related languages who inhabited portions of southwestern Asia since the time of the first cities. Semitic languages are characterized by the importance of the consonants, usually three forming the root of each word. The vowels are omitted altogether in a number of the scripts. The Semites are first recorded on the steppe margins of the Arabian desert, encroaching upon the Sumerians to form the kingdom of Akkad c 2400 BC. The Amorites appear c 2000 in the same area and in Syria-Palestine, where they settled to become the Canaanites. The Khabiru (Hebrews) appear in the same context. In the 12th century BC, the Amorites were followed by the Aramaeans, particularly in inland Syria. The Phoenicians from the 9th century BC carried their Semitic language over much of the Mediterranean. Arabic and Hebrew are the most important surviving Semitic languages. Most, probably all, alphabetic scripts derive from the Semitic alphabet, created sometime in the 2nd millennium BC. The Semitic script was invented by speakers of some Semitic language, possibly Phoenician, who lived in the northern part of the Fertile Crescent.
- CATEGORY: lithics
DEFINITION: A transverse-bladed Arctic knife, crescent-shaped and usually of slate. The blade of the knife is the lower element of an inverted T and the handle is the vertical upright element.
- Uluzzo, Uluzzian
- CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: A lithic industry in Palaeolithic caves and open-air sites around the bay of Uluzzo, in Apulia, southern Italy. The most important is Grotta Cavallo, with a series of Mousterian and Upper Palaeolithic levels. The earliest Upper Palaeolithic levels are called the Uluzzian (c 33,000 bp) and include scrapers, denticulates, small curved backed points, and crescents. It occurred after the final Mousterian and was contemporary with early Aurignacian.
- Via Maris
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Historic road that runs along the Palestine coast, Latin for way of the sea". It was the most important route from Egypt to Syria (the Fertile Crescent) which followed the coastal plain before crossing over into the plain of Jezreel and the Jordan valley."
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Villanovan culture; Villanova period
DEFINITION: Early Iron Age people of the Po Valley, Etruria, and parts of Campania, Italy, c 900-700 BC. The culture is defined by artifacts from the type site of Villanova: metalwork in gold and bronze. The craftsmen played a major part in the development of the fibula and the technique of sheet metalwork, especially the situla. The cemeteries were urnfields with decorated biconical urns and bronze objects; subsidiary vessels, fibulae, ornaments, crescentic razors, etc., frequently accompanied the ashes. The pottery was handmade, dark burnished, decorated with meanders of grooved bands. The Villanovans were replaced culturally by the Etruscans in the south in the 8th century, in the north in the 6th century. This period laid the foundations for the Etruscan culture and city-states of the 8th century BC.
- West Kennet
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A Neolithic long barrow, the largest of the Severn-Cotswold group of megalithic tombs, in Wiltshire, England, of c 3500 BC. The tomb has two pairs of transepts and a terminal chamber; the entrance opens from a crescent-shaped forecourt blocked by a straight facade of sarsen slabs. The burial was of 46 disarticulated inhumations and the chambers were filled with a mixture of soil, charcoal, sherds of Peterborough ware, and grooved ware and beaker fragments. That material has a date of 2500/2000 BC.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Wiltonian
DEFINITION: Microlithic Later Stone Age industry with its type site in a rock shelter in Cape Province, South Africa and found in other parts of eastern and southern Africa. It is the African equivalent of the Mesolithic cultures of Europe, though of later date, and in its final stage shows contact with the Iron Age farmers of the 1st millennium AD. It occurred over the last 8000 years. In the rock shelter area, the characteristic tool is the tiny convex or 'thumbnail' scraper; crescent-shaped backed microliths, adzes, and backed blades are also present. There is rock painting, plant remains, and faunal remains of non-gregarious" browsing antelope as well as evidence of fishing. Around the beginning of the Christian era the descendants of the Wilton folk acquired domestic sheep and possibly cattle and learned the art of pottery manufacture (called post-climax Wilson or ceramic Wilton)."
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