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balk
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: baulk
CATEGORY: term; technique
DEFINITION: A strip (usu. 10-25 centimeters) of unexcavated earth left in place between excavated units, pits, or trenches for the purpose of revealing the stratigraphy of an excavation for as long as possible. The balk provides a constant reference to the original pre-excavation level of the site, and also carries all sections along or across the site. In an excavation carried out according to the grid method, 25% of the site may consist of balks. Balks may also serve to facilitate access to different areas of the excavation.
balk excavation method
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: The excavation of an area of a site leaving vertical pillars or walls in place, thus allowing better correlation between excavations with predefined strata.
Balkh
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Vazirabad, Bactra
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A village in northern Afghanistan that was formerly Bactra, the capital of ancient Bactria. A settlement existed at the site as early as 500 BC and it was associated with Zoroaster until captured by Alexander the Great in c 329 BC. It was then made the capital of the Greek satrapy of Bactria, but in succeeding centuries fell to various nomadic invaders, including the Turks and Kushans, until it was decisively taken by the Arabs in the 8th century. Balkh then became the capital of Khorasan. Under the Abbasids and Samanids, it was a capital and a center of learning and known as the Mother of Cities". Balkh was completely destroyed by the Mongols under Genghis Khan in 1220. It lay in ruins until its capture by Timur in the 15th century. The alleged discovery of the tomb of 'Ali the Prophet Muhammad's son-in-law in neighboring Mazar-e Sharif (1480) once again reduced Balkh to insignificance. Balkh was incorporated into Afghanistan in 1850. Balkh was a caravan city on the Silk Route and a major outpost of Buddhism. Very little is known about the pre-Islamic city."
primary balk
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: primary baulk
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: The balks surrounding the four sides of an area or a square.

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