CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: An apparatus for weighing, usually consists of a beam on a pivot with a means of supporting the object to be weighed on one side and weights on the other
CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: Small lightweight scales used by merchants for checking the weight of coins offered in exchange. This was important because the value of a coin was in part determined by its metal content. Because precious metals such as gold and silver were used in making coins in order to retain their value, a good trade could be made by clipping off small amounts of metal from many coins to produce forged coins or other items.
CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: The first coastal dwellers of the true Arctic regions who appeared before 2200 BC and who had a hunting tradition and a distinctive set of stone tools, weapon tips, and adzes of small size (hence the name). Their sites stretched from the Bering Sea across the north Canadian coast as far east as northernmost Greenland, though there is no evidence of sleds or boats. Within a century or two of 2000 BC, they also expanded southward in Alaska to the Alaska Peninsula and south along the northeastern American coast to the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The Denbigh Flint Complex (or Arctic Denbigh culture, named for the type site Cape Denbigh, Alaska) is the characteristic toolassemblage. It included small chipped stone artifacts derived from Neolithic eastern Siberia -- such as blades, microblades, burins, scrapers, large bifacial projectile points. There was no pottery and the economics were balanced between products of the land (caribou, lake and river fish, musk ox) and sea mammals. Approximate dates range from 4000-1000 BC and this tradition is thought to be associated with ancestral Eskimo. In Canada and Greenland, the Small Tool people gradually developed into the Dorsetculture. In Alaska, the Small Tool people disappeared and were replaced by 400 BC by people of the Nortonculture who used Siberian-type pottery.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Greek bag"" CATEGORY: artifact; ceramics DEFINITION: An assymetric vessel, often squat and duck-shaped, with an off-center mouth, convex top, and single arching handle. It was originally shaped like a leather bottle (uter) for holding water, oil, or wine. Some example have two mouths, one for filling and one for emptying, and others are quite unbalanced and have strange mouths. It later assumed the form of an earthenwarepitcher. Askos were popular in the Aegean from the Early Helladic to the Classical period.
CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: A large oval opening in the base of the skull through which the medulla oblongata passes, linking the spinal cord and brain. Its position is an indication of posture. If the foramen magnum is far forward on the skull base, it indicates an upright posture, like that of humans, with the head balanced on top of the spine. In four-footed animals, the head hangs from the end of the vertebral column, and the foramen magnum is placed posteriorly. In apes, with the assumption of semierect posture, the foramen had moved partially downward and forward. In human evolution, the foramen magnum has continued to move forward as an aspect of adaptation to walking on two legs, until the head became balanced vertically on top of the vertebral column.
CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: A theory, derived from Newton's law of universal gravitation, that the degree of interaction between two communities is directly proportional to their to their proximity to each other. The model has been tested with data from modern societies and is valid for a wide range of types of interaction, such as migration, travel, and communication. The model can also be reformulated to determine when the balance of interaction swings from one location to another.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: isostatic uplift CATEGORY: geology DEFINITION: An alteration in the height of the land relative to the sea; the distribution of mass within the Earth's crust is balanced by large-scale topography. These variations are not necessarily associated with changes in sea-level (eustasy), but a major event such as glaciation can affect both land and sea. The weight of ice sheets can cause a lowering in the height of the land, but a thaw at the end of a glaciation frees the land of this pressure and it rises. Continental crust behaves like a body 'floating' on the denser underlying layers. Loading of one area may cause down-warping of the crust, which is compensated by uplift elsewhere. Removal of the load causes the crust to readjust to its former state. It is a theory that the condition of approximate equilibrium in the outer part of the earth is approximately counterbalanced by a deficiency of density in the material beneath those masses, while deficiency of density in ocean waters is counterbalanced by an excess in density of the material under the oceans. This phenomenon has occurred during the Quaternary, due to the development of large ice-sheets. The enormous weight of ice has caused downwarping of the continental crust beneath. At the ice-sheet margins, there was a compensatory uplift. On melting of the ice-sheets, the crust readjusted by uplift in the areas directly underneath and downwarping at the edges. This process is continuing today, for example in northern Europe.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A Magdalenian cave in the Dordogne, southwest France, with a spectacular collection of Palaeolithic paintings and engravings. Once the cave was opened to visitors, the delicate atmospheric balance was disturbed and the paintings were attacked by fungus; it was closed to the public in 1963. A small number of archaeological finds from inside the cave probably date to the early Magdalenian including lamps. A Neanderthal skeleton was found a few hundred meters away at Regoudou. There are 600 paintings of aurochs, horses, deer, and signs, accompanied by 1500 engravings dominated by horses. Some of the paintings in the rotunda, especially the bulls, approach life size, which is unusual in cave art. A number of paintings are in two contrasting colors, red iron oxide and black manganese dioxide. It was probably never inhabited, but was used from c 15,000 BC. A nearby facsimile cave, Lascaux II, is now open to the public.
CATEGORY: deity DEFINITION: The ancient Egyptian goddess of truth and order, whose symbol was the ostrich feather. She represented order, balance, correct attitudes and thinking, morality and justice. It was the feather of Maat against which the heart of the deceased was weighed. The power of Maat was said to regulate the seasons, the movement of the stars, and the relations between men and gods. It was central to the ideas about the universe and the Egyptians' code of ethics.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: corn CATEGORY: flora DEFINITION: A tall cereal grass widely grown in Mexico, South America, and the US which originated as a staple food in Mexico about 9000 years ago. A field of maize is a milpa. No wild maize appears to exist today. The plant originated in the Central Mexican Highlands, where pollen belonging to maize, or one of its near relatives, has been found in cores from Mexico City, dated to between 60,000-80,000 bp. The earliest macrofossils of maize appear in the Tehuacan Valley in Mexico between 7000-5000 BC. These early finds have very small cobs and kernels and it has been suggested that they come from wild maize. Archaeologically, the oldest cultivated maize in Mexico is from the Coxcatlan period in the Tehuacan Valley (4800-3500 BC), and maize appears in the caves of Tamaulipas, northeast Mexico, around 3200 BC. In South America, the oldest direct evidence comes from the Valdiviaculture of Ecuador, around 3000, though maize phytoliths were found in the preceding Vegasperiod, c 6000 BC. It was in fairly general use in the southwestern US by 1000 BC, though it did not reach the eastern Woodlands until about the time of Christ. It was an important early domesticated food plant in the New World and one of the trio which provided a balanced diet for early American farmers (the other two being beans and squash).
CATEGORY: measure DEFINITION: A measure of the amount of material, independent of gravity, measured with a balance.
population pressure hypothesis
CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: A theory that population increase in the Near East/Southwest Aisa upset the balance between people and food, forcing people to turn to an agricultural way of life, credited to Lewis Binford.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: rank-size analysis CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: A general relationship between the size of a settlement and its rank within a set of settlements. If sites are ranked in order of size on a logarithmic scale, the population of the Nth rank city will be 1/Nth the size of the largest; thus the 3rd site will be 1/3 the size of the largest. The rule works best in areas of complex economic and political organization, with comparatively long histories of urban development. It has been suggested that this relationship represents a natural balance of settlement growth. Roman walled towns fit the rule well. However, this is often not the case because in many newer, developing countries the chief city or capital is larger than expected (primate city) because of historic factors.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: reciprocal exchange CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: A form of primitive exchange in which goods are transferred between individuals or groups of the same status without any central control, usually in a balanced and mutually beneficial manner. A mode of exchange in which transactions take place between individuals who are symmetrically placed i.e. they are exchanging as equals, neither being in a dominant position. The exchange was often an expression of the social obligations between the parties. Within a family, generalized reciprocity occurs, where there is giving with no expectation of immediate return. Between families in a community, balanced reciprocity may occur, with both parties expecting give-and-take of goods to be of approximately equal value. The items exchanged may be utilitarian goods, foodstuffs, or prestige materials. Negative reciprocity is when both sides attempt to receive more than they give.
CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: A Greek vessel of earthenware, metal, or stone, and sometimes in the form of an animal head. It was a deep vessel with a single handle intended for the pouring of libations or liquid offerings to gods, spirits of the dead, etc. The mouth at the upper end is often balanced by a hole at the lower end. It is presumed that the covering of this aperture by the celebrant would control the pouring of the libation until the right moment in the ceremony. Rhytons were often made of precious materials and of elaborate form. They are typical of the Minoans, Mycenaeans, and classical Greeks, and of the Achaemenid Persians. It is technically a ritual vessel, found from the Bronze Age onward.
CATEGORY: measure DEFINITION: Increasing sample size until some predetermined criterion or boundary is met in an attempt to optimize the balance between the cost of taking larger samples and the risk of poor parameter estimates.
CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: A knife for reaping corn, first used by Neolithic man, made of flint and shaped like a banana. These flint blades were mounted in a wooden or bonehaft, as in the Natufian of Palestine. Later sickles were of bronze and some of terra-cotta were in Sumer. In the Bronze Age, a socketed sickle appeared. Since the introduction of iron, the balanced sickle has become the standard form -- a deeply curved blade bent back from the handle. Its modern form is a curved metal blade with a short handle fitted on a tang.
specific gravity determination
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: relative density CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: Specific gravity is the ratio of the density of a substance to the density of pure water taken as a standard when both densities are obtained by weighing in air and in prescribed temperature conditions. The measurement of the specific gravity of a metal artifact can be a useful non-destructive method of determining its composition, if it is a two-componentalloy and preferably if one of the alloy components is known. The specimen must be weighed in the air and then suspended in a suitable liquid with a known specific gravity; the result is determined by an equation. Since the presence of a third metal in small amounts upsets the accuracy of the technique, the amount of fore-knowledge required is greater than in most of the other methods of determining the chemical composition of objects. Devices used to measure specific gravity are the Jolly balance, the Westphal balance, the pycnometer, and the hydrometer.
CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: A balance for weighing coins.
CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: Stone, wooden, metal, or clay object that when suspended by a rope or cord acts to stretch, tension, or pull tight some kind of fabric or material (e.g. thatch weight; net weight). Stone, clay, or metal object of standard weight used in measurement on balances or scales of some kind. An object used to weigh something down or to measure the weight of another object.