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SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Archaic, Archaic period, Archaic tradition
CATEGORY: chronology; culture
DEFINITION: A term used to describe an early stage in the development of civilization. In New World chronology, the period just before the shift from hunting, gathering, and fishing to agricultural cultivation, pottery development, and village settlement. Initially, the term was used to designate a non-ceramic-using, nonagricultural, and nonsedentary way of life. Archaeologists now realize, however, that ceramics, agriculture, and sedentism are all found, in specific settings, within contexts that are clearly Archaic but that these activities are subsidiary to the collection of wild foods. In Old World chronology, the term is applied to certain early periods in the history of some civilizations. In Greece, it describes the rise of civilization from c 750 BC to the Persian invasion in 480 BC. In Egypt, it covers the first two dynasties, c 3200-2800 BC. In Classical archaeology, the term is often used to refer to the period of the 8th-6th centuries BC. The term was coined for certain cultures of the eastern North America woodlands dating from c 8000-1000 BC, but usage has been extended to various unrelated cultures which show a similar level of development but at widely different times. For example, it describes a group of cultures in the Eastern US and Canada which developed from the original migration of man from Asia during the Pleistocene, between 40,000-20,000 BC, whose economy was based on hunting and fishing, shell and plant gathering. Between 8000-1000 BC, a series of technical achievements characterized the tradition, which can be broken into periods: Early Archaic 8000-5000 BC, mixture of Big Game Hunting tradition with early Archaic cultures, also marked by post-glacial climatic change in association with the disappearance of Late Pleistocene big game animals; then Middle Archaic tradition cultures from 5000-2000 BC, and a Late Archaic period 2000-1000 BC. In the New World, the lifestyle lacked horticulture, domesticated animals, and permanent villages.
archaic maiolica
CATEGORY: ceramics
DEFINITION: A series of jugs and bowls of the early 13th to late 16th centuries in Tuscan and Italian towns. They were decorated with geometric motifs, leaves, and other forms outlined in brown and set into green or brown backgrounds. They were sold as far as Spain, North Africa, and northern Europe. There seems to be a connection to earlier Byzantine and Persian products.
Early Archaic Percussion Pressure flaking
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A type of flaking in which the Preform was shaped by percussion flaking. The blade edges were ground to prepare a surface for the removal of elongate pressure flakes. The pressure flaking may have taken the form of alternate uniface bevel flaking, biface serration flaking, alternate biface bevel flaking or irregular pressure flaking.
Early Dynastic period
CATEGORY: chronology
DEFINITION: A chronological phase in southern Mesopotamia between c 2900-2330 BC, ending with the founding of the Dynasty of Akkad. It was also known as the Pre-Sargonid period. The Sumerian city-states flourished under their separate dynastic rulers -- Ur, Umma, Kish, and Lagash. The period is 3100-2450 BC on what is called the high chronology" (the other being the "medium chronology"). The term itself is derived from the Sumerian 'king list' which implies that Sumer was ruled by kings at this stage although archaeological evidence for the existence of kingship is meager before the middle of the period. Traditionally it is divided by archaeologists into three subdivisions -- ED I II and III -- each of approximately 200 years duration. The Royal Tombs of Ur belong the ED III period. The Early Dynastic phase shows clear continuity from the preceding Jemdet Nasr and represents a period of rapid political cultural and artistic development. Within the period the pictographic writing of the earlier period developed into the standardized cuneiform script. This period represents the earliest conjunction of archaeological and written evidence for the history of southern Mesopotamia."
CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: Important Late Archaic tradition in northern New York and Vermont and the upper St. Lawrence valley, c 4000-1500 BC. Characteristic artifacts are broad-bladed, notched projectile points; bifaces, scrapers, and polished-stone tools (celts, gouges, plummets, slate knives or points). The tradition has phases such as Brewerton, Vergennes, and Vosburg.
Northern Archaic Tradition
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Northern Archaic tool tradition
CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: Culture of the North American arctic and subarctic dating to c 6000-4000 bp. The characteristic artifact is the side-notched point. Assemblages also contain oval bifaces, endscrapers, and notched pebbles. The tradition was defined at Onion Portage in the Denbigh Flint Complex and postdates the American Paleo-Arctic Tradition. The peoples are thought to have come there from the south; they hunted terrestrial mammals such as caribou and developed their own styles of artifacts. They showed a preference for expanding northern forests, and, although they left traces outside the forest limits in a few places, they generally avoided the now-deglaciated coasts of Canada's far north.

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