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American Anthropological Association
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: AAA
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: A professional organization for anthropologists with a special division for archaeologists. The association publishes American Anthropologist and Anthropology Newsletter. The Archaeology Division publishes the monograph series Archaeological Papers of the AAA.
Assur
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Ashur
CATEGORY: deity; site
DEFINITION: A solar deity which was the chief god of the city of Assur and the kingdom of Assyria. With the latter's conquests, Assur assumed leadership of the Assyrian pantheon and supremacy over the other gods of Mesopotamia. The deity was conceived in anthropomorphic terms. The image of the deity was fed and clothed and was responsible for fertility and security, and represented as a winged sun-disc. It is also the name of the ancient religious capital of the Assyrian empire in northern Mesopotamia, on the bank of the River Tigris at modern Qalaat-Shergat, which was a great trading center and the burial place of the kings even after the government moved to Nineveh. First recorded in the 3rd millennium BC as a frontier post of the empire of Akkad, it then became an independent city-state and finally the capital of Assyria. After Assyria's collapse in 614 BC it failed to survive but was briefly revived under the Parthians. Areas of the palaces, temples, walls, and town have been cleared, and a sondage pit was cut beneath the Temple of Ishtar (pre-Sargonid) to reveal the 3rd and early 2nd millennium levels (the first use of this technique in Mesopotamian excavation). Sumerian statues were found - among the earliest evidence of Sumerian contact outside the southern plain. For over 2000 years successive kings built and rebuilt the fortifications, temple, and palace complexes: inscriptions associated with these monuments have helped in the construction of the chronology of the site. Three large ziggurats dominated the city with the largest being 60 m square (completed by Shamsi Adad I c 1800 bc). It was originally dedicated to Enlil, but later to Assur; the dedication of the other temples also changed through time. Representations on cylinder seals suggest that many buildings might have had parapets and towers. Assurnasirpal II (883-859 BC) moved the capital to Calah and by 614 BC the city of Assur had fallen to the Median (Medes) army.
Assyria
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Assyrians
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: The name of three different empires dating from about 2000-600 BC, the city-state of Assur, and the people inhabiting this northeastern area of Mesopotamia. Originally Semitic nomads in northern Mesopotamia, they finally settled around Assur and accepted its tutelary god as their own. After the fall of the 3rd Dynasty of Ur (2004 BC), Assyria seems to have become an independent city-state and important as middleman in international trade. In its period of greatness, 883-612 BC, there was continuous war in Assyria to keep the empire's lands which at their widest extended from the Nile to near the Caspian, and from Cilicia to the Persian Gulf (Egypt, much of the area to the west as far as the Mediterranean, Elam to the east and parts of Anatolia to the north). Its greatest kings were all warriors, Ashurnasirpal II, Shalmaneser III, Tiglathpileser III, Sargon II, Sennacherib, and Ashurbanipal, who made the name of Assyria feared throughout the ancient East through their military skill and brutality. The main achievements in Assyria, outside warfare, were in architecture and sculpture, particularly the protective winged bulls, etc., which guarded all palace entrances, and the magnificent reliefs of battles, hunts, and military processions which adorned the walls. Assurnasirpal II (833-859 BC) transferred the center of government to Calah (Nimrud). The fortunes of the empire rose and fell under the kings of the 9th-7th centuries: Assurbanipal (668-627 BC) reconquered Egypt, but in 614 BC the empire fell when the Medes invaded Assyria, captured Calah, and destroyed Assur.
Assyrian
CATEGORY: language
DEFINITION: One of the two main dialects of ancient Mesopotamia, used in the north. A Semitic language very close to Babylonian, from which it is thought to have diverged at the end of the 2nd millennium. Assyrian probably disappeared with the destruction of Assyria in 7th century BC. Old Assyrian cuneiform is attested mostly in the records of Assyrian trading colonists in central Asia Minor (c. 1950 BC; the so-called Cappadocian tablets) and Middle Assyrian in an extensive Law Code and other documents. The Neo-Assyrian period was the great era of Assyrian power, and the writing culminated in the extensive records from the library of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh (c. 650 BC).
Assyriology
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Assyriological adj., Assyriologist n.
CATEGORY: related field
DEFINITION: The study of the history, language, and antiquities of ancient Assyria and Babylonia in northern Mesopotamia, principally through cuneiform lists. Assyriologists have reconstructed sequences for Assyria through limmu (eponym) lists found by excavators.
Basse-Yutz
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Bronze wine flagons found in Moselle, France, with coral and enamel inlay of c 400 BC. The pair is thought to have come from a Celtic chieftain's grave.
Beni Hassan
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Bani Hasan, Beni Hasan
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A Middle Kingdom archaeological site, on the eastern bank of the Nile, Egypt, about 150 miles south of Cairo. The site is known for its rock-cut tombs of the 11th- and 12th-dynasty (2125-1795 BC) officials of the 16th Upper Egyptian (Oryx) nome, or province. Some of the 39 tombs are painted with scenes of daily life and important biographical texts. The governors of the nome, whose capital was Menat Khufu, ancestral home of the 4th-dynasty pharaohs, administered the eastern desert. The tomb of one, Khnumhotep II, contains a scene showing Semitic Bedouin merchants in richly colored garments entering Egypt. A rock-cut shrine of Pakhet, known as Speos Artemidos, built by Queen Hatshepsut and Thutmose III of the 18th dynasty, lies one mile north, in an ancient quarry, with a smaller shrine of Alexander II nearby. There are some small tombs dating back to the 6th Dynasty (2345-2181 BC).
Brassempouy
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A series of early Upper Palaeolithic deposits in southwest France near Brassempouy, famous for carved ivories and broken statuettes of Venus or "Lady". These statues are thought to be the work of Cro-Magnon artists.
Carcassonne
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A city in southwest France occupied as early as the 5th century BC by the Iberians and then by Gallo-Romans. Its inner rampart was built in 485 AD. The site is one of the best-preserved examples of a medieval fortified town in Europe with an inner wall and citadel dating from 11th-13th centuries. The site was extensively restored in the 19th century and the church of Saint-Vincent and the cathedral of Saint-Michel, both 13th century, survive.
Cass ny Hawin
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A Mesolithic settlement site on the Isle of Man with a stone tools, including microliths.
Cassibile
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A Late Bronze Age settlement and cemetery containing 2,000 rock-cut chamber tombs near Syracuse in southeast Sicily. It is the type site of a Late Bronze Age phase - Pantalica II - of the early 1st millennium BC. The Pantalica culture was characterized by large urban settlements. Artifacts include a distinctive buff painted ware with plume or 'feather' motifs, c 1250-1000 BC, and a number of typical bronze types, including stilted and thick-arc fibulae and shaft-hole axes.
Cassivellaunus (fl. 1st century BC)
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Cassivelaunus
CATEGORY: person
DEFINITION: A powerful British chieftain who was defeated by Julius Caesar during Caesar's second raid of Britain in 54 BC. Cassivellaunus is the first man in England whose name we know and he led his tribe, the Catuvellauni, a group of Belgic invaders from the River Marne area. He used guerrilla tactics and chariot warfare successfully until Caesar captured the fortified settlement, identified as present-day Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire. Cassivellaunus agreed to provide hostages and pay an annual tribute to Rome, but there is no evidence that he kept these promises. His son was Cunobelin, the Cymbeline written about by Shakespeare.
Chassey
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Chasséen culture
CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: A Middle Neolithic culture found over most of France, named for the Camp de Chassey, which appeared c 4300 BC. By this time, Chassey pottery had superseded impressed ware in the south and the new style is found in caves, village sites, cists, pit graves, and megalithic chamber tombs. The earliest Chassey pottery is often decorated with scratched geometric patterns, whereas the later wares are more plain and have pan-pipe (flûte de pan) lugs. In north and central France, the culture appeared c 3800. In many areas the Chassey people were the first Neolithic farmers. The pottery and flintwork of the Paris basin differ in many ways from those of the Midi. One distinctive form of vessel, the vase support with scratched decoration, is confined to the Paris basin and western France. Both cave and open settlements were occupied.
Classic, Classical
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: classic
CATEGORY: culture; chronology; artifact
DEFINITION: A general term referring to the period of time when a culture or civilization reaches its highest point of complexity and achievement. In a broader sense, the term often describes the whole period of Greek and Roman antiquity with the following breakdown: Early Classical Period 500-450 BC, High Classical Period 450-400 BC, and Late Classical 400-323 BC. Specifically, the term describes, in New World chronology, the period between the Formative (Pre-Classic) and the Post-Classic, which was characterized by the emergence of city-states. During the Classic stage, civilized life in pre-Columbian America reached its fullest flowering, with large temple centers, advanced art styles, writing, etc. It was originally coined for the Maya civilization, initially defined by the earliest and most recent Long Count dates found on Maya stelae, 300-900 AD. A division between Early and Late Classic was arbitrarily set at 600 AD, but since in some areas, e.g. Teothihuacan, great civilizations had already collapsed, some scholars regard this date as marking the end of the Classic Period. By extension, the word came to be used for other Mexican cultures with a similar level of excellence (Teotihuacán, Monte Albán, El Tajín). In these areas the cultural climax was roughly contemporary with that of the Maya, and the term Classic took on a chronological meaning as well. The full Maya artistic, architectural, and calendric-hieroglyphic traditions took place during the Early Classic. Tikal, Uaxactún, and Copán all attained their glory then. In the Late Classic, between 600-900 AD, ceremonial centers in the Maya Lowlands grew in number, as did the making of the inscribed, dated stelae and monuments. The breakdown of the Classic Period civilizations began with the destruction of the city of Teotihuacán in about 700 AD. Some date the Classic period to 300-900 AD.
Douglass, Andrew Ellicott (1867-1962)
CATEGORY: person
DEFINITION: An American astronomer who developed the dendrochronology dating method. He outlined the method as early as 1901, but it was not until 1929 that he was able to publish an unbroken sequence of tree-rings for the Southwest US, extending back from the present day to the early years of the present era. This provided a dating method for the southwestern Pueblo villages.
Ghassul
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Teleilat, Teleilat el Ghassul; Ghassulian
CATEGORY: site; culture
DEFINITION: Chalcolithic site northeast of the Dead Sea in the Jordan Valley with four major occupations indicated - most notably the culture of the 4th millennium BC known from the sites of Teleilat Ghassul and Nahal Mishmar. The houses were of pisé (simple mud-brick on stone foundations) and had elaborate polychrome frescoes. A wide range of well-made pottery shapes were in use, which were found on many other Palestinian sites. Carbonized date and olive stones are among the earliest evidence for the cultivation of these fruits. Burials were in cists, made of stone slabs and covered by stone cairns. The culture exploited copper early on and was the last period of large-scale stone tool use in Palestine.
Halicarnassus
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Bodrum
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A Greek city on the west coast of Turkey (once Asia Minor), the birthplace of the 5th-century BC historian Herodotus. Formed part of the Delian league, its peak period was as capital city of Mausolus (satrap), who ruled Caria from 377-353 BC. He built walls, public buildings (agora, theater), and the famous Mausoleum (one of the Seven Wonders of Ancient World) as his funerary temple, of which nothing now remains but fragments preserved in the British Museum. Halicarnassus' sack by Alexander The Great in 334 BC is the last major event on record. Virtually all traces of ancient Halicarnassus has now unfortunately disappeared under modern Bodrum. Some sections of the city wall survive, and the site of the mausoleum, the tomb of Mausolus, is known.
Hassi Mouilah
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: An Algerian Capsian Neolithic site of c 5300 BP with point-based pots with impressed decoration, projectile points, geometric microliths, ostrich eggshell and amazonite beads.
Hassuna
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Tell Hassuna
CATEGORY: site; culture
DEFINITION: A prehistoric tell site near Mosul in northern Iraq with a sequence of a pre-Samarran culture in northern Mesopotamia. The site has given its name to the pottery ware present in its lowest levels, dated to the 6th millennium BC, and a culture complex. This pottery may be related to that of the upper levels at Jarmo and is widely distributed. It was usually a buff ware in simple shapes, sometimes burnished, sometimes painted or incised with simple geometric patterns. In higher levels it was replaced by Samarra ware. Evidence from Yarim Tepe, another important Hassuna site, indicates that they were already experimenting with metallurgy and that pottery-making was a specialist activity (with true pottery kilns). The appearance of stamp seals suggests the importance of private ownership. There were several Halaf levels and 'Ubaid levels. Subsistence was cereal cultivation and herding cattle, goat, and sheep. The material culture used copper, turquoise, and carnelian beads.
Kassala
CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: A cultural phase of eastern Sudan including the Butana, Gash, and Mokram groups.
Kassites
CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: A people of the central Zagros mountains who occupied Babylon after the Hittite raid c 1595 BC and who had a distinctive culture and language. Their occupation ended with the city's conquest by Assyria and Elam c 1157 BC. The Kassites may or may not have been Indo-Europeans, but their rulers were probably Indo-Aryan aristocracy who taught them horsebreeding and riding, which they introduced into Mesopotamia. One important source of information on the Kassites was the Amarna correspondence on foreign relations of 14th century BC. The Kassites used distinctive boundary stones called kudurru. The Kassite rule represents the longest episode of political integration in the history of southern Mesopotamia. Important sites are Aqar Quf, Warka, and Nippur.
La Ferrassie
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A rock shelter in the Dordogne, southwest France, with Middle Palaeolithic material and burials of several Neanderthal. Occupation began in the Mousterian period, to which belong two Neanderthal adults and five children, buried in shallow trenches. There are several layers of 'Ferrassie', a subdivision of the Charentian Mousterian tradition, with Levallois flaking. There is a long series of Upper Palaeolithic levels, including Châtelperonian, Aurignacian, and finally a thin Gravettian level. The stratification has contributed to an understanding of the Upper Palaeolithic sequence in France.
Macassans
CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: Indonesian traders, particularly from Sulawesi, who visited tropical Australia during the Indonesian monsoon season. They collected and processed sea-slugs (trepang, bêche-de-mer, sea cucumber), an important ingredient in their cooking. Archaeological evidence consists of stone structures used to support boiling vats, scatters of Indonesian potsherds, ash concentrations from smokehouses, graves, and living tamarind trees descended from seeds brought by the trepangers. Their cultural legacies to the Aborigines included metal tools, dugout canoes, vocabulary, art motifs, song cycles, rituals, and depictions of Macassan praus in rock paintings and stone arrangements. Macassan voyagers to Australia arrived around 1700 AD and continued till the end of the 19th century.
Middle Assyrian
CATEGORY: culture; chronology
DEFINITION: A period in the history of the Assyrian empire extending from the 14th-12th centuries BC. In the Late Bronze Age, Assyria was dominated by the Mitanni state, but in the 14th century BC, Assyria became dominant. Ashur-uballit I created the first Assyrian empire and initiated the Middle Assyrian period. With the help of the Hittites, he destroyed the dominion of the Aryan Mitanni (a non-Semitic people from upper Iran and Syria) and ravaged Nineveh. Later, allied with the Kassite successors in Babylonia, Ashur-uballit ended Hittite and Hurrian rule. By intermarriage he then influenced the Kassite dynasty and eventually dominated all of Babylonia, thus paving the way for the Neo-Assyrian mastery during the Sargonid dynasty (12th to 7th century). The succeeding Assyrian kings expanded the empire through northern Mesopotamia and the mountains to the north and briefly occupied Babylonia. Several kings weakened Assyria, but then others brought back its dominion. Middle Assyrian is also the name of a form of cuneiform that was used extensively in writing law code and other documents. Middle Assyrian laws were found on clay tablets at Ashur (at the time of Tiglath-pileser I, 1114-1076 BC).
Mont Lassois
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Iron Age hillfort in Cote-d'Or, France, on a route from the River Seine to the Mediterranean. Occupation is dated to the 6th century BC (Hallstatt D), the residence of a Celtic chieftain. The hillfort of Vix seems to have been the center of political authority and extensive trade relations. The rich Celtic and Greek artifacts found there, including Massiliote wine amphorae and Attic black figure ware, as well as those from the nearby tumulus burials near the villages of Vix and Sainte-Colombe-sur-Seine, indicate trade between the Celts and the Greeks.
Neo-Assyrian
CATEGORY: chronology; language
DEFINITION: A political period of the Assyrian empire in the Iron Age, an extension of the Middle Assyrian. It lasted from Assurnasirpal II (883-859 BC) till Sargon, Sennacherib, Esarhaddon, and finally, Assurbanipal (668-627 BC). The Assyrian empire was destroyed by the Babylonians and Medes in 612 BC. The Neo-Assyrian period was the great era of Assyrian power, and the writing culminated in the extensive records from the library of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh (c 650 BC). Neo-Assyrian is also the name of the cuneiform script of the time.
Passo di Corvo
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A large Middle Neolithic settlement site on the Tavoliere plain in Puglie, southeast Italy, with a radiocarbon date of 5200 BC. The site is concentrically ditched (known as a villaggio trincerato) and encloses about 100 circular hut enclosures. The site has produced evidence of a mixed farming economy and abundant pottery of various types, including Impressed Ware and a variety of red painted wares.
Passy-sur-Yonne
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Middle Neolithic long mound cemetery in Yonne, France, with associated pottery and a date of c 3800 BC.
Pecos classification
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: A.V. Kidder's classification of Southwestern prehistory based on his Pecos excavation; a culture stage sequence devised at the first Pecos Conference of 1927 in an attempt to organize prehistoric material of the American Southwest. It is now restricted to the Anasazi tradition, including Basketmaker I-III and Pueblo I-V. Architecture and ceramics define the stages.
Petit-Chasseur, Sion
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Late Neolithic and Chalcolithic burial complex in Valais, Switzerland, with one large megalithic chamber and other smaller tombs. Many stelae have been found within tombs which have triangular daggers on them paralleling those in northern Italy in the 3rd millennium BC.
Post-Classic stage
CATEGORY: chronology
DEFINITION: The final pre-Columbian period in New World cultural history, following the collapse of Classic period civilizations, start in 750/900 until 1520 AD. The period is characterized by metalworking, complex urban societies, advanced commerce, militarism, imperialism, and secularism. It is traditionally dated from the fall of the Classic Maya in 900, but the collapse did not occur simultaneously throughout Mesoamerica.
Pre-Classic period
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Formative period, Preclassic period
CATEGORY: chronology
DEFINITION: A period in Mesoamerican archaeology during which agriculture formed the basis of settled village life, c 2000 BC-250 AD. The earliest writing - glyphs - in Mesoamerica began in this period. The Olmec was the first culture to appear in the Preclassic. A similar level was attained in Peru at about the same time (Chavín). In many other areas life remained on a Formative level until the Spanish conquest. The final phase of the Pre-Classic cultures of the central highland forms a transition from the village to the city, from rural to urban life.
Protoclassic period
CATEGORY: chronology
DEFINITION: In Mesoamerica, the period at the end of the Preclassic and immediately before the Classic period, c 50 BC-250 AD. It refers to the cultures of the Maya area which were transitioning between Preclassic and Classic.
Sassanian
CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: The Persian dynasty which overthrew the Parthian empire in 224 AD and ruled until conquered by Islam in 651. The empire extended from India to Syria, where they fought with the Romans. Remains include rock reliefs, Sassanian metalwork, fine stamp seals, textiles. Archaeologically they are known from impressive architectural remains of palaces, temples, and fortifications and from the rock reliefs. Important Sassanian sites include Bishapur, Firuzabad, Naqsh-i Rustam, and Siraf.
Siassi Islands
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Islands between New Guinea and New Britain which were occupied by traders between 1500-2000 years ago. Located in the Vitiaz Strait, they send pottery west and obsidian and sago east.
Tassili n'Ajjer
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Tassili-n-Ajjer
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Site in southeast Algeria with famous but undated rock art covering most of the Saharan sequence. The art is in three styles - "archaic" paintings of large animal and human figures and geometric abstract symbols; a "naturalistic" style with humans and animals portrayed in great detail in scenes showing cattle running and herdsmen with bows; and a "cubist" style with dark shapes and light areas. Stone forms which were probably used as tomb sculpture have also been found at the Tassili site. There is much stone painting but not much stone carving or engraving. Scholars have been unable to decipher the hieroglyphic language that is engraved on the rocks.
Tassilo Chalice
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Copper-gilt chalice of Kremsmünster Abbey, Austria, which survived from c 778-788 AD. It is an outstanding and original object, possibly made by Northumbrian craftsmen, decorated with a combination of Hiberno-Saxon ornament typical of the period. The chalice is cast in bronze overlaid with gilt and silver Niello engravings.
Teleilat Ghassul
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Tulaylat al-Ghassul
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Type site of the Ghassulian in the Jordan Valley (Palestine) near the Dead Sea, dated c 3800-3350 BC. It is known for polychrome geometric and figurative mural paintings in trapezoid-shaped mud-brick houses. The Ghassulian stage was characterized by small settlements of farming peoples whose pottery was elaborate in style, and included footed bowls and horn-shaped goblets. The Ghassulians also smelted copper.
Terrasse, Henri (1895-1971)
CATEGORY: person
DEFINITION: French archaeologist who worked on Hispano-Moorish art from its beginnings to the 13th century. He is known as the discoverer of the Hispano-Maghreb world and a pioneer of systematic research.
Tiemassas
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Site in Senegal, south of Dakar, with extensive undated microlithic industry. There may have been successive occupation phases, including a pre-pottery phase characterized by large backed tools, geometric microliths, and hollow-based and leaf-shaped bifacial projectile points.
Vorbasse
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Migration Period settlement in southern Jutland, Denmark of the 4th-5th centuries, a planned village of longhouses. Each house was divided into three rooms with two or three minor buildings. There was also a series of sunken-floored workshops in the last phase. After its abandonment in the 5th century, the settlement was not reoccupied until the Viking period. In the 10th century, Vorbasse was turned into three major estates, each incorporating a large 'Trelleborg type' hall with associated workshops.
Yassi Ada
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A graveyard of ancient ships off the Turkish coast near Bodrum, the most important being a Byzantine wreck of the 6th century. The 30-meter vessel was well-preserved and traces of the galley-end and of the cargo holds were found. Amphorae have illustrated trading of later Roman wares and olive oil between North Africa and Anatolia in the Justinian period. Peter Throckmorton, who discovered the site in 1958, developed the mapping of wrecks photogrammetrically with stereophotographs and using a two-man submarine, the Asherah launched in 1964. The Asherah was the first submarine ever built for archaeological investigation.
accelerator mass spectrometric technique
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: AMS technique; AMS radiocarbon dating
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: A relatively new method of radiocarbon dating in which the proportion of carbon isotopes is counted directly (as contrasted with the indirect Geiger counter method) using an accelerator mass spectrometer. The method drastically reduces the quantity of datable material required.
agate glass
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A striped-pattern glass created by mixing molten glass of different colors. The colored bands resemble those of natural agate.
ass
CATEGORY: fauna
DEFINITION: The wild ass was distributed widely in North Africa and Asia. In Asia, it was domesticated as a draft animal c 3000 BC. The modern donkey derives from an animal of Ethiopia and the Sudan, which the Egyptians imported from the 2nd millennium on. The earliest date of these for the African ass is an Egyptian tomb relief of 1650 BC. Remaining populations can be found in Iran (called the onager), northwest India (called the ghorkar), and Mongolia (called the kiang). Asiatic wild asses as a group may also be called onagers, kemiones, or half-asses. Artistic representation of the domestication of asses has been found, but little osteological evidence. The ass arrived in Europe during medieval times. The domestic ass, or donkey, may be hybridized with the horse: a male ass crossed with a female horse produces a mule, and a female ass crossed with a male horse produces a hinny and both hybrids are sterile.
assemblage
CATEGORY: artifact; term
DEFINITION: A group of objects of different or similar types found in close association with each other and thus considered to be the product of one people from one period of time. Where the assemblage is frequently repeated and covers a reasonably full range of human activity, it is described as a culture; where it is repeated but limited in content, e.g. flint tools only (a set of objects in one medium), it is called an industry. When a group of industries are found together in a single archaeological context, it is called an assemblage. Such a group characterizes a certain culture, era, site, or phase and it is the sum of all subassemblages. Assemblage examples are artifacts from a site or feature.
assertive style
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: Any style with only vague associations with social identity, such as a tendency to wear certain types of clothing or jewelry.
assessment
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: archaeological assessment
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: An aspect of cultural resource management in which the surface of a project area is systematically covered by pedestrian survey in order to locate, document, and evaluate archaeological materials therein.
assimilation
CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: In a sociocultural system, the integration of cultural traits from previously distinct cultural groups to the culture, ethnic identity, and language of the dominant cultural group.
association
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: associated (adj.)
CATEGORY: term; technique
DEFINITION: The co-occurrence of two or more objects sharing the same general location and stratigraphic level and that are thought to have been deposited at approximately the same time (being in or on the same matrix). Objects are said to be in association with each other when they are found together in a context which suggests simultaneous deposition. Associations between objects are the basis for relative dating or chronology and the concept of cross-dating as well as in interpretation - cultural connections, original function, etc. Pottery and flint tools associated in a closed context would be grounds for linking them into an assemblage, possibly making the full material culture of a group available. The association of undated objects with artifacts of known date allows the one to be dated by the other. When two or more objects are found together and it can be proved that they were deposited together, they are said to be in genuine or closed association. Examples of closed associations are those within a single interment grave, the material within a destruction level, or a hoard. An open association is one in which this can only be assumed, not proved. Artifacts may be found next to each other and still not be associated; one of the artifacts may be intrusive.
bell glass
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A bell-shaped glass cover used, especially formerly, as a cloche
biomass
CATEGORY: flora; fauna
DEFINITION: The total weight of the plant and animal life (organic substances and organisms) existing at a given time in a given area.
brass
CATEGORY: geology
DEFINITION: The general name for alloys of copper with zinc or tin, with the proportions about 70-90% copper and 10-30% of the other base metal. It is possible that due to difficulties in introducing the zinc ore calamine into the melt, brass appeared later in use than bronze (copper and tin) and other copper alloys. Mosaic gold, pinchbeck, prince's metal, are varieties of brass differing in the proportions of the ingredients. Corinthian brass is an alloy of gold, silver, and copper.
cameo glass
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A Roman artifact of layered, multicolored glass with the effect of a cameo cut from onyx. The Portland Vase in the British Museum is an important example.
class
CATEGORY: typology; technique
DEFINITION: A general group of artifacts, like hand axes which can be broken down into specific types like ovates, etc.
classic example
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A subjective term used to refer to a specific point specimen which represents the truest form of a particular point type or blade.
classic order of architecture
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: order of architecture
CATEGORY: structure
DEFINITION: The Grecian Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian and the Roman Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, and Composite orders as defined by the particular type of column and entablature in one basic unit. A column consists of a shaft together with its base and its capital. The column supports a section of an entablature, which constitutes the upper horizontal part of a classical building and is itself composed of (from bottom to top) an architrave, frieze, and cornice. The form of the capital is the most distinguishing characteristic of a particular order. The five major orders are: Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, Tuscan, and Composite.
classical archaeology
CATEGORY: branch
DEFINITION: A field within historical archaeology specializing in the study of Old World Greek and Roman civilizations, their antecedents and contemporaries.
classification
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: The ordering of archaeological data that share certain attributes or characteristics into groups and classes; the divisions arrived at by such a process. Classification is the first step in the analysis of archaeological data - when particles or objects are sorted or categorized by established criteria, such as size, function, material, or color.
closed association
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: The relationship of two or more objects that are found together and that can be proved to have been deposited together.
compass map
CATEGORY: tool
DEFINITION: A map of a region or site created by using a compass to control geographical direction and, usually, pacing or tape measures to control distances, but not elevation.
core-formed glass
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A type of glass made by twisting melted glass around a core, often with different colors. This technique was used especially in the Classical and Hellenistic periods of the eastern Mediterranean.
crown glass
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A traditional window glass made by spinning a bubble of molten glass on the end of a rod until it forms a flat disk
cuirass
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A piece of armor to protect the torso, both front and back, and often molded to the contours of the body. Originally made of thick leather, it was variously made of laminated linen, sheet bronze, or iron, or scales of horn, hide, or metal. In Homeric and Hellenistic times, it was made of bronze. Cuirasses of leather as well as iron were worn by officers in the armies of the Roman Empire. Later made of steel, the cuirass was forerunner to body armor worn to deflect bullets.
cutlass
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A flat heavy slightly curved blade.
death assemblage
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: The population of carcasses when members of a life assemblage die.
deposited assemblage
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: Set of carcasses or body parts deposited on a site.
faunal association
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: A relative age determination technique based on archaeological associations with remains of extinct species.
fossil assemblage
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: The part of a deposited assemblage that survives in a site or locality until discovery.
glass
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A hard, amorphous, inorganic, usually transparent, brittle substance made by fusing silicates, sometimes borates and phosphates, with certain basic oxides and then rapidly cooling to prevent crystallization. It was first developed from faience about 4,000 years ago in the Near East, but was rarely used for anything larger than beads until Hellenistic and Roman times. Glass bottles in Egypt are represented on monuments of the 4th Dynasty (at least 2000 BC). A vase of greenish glass found at Nineveh dates 700 BC. Glass is in the windows at Pompeii and the Romans stained it, blew it, worked it on lathes, and engraved it. Natural glasses, such as obsidian, are rare, but cryptocrystalline materials, with fine crystal structures somewhat like glasses, are relatively common (e.g. flint).
glass layer counting
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: A dating technique for glass based on the idea that the layers present in the surface crust of ancient glass were added annually and that counting them would yield a chronometric date. Research showed different numbers of layers on different parts of the same piece, and for some pieces of known date, not enough layers to suggest annual growth. Therefore, an understanding of the processes which lead to the formation of the layers is necessary before the technique can be used with any confidence.
gold-glass
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Denoting a technique used to decorate Greek silver plate with gold foil. Some of the more important examples of the technique, which include cups, a phiale, and a kantharos, have been found at Duvanli and Semibratny with complex figured scenes like chariot races. Detail is incised in the gold foil. It is used particular on Athenian pottery.
grass-marked pottery
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: grass-tempered pottery
CATEGORY: ceramics
DEFINITION: Pottery either marked or tempered with grass. In western Britain, there are examples of pottery covered with 'grass' impressions from Ulster, the Hebrides, and Cornwall, especially around the 5th-6th centuries AD. The term also refers to crude handmade ware made in various parts of Frisia in the Migration Period and in certain parts of southern England in the Early Saxon period in which ferns and other organic material was used as tempering.
grass-tempered ware
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Pottery embodying chopped grass or straw in its fabric as a tempering agent. Grass-tempered wares are well represented amongst pagan Saxon communities of the immediate post-Roman period in southern and eastern England; indeed the presence of such pottery is the basis upon which sites of the period are recognized.
hourglass perforation
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: hour-glass perforation
CATEGORY: lithics
DEFINITION: A type of perforation found in many prehistoric stone artifacts in which holes are drilled from opposite sides of the artifact. The perforation tends to be biconical or hourglass in form.
lamassu
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: The colossal stone, part-human, part-animal, figures carved on the doorways of Assyrian and Achaemenid buildings, as at Nineveh. These were guardian figures.
life assemblage
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: The living community of animals from which fossils are derived.
mass
CATEGORY: measure
DEFINITION: A measure of the amount of material, independent of gravity, measured with a balance.
massebah
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A standing stone or group of stones in the Levant similar to a dolmen. There was probably a cult purpose when erected by Canaanites (as at Gezer, Hazor). When set up by the Israelites, it was likely commemorative.
millefiori glass
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Decorative glass formed by cutting slices from bundles of thin multi-colored glass rods, fused together (the word literally means ?a thousand flowers'). The slices were then set into a background mount of metal or enamel. The technique seems to have been developed by Anglo-Saxon craftspeople.
misclassification
CATEGORY: typology
DEFINITION: Incorrect assignment of an observation at the nominal or ordinal scale; attributing to the wrong class or category.
muff glass
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: cylinder glass
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A flat piece of window glass made by blowing a bubble of glass. The bubble was swung to and fro on the blow-pipe as it was being blown so that it became a long cylindrical bubble. The ends were cut off the cylinder which was then split along the middle and allowed to uncurl on a flat surface in an oven to produce a flat sheet of glass.
open association
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: An assumed relationship between two or more artifacts that are found together, when it cannot be proved that they were deposited together.
painted glass
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Glass which has been colored and decorated by painting
paradigmatic classification
CATEGORY: typology
DEFINITION: A type of systematics that employs a preconceived set of classes defined by the intersection of dimensions or attributes.
pass-through
CATEGORY: feature
DEFINITION: An opening similar to a doorway but too small for an adult to fit through. It occurs at or below the vertical midpoint of a wall.
passage grave
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: passage tomb
CATEGORY: structure
DEFINITION: A category of megalithic or chambered tomb in which there is a burial chamber and a separate passage into the tomb; the chamber is reached from the edge of the covering mound via a long passage. It includes the earliest known megalithic graves of Europe, dating from about 5000 BC (in Brittany). The diagnostic features are a round mound covering a burial chamber (often roofed by corbelling) approached by a narrower entrance passage. The distinction between passage and funerary chamber proper is very marked. The origin of the passage grave is unclear. Passage graves occur throughout the area where megalithic tombs occur in Europe, but have a predominantly western distribution. In some areas, passage graves were still being constructed in the Bronze Age.
passive remote sensing
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: Any geophysical sensing method which measures physical properties such as magentism and gravity without the need to inject energy to obtain a response.
potash-lead glass
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Glass based on potash as a flux with high concentrations of lead. It is heavy, lustrous, and more refractive than other forms of glass.
potash-lime glass
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Glass made using potash derived from burning wood.
potassium-argon dating
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: K-A dating; potassium argon dating; radiopotassium dating
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: An isotopic method of dating the age of a rock or mineral by measuring the rate at which potassium-40, a radioactive form of this element, decays into argon. It is used primarily on lava flows and tuffs and for ocean floor basalts. Potassium, which is present in most rocks and minerals, has a single radioactive isotope, K 40. This decays by two different processes into Calcium 40 and Argon 40. Though 89% decays to Calcium 40, it is not suitable for measurement since most rocks contain Calcium 40 as a primary element, and the amount caused by the decay of K 40 cannot be determined. The remaining 11% decays into the gas Argon 40, and this can be measured, along with the amount of potassium in the sample, to get a date. Dates produced by using this technique have been checked by fission track dating. The technique is best used on material more than 100,000 years old - such as the dating of layers associated with the earliest remains of hominids, notably in the Olduvai Gorge. Lava flows embedded with the deposits containing archaeological material have been dated.
primary classification
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: Any classification based on directly observable attributes, often carried out by archaeologists in the field.
radioimmunoassay
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: A method of protein analysis in which it is possible to identify protein molecules surviving in fossils which are thousands and even millions of years old.
rite of passage
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: A ritual symbolizing a transition in the life of an individual and his or her altered relationships to others.
sample assemblage
CATEGORY: fauna
DEFINITION: The portion of the fossil assemblage that has been excavated or collected and then analyzed.
sand glass
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: hourglass
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A reversible device for measuring time by the transfer of sand from upper to lower glass bulb.
sandwich glass
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Any of various forms of glassware manufactured at Sandwich, Mass., from 1825 to c1890.
secondary classification
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: A classification based on inferred or analytic attributes, often carried out by technicians in specialized laboratories.
size classification
CATEGORY: typology
DEFINITION: A categorization of faunal remains into categories based on body size: 1) rodent- and rabbit-sized, 2) wolf- and pronghorn antelope-sized, 3) mule deer and bighorn sheep, 4) bison- and elk-sized, and 5) giraffes and elephants
snake-thread glass
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Well-defined series of glasses of Roman date decorated with serpent-like lines or threads of glass which are either the same color as or differently colored from the body. The glasses were made both in the east, probably in Syria, and in the west, at Cologne and perhaps elsewhere.
soda-lime glass
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Glass produced using soda derived by burning seaweed and kelp.
stained glass
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Colored glass used for making decorative windows and other objects through which light passes, created since early Christian times. It was not an important art until about the 12th century.
subassemblage
CATEGORY: term; technique
DEFINITION: A grouping or association of artifacts, based on form and functional criteria. A subassemblage is assumed to represent a single occupational group within a prehistoric community.
window glass
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Sheet glass cut in shapes for windows or doors

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