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activity area
CATEGORY: feature
DEFINITION: A place where a specific ancient activity was located or carried out, such as food preparation or stone toolmaking. The place usually corresponded to one or more features and associated artifacts and ecofacts. In American archaeology, the term describes the smallest observable component of a settlement site. See data cluster.
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: A sector of units of excavation that consists of a group of closely related, usually contiguous, squares. The numbering of Areas is by capital letters, e.g., Area A, Area M, etc., and squares by Arabic numbers, Area A, Square 1. In some systems of excavation what is an Area in the above description is called a field, and instead of the smaller unit of squares already described, that unit is called an area, e.g., Field 1, Area 1.
area excavation
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: extensive excavation, open excavation, open-area excavation
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: A method of excavation in which the full horizontal extent of a site is cleared and large areas are open while preserving a stratigraphic record in the balks between large squares. A gradual vertical probe may then take place. This method is often used to uncover houses and prehistoric settlement patterns. Area excavation involves the opening up of large horizontal areas for excavation, used especially where single period deposits lie close to the surface. It is the excavation of as large an area as possible without the intervention of balks and a grid system. This technique allows the recognition of much slighter traces of ancient structures than other methods. On multi-period sites, however, it calls for much more meticulous recording since the stratigraphy is revealed one layer at a time.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Cherchel, Caesarea Palaestinae, Caesarea Maritima, Straton's Tower, Strato's Tower
DEFINITION: An ancient port and administrative city of Palestine on the Mediterranean coast of present-day Israel. It is often called Caesarea Palaestinae or Caesarea Maritima to distinguish it from Caesarea Philippi. It was originally an ancient Phoenician settlement known as Straton's (Strato's Tower) and was rebuilt and enlarged by Herod the Great around 22-10 BC, who renamed it for his patron, Caesar Augustus. Herod also rebuilt the harbor, which traded with his newly built city at Sebaste (Augusta) of ancient Samaria. There were Hellenistic-Roman public buildings and an aqueduct. After Herod died, it became the capital of the Roman province of Judaea. An inscription naming Pontius Pilate is one of the best-known from the site. The city became the capital of the Roman province of Judaea in AD 6. Jewish revolts and later Byzantine and Arab rule cause the city's decline.
culture area
DEFINITION: Major anthropological subdivisions of the North American continent, characterized by relatively uniform environments and relatively similar cultures. It is a geographical region in which general cultural homogeneity is to be found, defined by ethnographically observed cultural similarities within the area. A culture area is also a geographic area in which one culture prevailed at a given time. This concept was devised as a means of organizing museum data. Examples are the Southwest, the Northwest Coast.
limited-area reconnaissance
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: A method of comprehensively inquiring about a site, supported by actual substantiation of claims that sites exist by checking the ground.
nuclear area
DEFINITION: A location where large, complex societies occur at different times, such as the valley of central Mexico. The term also is defined as the focus of activity in a site, such as a camp or village around which hunting or agricultural activity takes place.
off-site area
DEFINITION: Any site with low densities of artifacts.
open-area excavation
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: A type of excavation in which large horizontal areas are opened, esp. where single-period deposits lie close to the surface.
DEFINITION: The subdivision of an archaeological area, usually defined by geographic or cultural considerations.

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