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AOC beaker
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: All-over-corded beaker
Abbevillian
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Abbevillean, Chellean, Abbeville
CATEGORY: chronology; culture
DEFINITION: The name for the period of the earliest handax industries of Europe, taken from Abbeville, the type site near the mouth of the River Somme in northern France. The site is a gravel pit in which crudely chipped oval or pear-shaped handaxes were discovered, probably dating to the Mindel Glaciation. This was one of the key places which showed that man was of great antiquity. Starting in 1836, Boucher de Perthes excavated the pits and the significance of these discoveries was recognized around 1859. These pits became one of the richest sources of Palaeolithic tools in Europe. In 1939, Abbé Breuil proposed the name Abbevillian for both the handax and the industry, which preceded the Acheulian in Europe.
Abejas phase
CATEGORY: chronology
DEFINITION: The first important agricultural phase in the Tehuacan Valley of Mexico, dating 3500-1500 BC, after the introduction of maize.
Abercromby, Lord John (1841-1924)
CATEGORY: person
DEFINITION: A Scottish antiquary who studied the British Bronze Age and introduced the term 'beaker' for decorated handleless drinking vessels. He created the A-B-C beaker classification.
Abeurador, Balma
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: An Epipalaeolithic to Late Neolithic cave site in France with 10 layers of human occupation from c 9000-2500 BC.
Abu Simbel
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Abu sunbul
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: The site of two rock-cut temples of the Egyptian king Rameses II (1279-1213 BC), located southeast of Aswan, formerly Nubia. The facade of the largest temple is dominated by four 20-meter-high (67 feet) seated figures of Rameses and the main part of the temple is cut into the solid rock of the hillside, penetrating it about 55 meters. The temples were salvaged in the 1960s from the rising waters of the Nile, caused by the erection of the Aswan High Dam. The temples were discovered by the traveler Jean-Louis Burckhardt in 1813 and cleared by Egyptologist Giovanni Battista Belzoni four years later. There are also reliefs illustrating the king's life, accomplishments, and military campaigns in Syria and Nubia, small figures representing Rameses' queen, Nefertari, and their children; and graffiti providing important evidence of the early history of the alphabet. It was also built so that, on certain days of the year, the first rays of the morning sun would penetrate its length and illuminate the shrine in the innermost sanctuary. The smaller temple was dedicated to Nefertari for the worship of the goddess Hathor. Between 1964-1968, a UNESCO- and Egyptian-sponsored task began with a team of international engineers and scientists and funds from more than 50 countries to uncover and disassemble both temples and reconstruct them on high ground 60 meters (200 feet) above the riverbed.
Adlerberg
CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: An Early Bronze Age culture in southwest Germany considered to be a variant of the Unetice culture. There were a number of flat inhumation cemeteries in which the burials included copper and bronze daggers and pins, flint tools, and one-handled pottery cups.
Archéodrome de Beaune
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A museum of reconstructed buildings and experimental archaeology founded in 1978 in Côte d'Or, France. There is a Palaeolithic encampment, a Neolithic house, and Roman siege works.
Baalbek
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Ba'labakk (Arabic), Heliopolis (Greek)
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Important town and agricultural center in Lebanon and the site of the magnificent ruins of a Roman town. First knowledge of Baalbek was the time of the Greek conquest of Syria (332 BC). After the death of Alexander the Great (323 BC), the region fell to the Ptolemaic dynasty of Egypt, under which the town was called Heliopolis, probably after its Egyptian namesake. It achieved importance in late Hellenistic and Roman times, especially as a holy city. Among the ruins are the Temples of Jupiter and Bacchus. In 200 BC, it was taken by the Seleucids' Antiochus the Great and it was a Seleucid possession until the dynasty's fall in 64 BC, when it was again under Roman control. Baalbek has been an Arab city since 637 AD.
Beacharra ware
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Style of decorated middle Neolithic pottery found in western parts of Scotland and classified by Stuart Piggott into three groups: unornamented bag-shaped bowls (A); decorated carinated bowls with a rim diameter less than the diameter at the carination and incised or channeled ornament (B); and small bowls with panel ornament in fine whipped cord (C).
Beaker people
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Beaker Folk, Beaker culture; Bell Beaker culture
CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: A widespread Late Neolithic European people of the third and second millennium BC named after the characteristic bell-shaped beakers found buried with their dead. These people spread a knowledge of metalworking in central and western Europe from c 2500-2000 BC. They first came to Britain between 1900-1800 BC in successive waves, via Holland, from the Rhineland. Their origins are uncertain, with theories of them being the Battle-Ax people from south Russia and Spanish Megalithic people from Almeria or from Portugal and Hungary. They were copper and bronze workers and famous for their great collective tombs. The assemblages of grave goods - decorated pottery, fighting equipment (arrowheads, wristguards, daggers) - were characteristic of the people, who lived in small groups mainly by major river routes as they were known traders. Burial was by contracted inhumation in a trench, or under a round barrow, or as a secondary burial in some form of chamber tomb. Each burial was accompanied by a beaker, presumably to hold drink, probably alcoholic, for the dead man's last journey.
Beazley, Sir John Davidson (1885-1970)
CATEGORY: person
DEFINITION: A British antiquarian who identified much Athenian pottery by the names of the craftsmen who made them.
Bede the Venerable, Saint (672-735 AD)
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Baeda, Beda
CATEGORY: person
DEFINITION: Anglo-Saxon theologian, historian, and chronologist who is known for his prolific writings, including Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum (Ecclesiastical History of the English People) an important source for the history of the conversion to Christianity of the Anglo-Saxon tribes. Divided into five books it recorded (in Latin) events in Britain from the raids by Julius Caesar (55-54 BC) to the arrival in Kent (AD 597) of St. Augustine. For his sources Bede claimed the authority of ancient letters the traditions of our forefathers and his own knowledge of contemporary events.
Bedsa
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A rock-cut Buddhist temple in Deccan, India that is dated 1st century BC. Its interior is elaborately decorated and the pillars have vase-shaped bases and bell-shaped capitals surmounted by sculpted human and animal groups. In front of the temple is a facade and a large entrance with decorated pillars.
Beersheba
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A site in southern Israel which was a frontier post in ancient Palestine. The earliest occupations were in 12th and 11th centuries BC, but the first town belonged to the period of the United Monarchy (10th century). The 8th century BC town wall with a great gateway flanked by double guard chambers and external towers has been excavated. There was also a 15-meter ring road inside the wall which divided the inner and outer towns. Beersheba may have been the administrative center of the region and there are indications of storerooms which may have contained the royal stores for the collection of taxes in kind (grain, wine, oil, etc.). The town was destroyed in the mid-7th century BC. Beersheba is first mentioned as the site where Abraham, founder of the Jewish people, made a covenant with the Philistine king Abimelech of Gerar (Genesis 21). Isaac and Jacob, the other patriarchs, also lived there (Genesis 26, 28, 46).
Begram
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Bagram; Kapisa
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A site in eastern Afghanistan north of Kabul which has been identified as Kapisa, the capital of several Indo-Greek rulers of the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC and the Kushan summer capital from the 1st century BC to 3rd century AD. It was important for its placement on the caravan route between India and the West. Excavations have yielded fragmentary ivory furniture, pre-Islamic footstools of Indian origin (both c 1st c AD), as well as painted glass from Alexandria; plaster matrices, bronzes, porphyries, and alabasters from Rome; carved ivories from India; and lacquers from China. The Persian Sasanians established control over parts of Afghanistan, including Begram, in AD 241.
Behbet el-Hagar
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Per-hebyt, Iseum
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A town in the northern central Nile Delta which flourished in the 30th Dynasty (380-343 BC) and the Ptolemaic period (332-30 BC). The site is dominated by the remains of a large granite temple of Isis.
Behistun
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Bisitun, Bisotun
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A rock face on the Kermanshah-Hamadan road in Iran on which Darius I (Darius the Great, reigned 521-485 BC) recorded his victories which gave him the Achaemenid empire in 522-520 BC. The bas-relief - 400 feet above the road - shows Darius, under the protection of the god Ahuramazda, receiving his defeated enemies. The inscriptions were carved in the cuneiform script, and repeated in the Old Persian, Elamite, and Babylonian languages. The rock face below them was then cut back to the vertical to prevent any attempt at defacement. In total, the area covered by the inscriptions and the relief panel were about 25-feet high and 50-feet wide. In 1833, Sir Henry Rawlinson went to Iran and became extremely interested in Persian antiquities and in deciphering the cuneiform writing at Behistun. Between 1835-1847, Rawlinson went through the intense work copying the inscription from harrowing positions above the road. It enabled him subsequently to understand the cuneiform script and to decipher the languages of the inscription. In 1837, he published his translations of the first two paragraphs of the inscription. After having to leave the country because of problems between Iran and Britain, Rawlinson was able to return in 1844 to obtain impressions of the Babylonian script. As a result, his Persian Cuneiform "Inscription at Behistun" was published (1846-51) - containing a complete translation analysis of the grammar and notes. The accomplishment yielded valuable information on the history of ancient Persia and its rulers. With other scholars he succeeded in deciphering the Mesopotamian cuneiform script by 1857. This provided the breakthrough to the decipherment later of other languages in the cuneiform script including Sumerian.
Beidha
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Bayda', Al-, Beida
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A site in south-central Yemen near Petra that was first occupied in the Early Natufian and Aceramic Neolithic. It is situated on a high plateau and, until the unification of the two Yemen states in 1990, was part of North Yemen (San'a'), though it lay near the disputed frontier with South Yemen. At first it was a semi-permanent camp which lived off goat and ibex. Beidha was reoccupied c 7000 BC by a Pre-Pottery Neolithic A [PPNA} group, who lived in a planned community of roughly circular semi-subterranean houses. They domesticated goats and cultivated emmer, wheat, and barley. There was a succeeding PPNB phase in which the buildings changed to complexes of large rectangular rooms, each with small workshops attached and with plastered floors and walls. Burials without skulls were found and there was also a separate ritual area away from the village. Finds from the site include materials from great distances, including obsidian from Anatolia and cowries and mother-of-pearl from the Red Sea.
Beijing
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Pei-ching, Peking
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: The modern capital of China. More than 2,000 years ago, a site just outside present-day Peking was already an important military and trading center for the northeastern frontier of China. The Shang civilization reached this area in the early part of their dynasty and a grave of c 14th century BC at Pinggu Liujiacun contained bronze ritual vessels and a bronze ax with a blade of forged meteoritic iron. There have been many early Zhou finds, notably at the cemetery site of Fangshan Liulihe. In 1267, during the Yüan (Mongol) dynasty (1206-1368), a new city built on the site (called Ta-tu) which became the administrative capital of China. During the reigns of the first two emperors of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), Nanking was the capital, and the old Mongol capital was renamed Pei-p'ing ("Northern Peace"); the third Ming emperor however restored it as the Imperial seat of the dynasty and gave it a new name Peking ("Northern Capital"). Peking has remained the capital of China except for a brief period (1928-49) when the Nationalist government again made Nanking the capital (then to Chungking during World War II).
Beikthano
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A Buddhist religious and settlement site in central Burma of the early-to-mid 1st millennium AD.
Beit Mersim, Tell
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Debir, Kirjath-Sepher (biblical), Lo-Debar, Tall Bayt Mirsham
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A tell in the low hill country southwest of Hebron, on the west bank of the Jordan in Palestine. It was a fortified town of biblical times and William F. Albright uncovered successive occupation layers from the 3rd millennium BC (end of Early Bronze Age) to the Babylonian destruction of c 588 BC. It was a small walled town and its finds have helped Albright establish a chronology of the Levant from 2300-588 BC through the detailed analysis of Palestinian pottery. Excavations showed that the Canaanite town of the 14th-13th century had been destroyed by the Israelites toward the end of the 13th century and that the town was finished off by the Babylonians.
Beit el-Wali
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A rock-cut temple on the west bank of the Nile (Lower Nubia), which was dedicated to Amun-Ra and built during the reign of Rameses II (1279-1213 BC).
Bel'kachi I
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A settlement site on the Aldan River in central Siberia, occupied during the Neolithic (c 4th millennium BC). Finds include the earliest date for pottery in Siberia, for a hand-molded, sand-tempered ware decorated with net or mat impressions. There was a succeeding phase, often known as the Bel'kachinsk culture (3rd millennium BC), which had distinctive pottery style, decorated with impressions from a cord-wrapped paddle. In that area during the Late Neolithic (2nd millennium BC), check-stamped ware, made by beating with a grooved paddle, appeared. Changes in stone and bone tools occurred during the development of the Neolithic, but throughout the economic basis remained hunting and fishing.
Belbasi
CATEGORY: site; culture
DEFINITION: A cave on the southern coast of Anatolia which gave its name to a late Palaeolithic culture. The tool kit includes tanged arrowheads, triangular points, and obliquely truncated blades. There are rock engravings in shelters such as Beldibi, the only known cave art in western Asia.
Beldibi
CATEGORY: site; culture
DEFINITION: A rock shelter which gave its name to a Mesolithic or 'Proto-Neolithic' culture succeeding the Belbasi culture in southern Anatolia. Phases contained imported obsidian and early forms of pottery. There is no evidence of food production or herding. Bones of deer, ibex, and cattle occur and subsistence was likely by coastal fishing and the gathering of wild grain.
Belgae
CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: Any of the inhabitants of Gaul north of the Sequana and Matrona (Seine and Marne) rivers of mixed Celtic and Germanic origin, first described by Julius Caesar in mid-first century BC. Their origins on the continent can be traced back to the La Tène period in the 5th century BC and evidence suggests that the Romans penetrated into those areas about 150 BC. In Caesar's day, they held much of Belgium and parts of northern France and southeast England. The Belgae of Gaul formed a coalition against Caesar after his first Gallic campaign but were subdued the following year (57 BC). During the first half of the 1st century BC, Belgae from the Marne district had crossed to Britain and had formed the kingdom that in 55 BC was ruled by Cassivellaunus. After further Gallic victories (54-51 BC) by Caesar, other settlers took refuge across the Channel, and Belgic culture spread to most of lowland Britain. The three most important Belgic kingdoms, identified by their coinage, were centered at Colchester, St. Albans, and Silchester. Archaeologically, the Belgae can be identified with the bearers of the Aylesford-Swarling culture, otherwise known as Iron Age C. Coinage, the heavy plow, and the potter's wheel were introduced by the Belgae. They lived in large fortified settlements called oppida and amphorae and Italian bronze vessels have been found in their richly furnished tombs.
Belgic pottery
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: General term, now almost obsolete, sometimes applied to the range of late Iron Age wheel-turned pottery vessels found in southeastern England, especially Aylesford-Swarling pottery, even though this is too late to be directly related to Belgic settlement from the continent.
Bell Beaker
CATEGORY: ceramics; culture
DEFINITION: A type of pottery vessel found all over western and central Europe from the final Neolithic or Chalcolithic, c 2500-1800 BC. The culture's name derives from the characteristic pottery which looks like an inverted bell with globular body and flaring rim. The beakers were valuable and highly decorated. They are often associated with special artifacts in grave assemblages, including polished stone wristguards, V-perforated buttons, and copper-tanged daggers.
Bellows Beach
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A coastal occupation site on Oahu, Hawaii, which has produced some of the earliest occupation dates (600-1000 AD) of the island group. The assemblage is of Early Eastern Polynesian type: shell fishhooks, stone adzes, and bones of dog, pig, and rat.
Belverde
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A Bronze Age site of the Apennine near Cetona in Tuscany, Italy. There are indications that it may have been a ritual site, with rocks carved to form tiers of seats and other shapes. Complete pottery vessels filled with acorns, beans, and carbonized grain were placed into fissures in the rocks, perhaps as offerings to a deity.
Belzoni, Giovanni (1778-1823)
CATEGORY: person
DEFINITION: Italian excavator of Egyptian sites, who is known as a picturesque and unscrupulous collector of Egyptian antiques as well as a pioneer in Egyptology. Belzoni sought antiquities both for himself and for the British Consul-General on behalf of the British Museum, whose collection he enhanced enormously. His discoveries were numerous, ranging from at Thebes, the colossal sculpture of the head of Ramses II (the Young Memnon); in the nearby Valley of the Tombs of Kings the tomb of Seti I and the aragonite sarcophagus (for the Sir John Soane's Museum London). Though he managed to take an obelisk from the Nile island of Philae (Jazirat Filah) near Aswan it was taken from him at gunpoint by agents working for French interests. He explored Elephantine (Jazirat Aswan) and the temple of Edfu (Idfu) cleared the entrance to the great temple of Ramses II at Abu Simbel was first to penetrate the pyramid of Khafre at Giza and identified the ruins of the city of Berenice on the Red Sea. His methods were unnecessarily destructive by modern archaeological standards. He died in western Africa as he began a journey to Timbuktu. An account of his adventures was published in the year of his death "Narrative of the Operations and Recent Discoveries within the Pyramids Temples Tombs and Excavations in Egypt and Nubia" (2 vol. 1820).
Benfica
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A site in Angola with many shell middens, stone artifact assemblages, and Early Iron Age pottery dated to the 2nd century AD.
Benghazi
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Banghazi, Euesperides, Berenice, Bengasi
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Seaport city of northeastern Libya, the de jur capital, which was founded by the Greeks of Cyrenaica as Hesperides (Euesperides) in the 6th century BC. It was replaced in the mid-3rd century by a new city, named Berenice by the Egyptian pharaoh Ptolemy III in honor of his wife. It continued in occupation until the 10th or 11th century ad and was ultimately replaced by the city of Benghazi, remaining a small town until it was extensively developed during the Italian occupation of Libya (1912-42). Excavations offer evidence of Classical and Hellenistic levels and the refurbishing of the enclosing walls during Justinian's time (reigned 527-565 AD).
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).
Benin City
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Edo
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Capital and largest city of Edo state, Nigeria, which rose to prominence in the 13th century. A series of massive city wall, over 100 km in length, was constructed. The Portuguese first visited in 1485 and it was burned down and ransacked for nearly 2,500 of its famous bronzes in 1897 when the British occupied the city. Benin City is known for the fine practice the ancient method of cire perdue (lost-wax) bronze castings mostly relief plaques and near life-size human heads produced over a long period. Traces of the old wall and moat remain.
Bennett, Wendell Clark (1905-1953)
CATEGORY: person
DEFINITION: American archaeologist who excavated many important sites in Peru from the 1920s-1950s. His studies of Peruvian ceramics produced many of the early sequences on the Peruvian coast and the central highlands, which was considered a major breakthrough in Andean archaeology.
Benton flaking
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: This flaking technique involved the removal of large and small percussion flakes which resulted in numerous step fractures. Pressure flaking was often used to form serrations. Oblique-transverse flaking was used to shape the blade of a few examples.
Benty Grange helmet
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: An Anglo-Saxon ceremonial helmet found in 1848 at a burial site in Benty Grange. Unlike the Sutton Hoo helmet, which has similarities to Swedish helmets, the Benty Grange example was undoubtedly of native workmanship. It is an elaborate object combining the pagan boar symbol with Christian crosses on the nail heads.
Beowulf
CATEGORY: language
DEFINITION: An heroic poem, considered the highest achievement of Old English literature and also the earliest European vernacular epic. Preserved in a single manuscript (Cotton Vitellius A XV) from c 1000 AD, it deals with events of the early 6th century and is believed to have been composed between 700 and 750. It did not appear in print until 1815. Beowulf is one of the earliest, longest and most complete examples of Anglo-Saxon verse. Although originally untitled, it was later named after the Scandinavian hero Beowulf. Its themes are essentially the conflict between good and evil and the nature of heroism; fantasy and reality are intertwined as the hero Beowulf fights Grendel and other semi-mythological monsters. There is no evidence of a historical Beowulf, but some characters, sites, and events in the poem can be historically verified. Perhaps Beowulf's greatest contribution to archaeology is the light the poem has shed on the funerary customs displayed in the Sutton Hoo ship burial. The opening passages describe how the dead King Scyld Scefing was borne out to sea in a ship; jewels were placed on his chest, armor and treasure heaped around his body, and a standard was hoisted overhead.
Berdyzh
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: An Upper Palaeolithic site in Belarus with radiocarbon dates of 23,430-15,000 bp. On the Sozh River, there are faunal remains of woolly mammoth and mammoth-bone houses.
Berekhat Ram
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: An Acheulian site in Golan Heights, Israel, which yielded waste flakes, a few bifaces, Levallois flakes, and sidescrapers.
Berelekh
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: The most northern Palaeolithic site in the world, at 71? N in northeastern Siberia, containing a bed of 8000+ mammal bones, including woolly mammoth, of c 14,000-12,000 years ago. There is also an Upper Palaeolithic level dating to 13,400-10,600 bp and assigned to the Dyuktai culture.
Berenice
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Three different sites: a town on the coast of Cyrenaica, Libya which was the site of Euhesperides; a port on the Egyptian coast of the Red Sea founded by Ptolemy II, especially important in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD; and Pella, Jordan, which was once known as Berenice.
Bergen
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Port city of southwestern Norway, originally called Bjørgvin, and founded in 1070 AD by King Olaf III. About 1100, a castle was built on the northern edge of the Vågen harbor, and Bergen became commercially and politically important; it was Norway's capital in the 12th and 13th centuries. Excavations in the Bryggen, the harbor area, have revealed a sequence of levels that illustrate the area's evolution from the 11th century onwards. The levels have been accurately dated by a series of fires which occurred at various stages of Bergen's history. Waterlogged conditions have preserved many of the timber buildings, streets, and quays. The 11th-century houses and warehouses were on piles and had sills at ground level, while jetties became popular in the Hanseatic period (14th and 15th centuries). The excavations revealed a remarkable collection of imported pottery from all over Europe as well as quantities of leather and wooden objects. Parts of three trading ships or freighters were also found, their timbers having been re-used in the buildings.
Bering Land Bridge
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: The present-day floor of the Chukchi and Bering Seas, which emerged as dry land during Late Pleistocene glacial advances. It is the only route for faunal exchange between Eurasia and North America as it united Siberia and Alaska. It seems to have been breached only in the past 2.5 million years, with the earliest immigrants crossing it about 40,000-15,000 years ago. They were part of a migratory wave that later reached as far south as South America (about 10,000 years ago). During the Ice Age the sea level fell by several hundred feet, making the strait into a land bridge between Asia and North America, over which a considerable migration of plants and animals, as well as man, occurred. That period also allowed the transit of cold water currents from the Pacific into the Atlantic.
Beringia
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: The part of the continental shelf that connects Northeast Asia with present-day Alaska. These were the polar continental shelves that escaped glaciation during the ice ages but which were exposed during periods of low sea level, which facilitated migration of people to North America from Asia, and in the Laptev and East Siberian seas. When exposed at the time of the last glacial maximum, it was a large, flat, vegetated landmass. In 1993, investigations on the climatic interstadial of 11,000-12,000 years ago in Beringia (now submerged under the Bering Strait) and the way it provided for the peopling of the New World from Asia were reported. Traces of starch from an apparently domesticated variety of the taro plant on flint tools from the Solomon Islands suggested that conscious planting was being done in the Pacific as long ago as 28,000 years before the present.
Beringian tradition
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: American Paleo-Arctic
CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: A culture in existence approximately 12,000 years ago between Siberia and temperate Alaska. The term was used by H. West to cover various Alaskan and Siberian archaeological formations which had developed from the Siberian Upper Paleolithic period, an area now largely submerged under the Bering Strait. Chronologically these formations lie between the middle of the Holocene period (c 35,000-9/10,000 BP), depending on the area. West's categorization includes the Bel'kachi, Diuktai, and Lake Ushki cultures in Siberia, the Denalian culture and American Paleo-Arctic formations in Alaska and the Yukon. Although Alaska is generally thought to be the gateway through which humans entered the New World, the earliest undisputed evidence for people there dates later than 12,000 years ago, well after the climax of the last major glacial advance but while glaciers still covered much of Arctic Canada. Artifacts of 11,500 to 9,000 years ago are known from a number of Alaskan sites, where hunters of caribou (and, in one case, of an extinct form of bison) manufactured blades.
Bernal Garcia, Ignacio (1910-1992)
CATEGORY: person
DEFINITION: A Mexican archaeologist known for his work at Monte Albán, Dainzü, Teotihuacán, and other Oaxacan sites.
Bernam-Sungkai
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A peninsular area of Malaysia with stone slab graves during a metal age around 300 BC.
Bernouli distribution
CATEGORY: measure
DEFINITION: A discrete probability distribution that describes situations in which there is only one trial and only two possible (and mutually exclusive) outcomes, as with dichotomous measurements.
Bersu, Gerhard (1889-1964)
CATEGORY: person
DEFINITION: A German archaeologist who emigrated to Britain in the 1930s and introduced methods such as area excavation of settlement sites, as at Little Woodbury and on the Isle of Man.
Bes
CATEGORY: deity
DEFINITION: A minor god of ancient Egypt, appearing only in the New Kingdom, represented as an ugly dwarf. The name Bes is now used to designate a group of deities of similar appearance. Bes, associated with music and childbirth, was intended to inspire joy or to drive away evil spirits. He was also popular with the Phoenicians.
Beth-Shan
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Bet She'an, Baysan (Arabic), Beisan (modern); Scythopolis
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A very large tell of northeastern Israel, site of one of the oldest inhabited cities of ancient Palestine. Overlooking the town to the north is Tel Bet She'an (Arabic Tall al-Husn), one of the most important stratified mounds in Palestine. It was excavated in 1921-1933 by the University of Pennsylvania, which discovered the lowest strata date from the late Chalcolithic period in the country (c 4000-3000 BC) through Bronze Age and Iron Age levels and upward to Byzantine times (c AD 500). Buildings, including temples and administrative buildings, span the Egyptian period - the earliest from the time of Thutmose III (ruled 1504-1450 BC), and the latest dating to Rameses III (1198-66 BC). Important stelae (stone monuments) show the conquests of Pharaoh Seti I (1318-1304 BC) and of the worship of the goddess Astarte. During the Hellenistic period, the city was called Scythopolis; it was taken by the Romans in 64 BC and given the status of an imperial free city by Pompey. In 1960 a finely preserved Roman amphitheater, with a seating capacity for about 5,000, was excavated. The city was an important center of the Decapolis (a league of 10 Hellenistic cities) and under Byzantine rule was the capital of the northern province of Palaestina Secunda. All these periods were also represented in the surrounding cemeteries. It declined after the Arab conquest (636 AD).
Beth-Shemesh
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A Palestinian site of the Middle Bronze Age that was possibly a Hyksos fortified settlement and later a Late Bronze Age and Philistine town.
Bethel
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Luz, Baytin (modern)
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: The site of the ancient city of Palestine, just north of Jerusalem, occupied before 2000 BC to the 6th century BC. Bethel was important in Old Testament times and was associated with Abraham and Jacob. Excavations have been carried out by the American School of Oriental Research and the Pittsburgh-Xenia Theological Seminary. The most important levels were of the Late Bronze Age, a particularly well-built town of the Canaanites which was violently destroyed early in the 13th century BC, probably by the Israelites. After the division of Israel, Jeroboam I (10th century BC) made Bethel the chief sanctuary of the northern kingdom (Israel), and the city was later the center for the prophetic ministry of Amos. The city apparently escaped destruction by the Assyrians at the time of the fall of Samaria (721 BC), but was occupied by Josiah of Judah (reigned c. 640-c. 609 BC).
Betovo
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A Middle Palaeolithic site near Bryansk, Russia with artifacts (denticulates) and faunal remains (snow lemming) that indicate a cold interval such as early in the last glacial.
Bewcastle Cross
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A runic standing cross monument in the churchyard of Bewcastle, Northumberland, northern England, dating from the late 7th or early 8th century. Although the top of the cross has been lost, the 15-foot (4.5-meter) shaft remains, with distinct panels of the figures of Christ in Majesty, St. John the Baptist, and St. John the Evangelist, while on the back there is an inhabited vinescroll. Like the Ruthwell Cross, that at Bewcastle possesses a poem inscribed in Runic script. The worn inscription suggests that the monument was a memorial to Alchfrith, son of Oswiu of Northumbria, and his wife Cyneburh (Cyniburug). It is one of the finest examples of Early Christian Northumbrian art.
Beycesultan
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A tell on the upper Meander River of southwestern Anatolia (western Turkey) which has yielded evidence from the Chalcolithic to Late Bronze Age and of a culture contemporary with the Hittite empire. It is thought to have been the capital of the 2nd-millennium BC state of Arzawa. From the Chalcolithic, there was a cache of sophisticated copper tools and a silver ring, the earliest known use of that metal. Buildings that were religious shrines have been uncovered, almost unknown in Anatolia at those times. Rectangular shrine chambers were arranged in pairs, with ritual installations recalling the Horns of Consecration and Tree, or Pillar, cults of Minoan Crete. A palace building at the same site, dating from the Middle Bronze Age (c 1750 BC), Beycesultan's most prosperous period, had reception rooms at first-floor level, also in the Minoan manner. In common with most other Bronze Age buildings in Anatolia, its walls were composed of a brick-filled timber framework on stone foundations. The private houses of this period at Beycesultan were all built on the megaron plan. The whole settlement and a lower terrace on the river was enclosed by a perimeter wall. The town was violently destroyed and though it was rebuilt, it remained relatively poor into the Late Bronze Age.
Bhimbetka
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A large series of Palaeolithic-to-present rock shelters with rich deposits and rock art, close to Bhopal, India. A succession of Acheulian handaxes, cleavers, and Levallois tools are preceded by Middle Palaeolithic blades, Upper Palaeolithic bladelets, and then a Mesolithic bladelet and grinding lithic assemblage, and finally by copper tools and Chalcolithic pottery. The Mesolithic industry has dates of 6000-1000 BC and the rock art is of the Mesolithic and later. The rock art is painted in a range of colors and there are human and animal figures, some in hunting, warfare, or ceremony scenes. Petroglyphs have been found in a shelter.
Bilzingsleben
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A travertine site in Germany at which Middle Pleistocene specimens of skull fragments and teeth show resemblances to Homo erectus. Excavations have turned up thousands of stone tools of a Lower Palaeolithic Clactonian-type culture. An interglacial environment is indicated with a date in the penultimate or Holstein interglacial, perhaps some 250,000-350,000 years ago.
Brandberg
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A mountain massif in central Namibia with Stone Age and Iron Age material, including 43,000 important cave art paintings. "The White Lady of the Brandberg" romanticized by Abbé Breuil is the most celebrated.
Breuil, Abbé Henri (1877-1961)
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Breuil, Henri-Édouard-Prosper
CATEGORY: person
DEFINITION: A French archaeologist who was regarded as an authority on prehistoric cave paintings of Europe and Africa. He devoted much of his life to studying examples of prehistoric art in southern France, northern Spain, and southern Africa. Breuil was a fine draftsman, and his greatest contributions were in the recording and interpretation of cave art in more than 600 publications. He proposed a series of four successive art styles, based on the superposition of paintings found in many caves, and held the view that the purpose of the paintings was sympathetic magic, to ensure success in hunting. Breuil fit the Aurignacian culture into its right place within the French Palaeolithic sequence and was responsible for working out the chronologies of French Upper and Middle Paleolithic periods.
Broadbeach
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A burial site along the coast south of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Excavations uncovered 200 burials over a span of 1300 years, with wide variations in burial practices, possibly related to age, sex and status. Red ochre was present in nearly all graves, while grave goods included bone, shell, and stone artifacts and tools.
Cabenge
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A site in southwest Sulawesi with late Pliocene fauna. Stone tools are found in association with bones. Toalian tools in the area include large core tools of the chopper/chopping tool tradition.
Cai Beo
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A site in north Vietnam with a sequence from the late Hoabinhian stone tool so to edge-grinding (c 5000 BC) to Neolithic polished stone adzes (c 4500 BC).
Cederberg
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A range of the Cape Fold Mountains near Cape Town, South Africa, known for rock paintings from the Later Stone Age onward.
Celebes
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Sulawesi
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: An Indonesian island east of Borneo which has produced the oldest Buddhist image known in the archipelago, dated to the 4th century. Celebes lies between the two shelves of the Australian and Asian continents. A broad central area is made up of igneous rocks with a band of volcanic detritus (tuff) that is more than 65 million years old. The earliest traces of human habitation on Celebes are stone implements of the Toalian culture.
Combe Capelle
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A rock shelter in Dordogne, France, with Châtelperronian, Aurignacian, Gravettian, and Solutrean industries as well as a burial of a Homo sapiens sapiens.
Combe-Grenal
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Combe Grenal
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A rock shelter site on the Dordogne River in southwest France, near the town of Domme. There are 64 archaeological levels, including nine bottom levels of the Acheulian industry dating from the end of the Riss glaciation, followed by a series of 55 Mousterian levels. Occupation ended just before the end of the Mousterian period, and there is a radiocarbon date of just over 37,000 BC from Level 12, near the top of the deposit. The site has the largest number of cultural levels of any Palaeolithic site known to date. The 55 Mousterian levels have formed the basis for the analysis of the Mousterian into five main types. A burial pit has been recognized in the Mousterian levels with some human bones. The site has fauna and pollen evidence from all levels.
Corded Beaker culture
CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: A Late Neolithic culture in central and northern Europe from c 2800 BC, named after a characteristic cord-marked decoration found on pottery. The Corded beaker culture belongs to the so-called Battle-Ax cultures of Europe. There were two phases of new burial rites, with individual rather than communal burials and an emphasis on burying rich grave goods with adult males. The first phase, characterized by Corded Ware pottery and stone battle-axes, is found particularly in central and northern Europe. The second phase, dated to 2500-2200 BC, is marked by Bell Beaker pottery and the frequent occurrence of copper daggers in the graves; it is found from Hungary to Britain and as far south as Italy, Spain, and North Africa. At the same time, there was an increase in the exchange of prestige goods such as amber, copper, and tools from particular rock sources.
Crambeck ware
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A type of pottery made at Crambeck, North Yorkshire, which was widely distributed across the north of England and North Wales in the second half of the 4th century AD. Common types include cream-colored mortaria and parchment wares, imitation Samian forms, and a range of lead-grey kitchen wares.
Debert
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A Clovis site in Nova Scotia, Canada, dating to 11,000-10,000BP. Artifacts, hearths, and faunal evidence are on the site.
Dongbei
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Tung-pei
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: The northeastern part of present-day China, including the Manchurian Basin and Bohai Bay. The region is often treated separated from the archaeology of the North China Plain and includes Liaoning, Heilongjiang, and Jilin provinces.
Drakensberg
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A South African mountain range forming the southern and eastern boundary of Lesotho where there is an abundance of Stone Age rock paintings.
Dürrnberg bei Hallein
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: An Iron Age salt mining center in Austria from the 5th century BC. It eclipsed the mining complex at Hallstatt. There are many wealthy burials and artifacts linking the site with other part of central Europe and the Mediterranean.
Eilsleben
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A settlement site of the Linear Pottery culture in eastern Germany. The fortified area was surrounded by a rampart and ditch system.
El Beyed
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Late Acheulian site in Mauretania, Africa, with handaxes, Levallois cores, and angular blades.
Erbenheim sword
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Heavy bronze flange-hilted sword with a leaf-shaped blade for slashing rather than thrusting. Originating in the early urnfield traditions of central Europe, examples were exported to surrounding areas, some arriving in Britain, for example, in the Penard Phase of the later Bronze Age, the 12th century BC.
Fuchsberg
CATEGORY: ceramics
DEFINITION: A Neolithic pottery style of the Danish Early and Middle Neolithic, c 3400 BC. It was characterized by rich incised decoration and has been found at Sarup and Toftum.
Funnel Beaker
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: funnel-necked beaker culture; Funnel(neck) Beaker; Trichterbecher or TRB
CATEGORY: ceramics; culture
DEFINITION: A vessel with a globular body and expanded neck, characteristic of the Early and Middle Neolithic culture of northern Europe. The funnel beaker is not directly related to the bell-beaker of central and western Europe. The complex culture represents the first agriculturists in Scandinavia and the north European plain, appearing from 3500 BC onwards. It is named after the characteristic pottery, which is often found in megalithic tombs in northern Germany.
Gallo-Belgic
CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: A ceramic tradition in France and Belgium about 3000 years ago that diffused as far as Britain.
Gallo-Belgic ware
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Vessels imported from Gaul in the late 1st century BC and early 1st century AD, usually in black or silver-grey fabrics (terra nigra), or white fabric coated with red slip (terra rubra), or a dense white or cream fabric like pipeclay. Close British imitations of these fabrics and forms are known, and further copying of the forms was wide-spread. The imported vessels often have the name of the potter stamped on the inner surface of the base, a practice imitated in but usually with illegible markings.
Gamberian
CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: A distinctive Early Holocene industry of coastal southeast South Australia and southwest Victoria with retouched flint flake tools.
Gebel Barkal
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A mountain in Upper Nubia which was a center of worship for Amen in the New Kingdom. There was a temple built by Ramesses II that was extended by other rulers. There are nearby pyramids related to the Meroitic Period.
Gobedra
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A small rock shelter near Axum in northern Ethiopia which has yielded a stratified sequence covering the last 12,000 years. The earliest occurrence was of large blades, followed c 8000 BC by an industry dominated by backed microliths. Pottery first appeared at a level tentatively dated to the 3rd millennium BC. The seeds of cultivated finger millet (Eleusine coracana) are dated to between 7000-5000 years ago. This find, if correctly associated with these dates, would be the earliest-known evidence for an indigenous African crop. The latest stone industry was a specialized one of small steep scrapers.
Gogoshiis Qabe
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Gure Makeke
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A rock shelter of southern Somaia with Middle and Later Stone Age sequences and early Holocene burials. These graves, associated with lesser kudu horn cores, represent the earliest evidence of intentional grave goods in East Africa.
Gombe Point
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Kalina Point
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A site overlooking the Congo River in Kinshasa, where the first stratigraphic succession of stone industries in central Africa was described. The are considered local variants of the Lupemban-Tshitolian sequence of west-central Africa. Although apparently stratified, the succession is now believed to have suffered a considerable degree of post-depositional mixing.
Grebeniki culture
CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: A Late Mesolithic culture situated between the Carpathians and the Dniester valley in the Ukraine c 6000 BC. It was succeeded by the Bug-Dniester complex c 5500 BC.
Heekeren, H. Robert Van (1902-1974)
CATEGORY: person
DEFINITION: Dutch archaeologist who spent his career in Indonesia and wrote two important books - "The Stone Age of Indonesia" (1957 1972) and "The Bronze-Iron Age of Indonesia" (1958). Van Heekeren excavated on Sulawesi and Java.
Iberians
CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: A prehistoric people of southern and eastern Spanish coastal regions of the 1st millennium BC who later gave their name to the whole peninsula. In the 8th-6th centuries BC, waves of Celtic peoples migrated to the region. By the time of the Greek historian Herodotus (mid-5th century BC), 'Iberian' applied to all the peoples between the Ebro and Huelva rivers, who were probably linguistically connected and whose material culture was distinct from that of the north and west. There was a common script of 28 syllabic and alphabetic characters somewhat derived from Greek and Phoenician, and a non Indo-European language which cannot yet be translated. Notable among their products are their jewelry and statues, of which the Lady of Elche is the most famous. The Iberians' origins are obscure, perhaps North African. They disappeared as a separate group under the Roman occupation, partly by fusion with the Celts of the interior, partly through displacement of their language by Latin. The Iberian economy had a rich agriculture and mining and metallurgy.
Ibero-Maurusian
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Iberomaurusian; Mouillian; Oranian
CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: A stone tool culture characterized by small backed bladelets and found across the North African coast from at least 22,000-10,000 years ago (the late Würm (last) glacial period). It followed the Aterian in the Epipalaeolithic of Maghreb in North Africa and preceded the Capsian. The culture was related to Cro-Magnon, a group of people known as the Mechta-el-Arbi race, living along the Mediterranean from Tunisia to Morocco and also Libya. Linked to the sea, there are huge shell mounds of mussels, oysters, and arca. Associated with these are pottery and limited stone tool industry, in conjunction with hearths, sometimes still marked by supporting stones. Extensive cemeteries have been investigated, as at Taforalt, and also at Afalou bou Rhummel and Columnata in Algeria. Burials were sometimes decorated with ochre or accompanied by food remains or by horns of wild cattle. The industry does bear a close resemblance to the late Magdalenian culture in Spain, which is broadly contemporary (c 15,000 BC). There is evidence suggesting that the Ibero-Maurusian industry is derived from a Nile River valley culture known as Halfan, which dates from c 17,000 BC.
Ingombe Ilede
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: An Iron Age site in southern Zambia, occupies in the 14th-15th centuries AD by peoples who engaged in extensive trade in copper and gold. Elaborate graves contained metal bangles, ingots, iron hoes and gongs, bundles of copper wire, woven cotton cloth, marine gastropod shells, gold beads, and imported glass beads. This evidence for development of trade in the Zambezi Valley coincides in date with the decline of Great Zimbabwe.
Jebel Irhoud
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A site in northern Morocco where Levalloiso-Mousterian artifacts were recovered in association with fossil human remains of Neanderthal type. ESR dates range from over 80,000-150,000 BP.
Jebel Moya
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A mountain with many graves in southern Gezira of Sudan, probably occupied c 4000 BP. The pottery resembles that of the Nubian C group. A later occupation has Meroitic traits.
Jebel Uweinat
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A mountainous region of the eastern Sahara, where Libya, Sudan, and Egypt meet. The many rock shelters had prehistoric occupation, with abundant rock art. The art is of particular interest for its representations of various creatures, including giraffe and ostrich, which are tethered. It was a focal point for Neolithic herders around 6200 BP.
Jebel et Tomat
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A settlement site in central Sudan with evidence of sorghum cultivation by the 3rd century AD. The site was occupied through the first five centuries of the Christian era by mixed-farming people who supplemented their rare iron tools by continuing the production of chipped stone artifacts.
Karlgren, Bernhard (1889-1978)
CATEGORY: person
DEFINITION: Swedish archaeologist was the first person to reconstruct the phonology of Chinese characters in use around 600 AD and then in earlier periods. He reconstructed the vowel system of Old Chinese to account for the language in "Classic of Poetry" (800-600 BC). He studied numerous fundamental texts of the pre-Han period and succeeded in assessing their authenticity and in translating them into English and providing commentaries. In field of early bronzes he laid the foundations for an analytical method the principles of which are still valid.
Kechi Beg
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A 3rd-millennium BC site in the Quetta Valley of western Pakistan, which has given its name to a fine buff-colored pottery painted in black and solid bands interspersed with delicately painted patterns. Red paint was also used to produce a polychrome effect.
Khirbet Kerak
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: ancient Beth-yerah; Tell Beth Yerah
CATEGORY: site; artifact
DEFINITION: A Palestinian site on the southwest shore of the Sea of Galilee, settled from the Early-Middle Bronze Age and occupied again from the Hellenistic to the Byzantine periods. In the 4th-3rd millennia BC, it was a small walled town which lent its name to a distinctive pottery ware (Khirbet Kerak ware, c 3400) which has been found on many sites throughout the Near East, from Judeidah in the Amuq to Lachish in the south. This highly burnished ware with red or black slip is often incised or ribbed in decoration. Its origins lie up in the southern Caucasus (it was related to Early Transcaucasian wares), from which it was likely carried south by an emigration of the ancestors of the Hittites. The pottery belongs to the EB III phase and has a wide distribution in Syria and Palestine. It is usually thought to have originated in northeast Anatolia and may have been distributed either by emigration or by trade. The town of the mid-3rd millennium BC contains a massive public building, probably a religious structure, that comprises eight circular stone structures all enclosed by a massive outer rectangular wall.
Khirbet al-Mafjar
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A palatial complex just outside Jericho in the Jordan Valley, attributed via epigraphy to the Umayyad caliph Hisham (724-743). There was a South Building, two-story mansion, a mosque, and a bathhouse (with elaborate domes and vaults) supplied by an aqueduct; and a North Building, a khan or guesthouse. The buildings are particularly important because they are closely datable within a period when the Hellenistic traditions of art and architecture were being transformed for Muslim patrons, and also because they yielded rich collections of stucco, wall paintings, and mosaics.
Kimberley point
CATEGORY: lithics
DEFINITION: A pressure-flaked bifacial point with serrated margins and long shallow surface scar beds, found in the Kimberley region of Western Australia and neighboring areas of the Northern Territory and northwest Queensland. South of the Kimberleys the point was a trade item and was used as a surgical knife. The points were made at the time of European contact, when bottle glass and porcelain were adapted for the industry.
Koldewey, Robert (1855-1925)
CATEGORY: person
DEFINITION: German architect and archaeologist who worked in Anatolia, the eastern Mediterranean (Assus, Lesbos), and especially Mesopotamia. He excavated at Al Hiba, Fara, Assur, and Babylon, uncovering the Ishtar Gate, the temple of Marduk, a ziggurat, and palace of Nebuchadnezzar. He began digging on March 26, 1899, and continued to work there with little interruption for the next 18 years. He believed he had found the remains of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, when he uncovered an arched structure with a well nearby. His work revealed the destroyed capital of Hammurabi, the capital of the Neo-Babylonian empire (7th-6th centuries BC), and remains from Seleucid-Parthian and Sassanian periods. This work marked the beginning of scientific archaeology in Near East. The results were published in Koldewey's book "The Excavations at Babylon" (1914) as well as in reports over the years.
Kroeber, Alfred Louis (1876-1960)
CATEGORY: person
DEFINITION: American anthropologist who made great contributions to American Indian ethnology; to the archaeology of New Mexico, Mexico, and Peru; and to the study of linguistics, folklore, kinship, and social structure. He was one of the small group of scholars whose work laid the basis of New World archaeology as a scientific discipline. His first work was in preparing a typological seriation of potsherds from Zuñi sites of the American southwest, and his work, together with that of Kidder and Nelson in the same area, showed how archaeological methods could reveal time depth and cultural change in North America. From 1921, Kroeber applied the same techniques to Max Uhle's Peruvian collections. He worked out a scheme for Peruvian archaeology which formed the basis of all studies of the subject for the next 20 years. Kroeber explored much of the Peruvian coast, especially the Nasca Valley where he made the first-ever stratigraphic excavation of a Peruvian midden. Kroeber continued to write about the ethnology of North American Indians and also concentrated on theoretical aspects of anthropology, in particular the processes of culture change. His "Configurations of Culture Growth" (1945) sought to trace the growth and decline of all of civilized man's thought and art. "The Nature of Culture" (1952) was a collection of Kroeber's essays published on such topics as cultural theory kinship social psychology and psychoanalysis.
Lake Besaka
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A series of sites in southeastern Ethiopia where, in the mid-2nd millennium BC, local stone industries made a variety of scrapers. Stone bowls, akin to those of the East African Pastoral Neolithic sites far to the south, also occur.
Lalibela
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Roha
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A religious and pilgrimage center of north-central Ethiopia, capital of the Zague dynasty for about 300 years. It was renamed for its emperor, Lalibela (reigned c 1185-1225), who according to tradition built the 11 monolithic churches for which the location is famous. The churches were hewn out of solid rock entirely below ground level in a variety of styles. They retain representations of many features known also from the architecture of Axum (Aksum) in earlier times. The expert craftsmanship of the Lalibela churches has been linked with the earlier church of Debre Damo near Aksum. Emperor Lalibela had most of the churches constructed in his capital in the hope of replacing ancient Axum as a city of Ethiopian preeminence. Recent restoration indicates that some of them may have been used originally as fortifications and royal residences.
Lambeth sword
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Type of late Bronze Age straight-sided bronze sword with a flat mid-section and rectangular hilt-tang found in southern Britain in the 12th and 11th centuries BC (Penard Phase). Local indigenous copies of the Rosnoën swords made in northern France.
Malthus, Thomas Robert (1766-1834)
CATEGORY: person
DEFINITION: English economist and demographer, best known for his theory that population growth overrun available food resources unless it is controlled by catastrophes such as war, epidemics, or natural disasters - or with limits on reproduction.
Markleeberg
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Lower Palaeolithic site outside Leipzig, Germany, where gravel pits have gravels earlier than the Saale ice maximum advance in the region. They contain a cold-indicating fauna of early penultimate glacial date and numerous stone artifacts, especially Levallois flakes, sidescrapers, and handaxes. Artifacts and faunal remains are buried in the riverine gravels, probably deposited during the late Middle Pleistocene.
Matenbek
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Limestone shelter near Matenkupkum, Bismarck Archipelago, Melanesia, with occupation from c 19,000 bp. A later occupation began c 8000 bp. Obsidian from Talasea appears as well as phalanger (possum) introduced during the Pleistocene.
Merimde Beni Salama
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Merinde, Merimda Beni Salama
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Site on the west bank of the Nile Delta, Egypt, representing one of the earliest cultures of Egypt, similar to that of the Fayyum (Faiyum). It yielded a radiocarbon date of 5060 BC and was occupied for about 600 years, probably c 4900-4300 BC, by a population up to 16,000. Three occupation phases showed progressively more substantial shelters, beneath which the dead were buried in a crouched position. Barley and emmer, cattle, sheep, and pigs are attested. Sickle flints and hollow-based arrowheads, pyriform and spherical maceheads, sling stones, fishhooks, spindle whorls, and simple stone axheads have been found. The pottery was poor, plain, straw-tempered and often covered with a slip. It is the earliest evidence for fully sedentary village life in the Nile valley. The Merimda phase of the Lower Egyptian Predynastic Period appears to have been roughly contemporary with the late Badarian and Amratian phases in Upper Egypt.
Michelsberg
CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: A Middle Neolithic culture of Belgium, northeastern France, the Rhineland and parts of Switzerland from c 4500-4000 BC. It occupies a frontier zone on the borders of the Danubian culture, TRB culture, and western Neolithic complex, and shares traits with all three. The type site is a hilltop enclosure in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. There are many regional subgroups. The Belgian one has leaf-shaped arrowheads, antler combs, flint mines, and enclosures similar in construction to causewayed camps, and may have had links with the Windmill Hill culture of Britain. In the Rhineland and Low Countries, the culture was closely related to Funnel-Necked Beaker Culture and a succession to the Röessen Culture. Pottery forms include pointed- and round-based vessels with flaring rims and flat pottery disks (plats à pain) which were probably lids. One of innovations was use of deep mines for flint (Spiennes in Belgium, Rijckholt in Netherlands) where axes were made. Contacts by the Michelsberg with late Mesolithic hunter-gatherers north of the loess zone gave rise to semiagricultural communities, as evidenced by relics from about 4000 BC found in the Netherlands delta at Swifterbant in Flevoland and Hazendonkborn and Bergschenhoekborn in Zuid-Holland.
Mont Bégo
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Glaciated valleys on the slopes of Mont Bégo in the Maritime Alps of France which contain 150,000 protohistoric rock art engravings, especially in Vallée des Merveilles and Fontanalba. Dates are the Early Bronze Age and as recent as the Middle Ages.
Mureybet
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Mureybit, Mureybat
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A site in the curve of the Euphrates 80 km east of Aleppo in Syria, occupied in the late-Epipalaeolithic (Natufian) and Aceramic Neolithic (to PPNB), from c 8500-6800 BC. The Natufian level had a date of 8640 +/- 140 BC. Einkorn was the staple of the villagers' diet, possibly cultivated. It is an important site for understanding the emergence of food production and village life on the middle Euphrates.
Nakbe
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Urban center of the Maya in the dense tropical forest of northern Guatemala, 13 km away from El Mirador, to which it was joined by a causeway. It was one of the earliest ceremonial centers of the Maya. There are two main clusters of platforms and mounds, including a 50 meter high pyramid. Thought to have been typical of the architecture of the period known as the Late Formative, or Late Pre-classic (300 BC-AD 100), the huge stone pyramids, temples, and other relatively tall buildings characteristic of the construction at Nakbe have been carbon-dated to 600-400 BC (corresponding to the Middle Formative). Although remains have been unearthed from almost every period of Mayan culture at Nakbe, it was not important after the beginning of the Late Formative period.
Nasbeh, Tell en-
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Tell en-Nasbeh; Tall al-Nasbeh; Tel Mizpe
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A site near Jerusalem, occupied throughout the Iron Age. Noteworthy were its massive rubble walls, 4 m thick, with projecting towers and a very strong gateway. It is the probable site of biblical Mizpah.
Nekhbet
CATEGORY: deity
DEFINITION: In Egyptian religion, vulture goddess who was the protector of Upper Egypt and especially its rulers. Nekhbet was portrayed as spreading her wings over the pharaoh while grasping in her claw the cartouche symbol or other emblems. She also appeared as a woman, often with a vulture's head, wearing a white crown. Nekhbet's cult was at al-Kab (Eileithyiaspolis), but she was also the goddess of Hierakonpolis (Nekhen), the ancient town opposite al-Kab, on the west bank of the Nile River.
Nombe
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A rock shelter in Simbu Province, Papua New Guinea, in the New Guinea Highlands with evidence of occupation going back 25,000 years. Excavation has revealed a rich cultural sequence from the late Pleistocene to the present, and the basal levels contain waisted axes, pebble tools and several extinct animals, including Protemnodon and Thylacine.
Nordic tribes
CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: Peoples from the Baltic who arrived in Britain in Neolithic times, who originated from southern Russia. They settled in western areas of England and were one of the two main Neolithic groups.
Old Bering Sea Culture
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Old Bering Sea stage
CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: An Eskimo subculture that settled in northern Alaska and northeast Siberia between 1500-2000 years ago, and is best known for its ivory objects. The earliest sites were in Bering Strait area and the major type site is on St. Lawrence Island. It is an early manifestation of the western Arctic Thule tradition, often linked with the possibly contemporaneous Okvik culture. Although both share similar traits - a highly evolved art style, polished slate tools and pottery - the relationship between the two is still uncertain. The art style appears to have flourished between 100-500 AD.
Oldbury-type bead
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Type of late Iron Age bead found in southeastern England, hexagonal in outline with white spirals in a blue ground mass.
Oseberg ship
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Important Viking ship burial, discovered in 1903 in south Norway in a peat mound. It was found with most of its timbers intact and its main burial chamber still filled with most of its contents. Among the objects in the chamber were the skeletons of a man (c 850-900 AD), dogs and horses, a chest containing oil lamps and personal items, a wooden bed and a sledge. Now reconstructed in the Oslo Ship Museum, the Oseberg ship is a fine example of a large sophisticated Viking warship. The ship itself was plank-built and had a pronounced keel, a large mast and a beautifully carved stern. It shed much light on everyday life of Vikings.
PF beaker
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: protruding foot beaker
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Abbreviation of protruding foot beaker.
Reingraberfeld
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Reihengraberfeld
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A term for a classic form of graveyard found in France, the Low Countries, and West German in the 5th-7th centuries. It is normally found by a river on a south-facing slope, usually some distance from a settlement. Bodies were buried in individual trenches in neat rows (no sarcophagi or coffins). The men were traditionally buried with one or more weapons and the women with their brooches, hairpins, and other furnishings.
Richey-Roberts Clovis Cache
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Clovis site in Washington state with just 30 artifacts and bone and antler fragments. There are several hypotheses for the site's function.
Rio Bec
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Rio Bec-Chenes
CATEGORY: structure
DEFINITION: Southernmost of a trio of architectural styles in the lowland Maya Classic Period, based on the heavy use of uncut stone and stucco. Large towers imitating the steep stepped temple-pyramids of such centers as Tikal consist entirely of fill which has been plastered over. The style included mosaic facades rather than the modeled stucco of the Greater Peten group. The best example of Rio Bec architecture is at Xpuhil in Campeche.
Robberg
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Nelson Bay Cave
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Later Stone Age microlithic industry of southern and eastern Cape Province, South Africa, dated to c 18,000-12,000 BP. There are many diminutive artifacts with few retouched implements, including bladelet cores, bladelets, scrapers, and backed bladelets. Worked bone and ostrich eggshell beads have also been found.
Salzgitter-Lebenstedt
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Mousterian hunting site in northwest Germany near Hanover, dated to c 50,000 BP. It yielded reindeer and mammoth remains hunted by Middle Palaeolithic men and an eastern Mousterian assemblage with some western Mousterian artifact-forms. Human skull fragments were found, possibly dating from early in the last glacial period.
Santa Isabel Iztapán
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Two mammoth kill-sites in southeast Chiapas, Mexico, with human occupation dating to 9250 years ago. At one site, a skeleton was found scrapers, knives, and blades of flint and obsidian, as well as a stemmed projectile point of flint. The second mammoth site yielded a chert knife, a leaf-shaped point of flint, and a lanceolate point with a flat base. Similar kill sites were found at San Bartolo Atepehuacan, on the outskirts of Mexico City and at Tepexpan. The site is important as an indicator of the rapidity with which newly arrived (Asian) hunters dispersed southward. Stone tools of both the Big Game Hunting Tradition and the Old Cordilleran Tradition were found in the same levels, which is puzzling and infers a combination of hunting techniques were used.
Senftenberg
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Late Bronze Age fortified site of the Lusatian culture in east Germany.
Smithsonian number
CATEGORY: typology
DEFINITION: A unique catalog number given to sites, consisting of a number for the states's alphabetical position, a letter abbreviation of the county, and the site's sequential number within the county
Sobek
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Sebek, Suchos
CATEGORY: deity
DEFINITION: In ancient Egyptian religion, crocodile god whose chief sanctuary in Fayyum province included a live sacred crocodile, Petsuchos. He was portrayed as crocodile or as a man with crocodile's head and may have been an early fertility god or associated with death and burial before becoming a major deity and patron of kings in the Middle Kingdom (c 1850-1630 BC). Cemeteries of mummified crocodiles have been found in the Fayyum and at Kawm Umbu.
Sobekhotep
CATEGORY: person
DEFINITION: Birth name held by eight rulers of the 13th Dynasty (c 1795-1650 BC), most of whom had very short reigns.
Sobekneferu (1799-1795 BC)
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Sebeknefru
CATEGORY: person
DEFINITION: Female pharaoh, last ruler of the 12th Dynasty, who ruled c1760?-1756 BC.
Songon Dagbe
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: One of over 100 large shell mounds in the Ebrie Lagoon in the Ivory Coast. It is dated to c 2400 bp.
Spaulding, Albert Clinton (1914-1990)
CATEGORY: person
DEFINITION: American archaeologist who contributed to the development of modern theory, especially processual archaeology. He advocated the adoption of scientific and quantitative methods.
Suberde
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Small aceramic Neolithic settlement in the Konya plain of southern Turkey, dated to the later 7th millennium BC. Two occupation levels were recognized, the earlier with traces of hut floors, the latter with building of mudbrick and plastered floors. Thousands of animal bones have been found - sheep, goat, cattle, pig and some harvesting of wild cereals may have occurred.
Swanscombe, Barnfield Pit
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: British Lower Palaeolithic site on a terrace of the lower Thames Valley, North Kent, England, with a skull of possibly an archaic Homo sapiens with strong Neanderthal features. The skull bones are considerably thicker than those of modern European or Neanderthal skulls; the skull pieces may be the oldest of Homo sapiens found in Europe. More recent opinion holds that the skull is non-sapiens and has closer affinities with those of Neanderthal type. There is a succession of artifact-bearing strata of the Mindel-Riss interglacial period (400,000-200,000 years ago), with the earliest tools of Clactonian type. Middle Acheulian handaxes and a pointed biface assemblage were found in the Middle Gravel level and in the Upper Loam level, Middle Acheulian tools of a more evolved form and a refined ovate assemblage. The deposits contain useful environmental evidence, including abundant mollusk and mammal remains and large assemblages of stone tools.
Tembeling
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: River valley in peninsular Malaysia with Neolithic and metal age sites.
Thebes
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: ancient Waset, Wase, Wo'se, Nowe, Nuwe
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Principal city of Upper Egypt, on the east bank of the Nile, which was the capital of the fourth nome of Upper Egypt and, during much of the Middle and New Kingdoms, of the whole country. Its importance lay in its being the seat of Amon (Amun) and the surviving remains include the impressive temples at Karnak and Luxor as well as the tombs and temples of the cemeteries on the west bank, including the Valley of the Kings, Deir El-Bahri, and the Valley of the Queens. Those mortuary temples and tombs were for kings and high officials from the Middle Kingdom to the end of the Pharaonic period (c 2055-332 BC). In contrast with the practice of earlier times, the pharaohs of this time were buried in carefully concealed rock-cut tombs. The only one surviving looters fairly intact was that of Tutankamun, a comparatively minor ruler of the 18th Dynasty. The height of Theban prosperity was reached in the 14th century BC in the reign of Amenhotep III, much of whose vast wealth from foreign tribute was poured into the temples of Amon. Thebes is also the name of a site in Greece, principal city of Boeotia in the classical and pre-classical periods, with a legendary history that predates the Trojan expedition. The ruined 15th-century-BC Minoan-style palace at Cadmea had frescoes of Theban women in Minoan dress; some Cretan vases also suggest contacts between Thebes and Knossos in the period 1450-1400 BC. Clay tablets confirmed Mycenaean-Minoan links and the discovery of Mesopotamian cylinder seals reinforced the theory that Cadmus introduced writing to Greece. Thebes rivaled Argolís as a center of Mycenaean power until its palace and walls were destroyed shortly before the Trojan War (c 1200 BC). According to tradition, the city was destroyed by the sons of the Seven about whom Aeschylus wrote.
Thebes-East Bank
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: This part of Thebes included the main part of the city, now overbuilt by Luxor, and a temple built by Amenhotep III and Ramesses II. Just north was the temple of Karnak.
Thebes-West Bank
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: This part of Thebes includes the necropolis of the ancient city and the largest group of standing monuments in Egypt. They are mortuary temples and royal/private tombs. The royal and private tombs were mainly dug into cliffs and valleys of the Theban mountain. The mortuary temples were built on the desert plain between the mountain the cultivated land of the Nile. Mortuary temples include Nebhepetre Mmontuhotep, Hatshepsut, Ramesses III, Ramesses II, Seti I, and the Colossi of Memnon. The royal tombs are at el-Tarif, Dra Abu el-Naga, the Valley of the Kings, and the Valley of the Queens.
Trebeniste
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Iron Age burial site of the Hallstatt D period, c 6th-5th centuries BC, in Macedonia near Knoplje. The rich graves contained datable Greek imports and the site is the most northerly penetration of Greek goods during that period in lands adjacent to Greece.
Tuc d'Audoubert
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Deep cave system in the central Pyrenees, southwest France, with a few examples of Palaeolithic cave art. It is known for a bison modeled in clay, preserved deep in the cave.
Tuna el-Gebel
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Site of the necropolis of Hermopolis Magna, including a complex of catacombs for the burial of sacred animals and an associated temple of Thoth, located on the west bank of the Nile, near modern Mallawi in Middle Egypt. There are Late Period/Greco-Roman tombs and underground galleries with burials of ibises and baboons.
Ubeidiyah
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Site in the Jordan valley at Afikim, Israel, where there are a series of Pleistocene deposits with stone tools dated from potassium-argon dates between 1.7- 0.7 million years ago. The lower levels are of Oldowan type, while Acheulian types appear above and had a pebble tool and flake industry similar to Olduvai Gorge. Some fragments of Homo erectus have been found.
Wheeler, Sir Robert Eric Mortimer (1890-1976)
CATEGORY: person
DEFINITION: English archaeologist who revolutionized excavation standards and invented the stratigraphic grid system technique. Adopting and developing further the methods of General Pitt-Rivers, Wheeler emphasized the vertical site record and its importance in reconstructing the history of a site. He founded Britain's Institute of Archaeology of London University and similar institutions in other countries, especially reorganizing Indian and Pakistani archaeology. He worked at Verulamium, Maiden Castle, Harappa, Arikamedu, St. Albans, Colchester, Stanwick, Taxila, Charsada, Mohenjo-Daro, and Brahmagiri and was the director-general of the Archaeological Survey of India. His most important contribution was in popularizing archaeology, through his writings and especially through television programs.
Winlock, Herbert Eustis (1884-1950)
CATEGORY: person
DEFINITION: American Egyptologist who set new standards in field archaeology and in recording excavations, especially at Lisht and Deir el-Bahri. He worked at the temples of Queen Hatshepsut and Mentuhotep II and in the surrounding area of Theban necropolis with important 11th Dynasty tombs. He wrote "Excavations at Deir el Bahri 1911-1931" (1942).
X-ray milliprobe
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: X-ray milliprobe analysis; x-ray milliprobe analysis
CATEGORY: tool; technique
DEFINITION: A specialized type of X-ray fluorescence spectrometry which satisfies the particular requirements of certain artifacts. The principle is the same as for X-ray fluorescence spectrometry, but an instrument directs a highly focused X-ray beam at a desired point(s) on the sample surface. Secondary X-rays emitted from this point are then directed to a detector and analyzed. The spectrometer is outside the artifact, in contrast to standard X-ray spectrometry where the specimen is inside the spectrometer. The advantage that the X-ray milliprobe has over the electron probe microanalyzer is the ease with which samples can be prepared. The technique has flexibility and the ability to analyze microscopic areas.
Xibeigang
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Hsi-pei-kang
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Site in Hebei Province, China, of the Royal Cemetery of the Late Shang, with seven shaft tombs with wooden-chamber burials and human sacrifices. There are also over 2000 small pit-graves with human sacrifices. The hierarchy of burials at this and other cemeteries in the area reflected the social organization of the living. The large pit tombs, some nearly 42 feet deep, were furnished with four ramps and massive grave chambers for the kings. Only a few undisturbed elite burials have been unearthed, the most notable being that of Fu Hao, a consort of Wu-ting. Her relatively small grave contained 468 bronze objects of the Anyang style, 775 jades, carved bone objects, and more than 6,880 cowries - suggesting how great the wealth placed in the far larger royal tombs must have been.
Yubetsu
CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: Late Palaeolithic microlithic industry of Hokkaido, Japan, dated c 13,000 bp. Obsidian was worked in the Shirataki technique: a bifacial core has one lateral edge removed, producing a triangular spall. More edge removals make ski spalls of parallel surfaces. The technique was used from Mongolia to Alaska in the later Pleistocene.
abbey
CATEGORY: structure
DEFINITION: A place where monks or nuns live, work, and worship. An abbey usually consisted of group of buildings housing a monastery or a convent and an abbey church or a cathedral. Monasticism originated in the Middle East during the second half of the 4th century and spread to Byzantium, France, Greece, and Italy and developed independently from that in Britain. Excavations have shown considerable variation in the layout of abbeys depending on the different monastic orders. They range from beehive cells and oratories of Early Celtic abbeys to the Cistercian plan with cloisters, domestic ranges, and a large church. Prior to the 10th century, monasteries were the principal artistic, economic, and educational centers of the Christian world. An abbey was the complex of buildings which served the needs of these self-contained religious communities. The first European abbey was Montecassino in Italy, founded in 529.
accession number
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: The number assigned to an archaeological collection that identifies its origin; part of the catalog number.
adobe
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: uh'-doh-bee
CATEGORY: structure
DEFINITION: Spanish term for sun-dried mud brick; also the name for a structure built out of this material. These claylike buff or brown mud bricks were not fired, but hardened and dried in the sun. The material was also used as mortar, plaster, and amorphous building for walls. Adobe structures are found in the southwestern US and Mexico where there is heavy-textured clay soil and a sunny climate. These structures were often houses, temples, and large solid platforms in the shape of truncated pyramids.
alphabet
CATEGORY: language
DEFINITION: A set of written symbols or characters used to represent the sounds of a language. Each character in an alphabet usually represents a single sound rather than a syllable or group of vowels or consonants. The first alphabets were devised around the eastern shores of the Mediterranean around 1700-1500 BC. The Phoenicians developed what is known as North Semitic and it is considered the ancestor of all modern alphabets. However, Semitic language scripts used only consonants. The Greeks then added vowels when they adopted an alphabet in c 8th century BC. The number of letters in an alphabet varies from 20-30 to hundreds for hieroglyphic and cuneiform scripts to thousands for Chinese in which every sign is an ideogram.
amber
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Fossilized pine resin, a transparent yellow, orange, or reddish-brown material from coniferous trees. It is amorphous, having a specific gravity of 1.05-1.10 and hardness of 2-2.5 on the Mohs scale, and has two varieties - gray and yellow. Amber was appreciated and popular in antiquity for its beauty and its supposed magical properties. The southeast coast of the Baltic Sea is its major source in Europe, with lesser sources near the North Sea and in the Mediterranean. Amber is washed up by the sea. There is evidence of a strong trade in amber up the Elbe, Vistula, Danube, and into the Adriatic Sea area. The trade began in the Early Bronze Age and expanded greatly with the Mycenaeans and again with the Iron Age peoples of Italy. The Phoenicians were also specialist traders in amber. The soft material was sometimes carved for beads and necklaces.
animal bell
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A bell worn by an animal, e.g. sheep, goats, cows and hawks, to inform the owner of the animal's position.
ascribed status
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: ascribed leadership
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: An individual's social standing or leadership which was inherited or assigned from his or her parents or other relatives, by sex, or some other fixed criterion.
astrolabe
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: An instrument, usually consisting of a disc and pointer, formerly used to make astronomical measurements, especially of the altitudes of celestial bodies and as an aid in navigation.
barbed and tanged arrowhead
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Triangular-shaped flint arrowheads of the later Neolithic and early Bronze Age in Europe. Distinctive in having a short rectangular tang on the base opposite the point, symmetrically set either side of which is a barb. The tang was used to secure the arrow tip to its shaft and usually projects slightly below the ends of the barbs.
barbed dowel pin
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A wooden pin used to align parts, act as a pivot, or permit disassembly or separation
barbed point
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A bone or antler point with rows of barbs, usually on one side only.
barbed wire
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Strong wire with barbs at regular intervals used to prevent passage
bark beater
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: a stone, wood, or other hard material which was used in the Precolumbian period to soften bark for making clothing or architecture
be
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: An administrative unit of Japan's Yamato state in the 5th-6th centuries AD. It consisted of the craftspeople and palace service people and their goods and services.
bead
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A small, circular, tubular, or oblong ornament with a perforated center; usually made from shell, stone, bone, or glass.
bead rim
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: beaded rim
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A rim in the form of a small, rounded molding, in section at least two-thirds of a circle. It was often used on bowls, dishes, and jars.
beadwork
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Decorative work made of beads
beaker
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: bell beaker
CATEGORY: ceramics
DEFINITION: A simple pottery drinking vessel without handles, more deep than wide, much used in prehistoric Europe. The pottery was usually red or brown burnished ware, decorated with horizontal panels of comb- or cord-impressed designs. It was distributed in Europe from Spain to Poland, and from Italy to Scotland in the years after 2500 BC and the international bell-beaker is particularly widespread, though uncommon in Britain. In Britain there are local variants, the long-necked (formerly A) beakers of eastern England and the short-necked (formerly C) beakers of Scotland. There are local developments elsewhere, such as the Veluwe beakers in Holland. Beaker vessels are commonly found in graves, which were often single inhumations under round barrows; commonly associated finds include copper or bronze daggers and ornaments, flint arrowheads, stone wristguards, and stone battle-axes. In many northern and western areas its users were the first to start copper metallurgy. The widespread distribution of beaker finds has led to the frequent identification of a Beaker people and speculations about their origins.
bean
CATEGORY: flora
DEFINITION: The seed or pod of certain leguminous plants of the family Fabaceae and important to man since the beginning of food production. Most modern beans are of the genus Phaseolus, different species of which occur wild in two hemispheres. Their cultivation commenced at an early date in both. These species all originated in Mexico and South America, spreading to the Old World after Columbus. The earliest finds of cultivated Phaseolus beans are from 6th millennium BC Peru and Mexico. Vicia faba, the ancestor of the broad bean, was confined to the Old World, and was already being grown in the Neolithic Near East. Later in the Neolithic, the species appeared in Spain, Portugal, and eastern Europe. During the Bronze Age, the field bean grew in southern and central Europe, and by the Iron Age it reached Britain.
bear
CATEGORY: fauna
DEFINITION: A large carnivore of the family Ursidae, closely related to the dog (family Canidae) and raccoon (Procyonidae). The bear is the most recently evolved of carnivores and it appears to have diverged from the dog family during the Miocene. It evolved through such forms as the Pliocene Hyaenarctos (of Europe, Asia, and North America), into modern types such as the black and brown bear (Ursus). Today's bears are of three groups: the brown bears, the black bears, and the polar bear. Occasional finds of fossil polar bear bones outside the Arctic Circle are presumably related to the presence of pack ice and ice shelves at the edges of ice sheets during glaciations. Brown bears existed in Europe and Asia during the late Quaternary period. One very large variant evolved in Europe, the 'Cave Bear', whose fossils are quite common in Quaternary cave deposits.
bearings
CATEGORY: measure
DEFINITION: A direction or relative position; a horizontal direction expressed in degrees east or west of a true or magnetic north or south direction.
beater
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: In music, a wooden or metal object used to provide a rhythm by striking another object; otherwise, A general tool used to beat objects with.
beating
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: hammer-and-anvil technique, paddling
CATEGORY: ceramics
DEFINITION: A technique to thin and even out the walls of coil- or slab-built vessels after they have partially hardened to leather hardness to improve the bonding between coils or add surface texture. One holds an anvil or fist inside the vessel while the outside is struck repeatedly with a paddle which can be wrapped with cord or fabric to add texture to the vessel surface.
bec
CATEGORY: lithics
DEFINITION: A Palaeolithic flake boring tool that was retouched on one edge to form a point.
bed
CATEGORY: geology
DEFINITION: The smallest division of sediment or rock of a stratigraphic series, greater than 1 cm thick. It is distinguished from overlying and underlying beds by well-defined divisional or bedding planes.
bedding trench
CATEGORY: feature
DEFINITION: A trench or slot dug into the ground to receive the foundations of walls or into which timber is laid so wall posts can be inserted securely.
bedrock feature
CATEGORY: feature
DEFINITION: A feature constructed into bedrock that does not fit any other feature type.
bedrock mortar
CATEGORY: feature
DEFINITION: A deep basin set in granite or other large rock outcroppings, formed by the grinding or crushing of foods with stone. A flat or shallow surface of this same type is called a bedrock grinding slick.
beehive quern
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Type of rotary quern common in Roman times which had an extremely thick dome-shaped upper stone with a slightly flared base; some authorities believe such querns have a phallic symbolism
beehive tomb
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: tholos
CATEGORY: structure
DEFINITION: An architectural structure of the Mycenaean civilization, a pointed dome built up of overhanging (corbeled) blocks of conglomerate masonry cut and polished, often with an alley or approach and a great door. The rich or noble of the Bronze Age were buried in these sometimes enormous, perfectly proportioned vaults though they were built in the Shaft Grave Period as well, perhaps first in Messenia in the 16th century and then in Greece by the middle of the 15th century. The tholos tomb has three parts: a narrow entranceway, or dromos, often lined with fieldstones and later with cut stones; a deep doorway, or stomion, covered over with one to three lintel blocks; and a circular chamber with a high vaulted or corbeled roof, the thalamos. Most tholos tombs have collapsed, often when the lintel cracked and gave way, and their contents have largely been looted
beetle
CATEGORY: fauna
DEFINITION: Any member of the insect order Coleoptera, with at least 250,000 species (the largest order in the animal kingdom), characterized by their special forewings, which are modified into hardened wing covers (elytra) that cover a second pair of functional wings. The order includes some of the largest and smallest insects and is the most widely distributed insect order. Beetles can be found in all environments except Antarctica and the peaks of the highest mountains. Most feed either upon other animals or upon plants, but some eat decaying matter. Many beetles are very dependent on particular features of their environment; some, for example, live only in the bark of a particular tree. It is this particularity that makes beetles useful for reconstructing ancient environments. Parts of the tough beetle exo-skeleton may be well-preserved in acidic or waterlogged conditions (as in peats silts and lake clays). The temperature preferences of beetles may be determined from the fossils making it possible to reconstruct climatic changes. Beetles can also be used to investigate changes in vegetation living conditions and food-storage problems.
behavioral archaeology
CATEGORY: branch
DEFINITION: The study of the relationship between material culture and human behavior and the impact of humans and nature on material culture by interpreting its original use.
behavioral processes
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: Human activities, including acquisition, manufacture, use, and deposition behavior, that produce tangible archaeological remains.
behaviorally modern human
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: BMH
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: The group of humans who had the capabilities and showed the range of behavior of modern humans, including the ability to use symbolic behavior.
behaviorist theory
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: Any theory that suggests that the archaeological record is really a snapshot of ancient behavior.
bell
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: The earliest bell founding (i.e., the casting of bells from molten metal) is associated with the Bronze Age. The ancient Chinese were superb founders, their craft reaching an apex during the Chou dynasty (c 1122-221 BC). Characteristic were elliptical temple bells with exquisite symbolic decorations cast onto their surfaces by the cire perdue, or lost wax, process. Bells had an important ceremonial role in ancient China during the Chou Dynasty. The earliest Chinese bells, of Shang Dynasty (c 1600-1123 BC), were mounted mouth upwards and struck. Later bells hung mouth downwards.
bell glass
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A bell-shaped glass cover used, especially formerly, as a cloche
bell-shaped cist
CATEGORY: feature
DEFINITION: A large pit whose greatest diameter is substantially larger than the diameter of its opening. A storage function is implied.
bellarmine
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A capacious round-bellied jug or pitcher bearing a grotesque human mask. Originally created in the Netherlands as a burlesque likeness of Cardinal Bellarmine, the idea spread widely and the term later became applied to any jug bearing a human mask.
bellows
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: An object used to create a blast of air.
belt
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A strip of leather or other material worn round the waist to support or hold in clothes or to carry weapons
belt hook
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: toggle
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Small decorative and functional objects used as garment hooks in China, Korea, and other Near Eastern areas as early as the 7th century BC. Belt hooks have been found in Han tombs in southwestern China, but this luxury item was most in vogue during the Warring States period (5th-3rd centuries BC). These belt hooks were inlaid with gold or silver foil, polished fragments of turquoise, or more rarely with jade or glass; sometimes they were gilded. Most examples are bronze, often lavishly decorated with inlays, but some are made of jade, gold, or iron. The belt hook consists of a bar or flat strip curving into a hook at one end and carrying at the other end, on the back, a button for securing it to the belt. The hooks vary widely in size, shape, and design, and although contemporary sculptures sometimes show them at the waists of human figures, some examples are far too large to have been worn and their function is unclear. Textual evidence hints that the belt hook was adopted by the Chinese from the mounted nomads of the northern frontier of inner Asia, perhaps along with other articles of the horseman's costume. They were probably worn by both men and women.
benben stone
CATEGORY: lithics
DEFINITION: A cult object made of stone, found at sites such as for the sun god Re at Heliopolis. The sacred stone symbolized the Primeval Mound and perhaps also the petrified semen of the deity. It served as the earliest prototype for the obelisk and possibly even the pyramid. It was probably constructed in the early Old Kingdom, c 2600 BC.
bench
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: wave-cut platform
CATEGORY: geography; geology
DEFINITION: An eroded terrace with an alluvial cut surface, on bedrock in a valley. The term also refers to an eroded landform with a wave-cut surface in coastal areas and in wave-swept sea cliffs (also called wave-cut platform).
bench surface
CATEGORY: feature
DEFINITION: The surface of a wide ledge in a pit structure or kiva that usually extends around at least three-fourths of the circumference of the structure and is often divided by pilasters.
benchmark
CATEGORY: measure
DEFINITION: A reasonably permanent, fixed point of reference, especially a point of known position and elevation used in mapping.
bending
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A detached piece produced by cracks initiated away from the point of applied force. These flakes usually have a pronounced lip, contracting lateral margins immediately below the striking platform, and no bulb of force.
bentonites
CATEGORY: geology
DEFINITION: A clay formed by the decomposition of volcanic ash, having the ability to absorb large quantities of water and to expand to several times its normal volume.
berm
CATEGORY: feature
DEFINITION: The flat ground or space between the vallum (ditch) and the fort (walls) surrounding the central mound of a barrow. An example is the stone part of Hadrian's Wall where the berm was about 20 ft wide; it was less wide at the turf wall.
beta-ray backscattering
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: A non-destructive physical method of chemical analysis which, though limited in its application, has been used successfully to determine the lead content of glass and glaze. A specimen is subjected to a beam of electrons from a weak radioactive beta source and some electrons are absorbed while others are backscattered from the surface of the sample and can be counted with a Geiger counter. The percentage of electrons backscattered depends on the atomic number of the elements making up the surface layer of the artifact. Therefore if an element with a high atomic number is known to be present (e.g. lead) an estimate can be made of its concentration. The equipment cannot distinguish between high concentration of elements with medium atomic numbers and low concentrations of elements with high atomic numbers. The equipment cannot sense very small amounts of an element. Factors such as the thickness of a glaze affect the amount of backscattering. The technique carries advantages in its cheapness and portability of the equipment and is considered a useful technique for analyzing material like glass.
betel nut
CATEGORY: flora
DEFINITION: The nut or fruit of the Areca Palm, which is chewed in tropical Asia, Melanesia, and New Guinea as a stimulant. It was misnamed by Europeans because it is chewed with the betal leaf; hence, betel palm is the Areca Palm from which the nut is obtained. Archaeological occurrences include Spirit Cave (c 10,000-7,000 BC), eastern Timor (early Holocene), and several sites in the Philippines, where teeth stained by the nut have been found from c 3000 BC.
betyl
CATEGORY: lithics
DEFINITION: A sacred stone, often a standing stone fashioned into a conical shape.
bevel
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: beveled (adj.)
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A surface or edge which slopes away from a horizontal or vertical surface; the angle or inclination of a line or surface that meets another at any angle but 90?
beveled-rim bowl
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: beveled rim bowl
CATEGORY: ceramics
DEFINITION: A widespread, crudely made conical pottery vessel formed in a mold and having a sloped rim, characteristic of the Late Uruk period.
biface bevel
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A bevel which was formed by removing flakes from both faces of an edge.
biface bevel flaking
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: This flaking technique involved the removal of elongate, steep, pressure or percussion flakes just opposite each other from an edge to form a biface bevel and often biface serrations.
bilaterally barbed
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A projectile point or harpoon with barbs on both edges
bonebed
CATEGORY: feature
DEFINITION: A place on a site with the remains of a large number of animals, often of the same species and representing a single moment in time, as with a mass killing or mass death
butt beaker
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A tall beaker shaped like a butt or barrel and having a small, everted rim. The body is usually decorated with cordons, rouletting, latticing, etc. Mid 1st century BC through to 1st century AD in date. Some were made in Gallo-Belgicia, others were locally made in Britain.
catalog number
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: The unique number assigned to each individual item (or group of items) in an archaeological collection
cave bear
CATEGORY: fauna
DEFINITION: An extinct species of bear that lived 300,000-10,000 years ago in Europe and the Mediterranean. They could be up to 8 feet long and about twice the weight of modern European brown bears. They were vegetarian.
chamber pot
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A bowl kept in a bedroom and used as a toilet
chamber tomb
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: chambered tomb
CATEGORY: structure
DEFINITION: A prehistoric tomb, often megalithic in construction, that contained a large burial chamber. Such a vault was usually used for successive burials over a long period of time. The term is also used for a rock-cut tomb, especially the shaft-and-chamber tomb, with a similar burial rite. Chamber tombs were built in many parts of the world and at many different times. The European varieties were called court cairn, dolmen, entrance grave, gallery grave, giants' grave, hunebed, passage grave, portal dolmen, tholos, transepted gallery grave, and wedge-shaped gallery grave. Many were rectangular chambers cut into the side of a hill and approached by a long entrance passage (dromos), especially in the Aegean.
chamberstick
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A single candle holder with a curved handle coming from the base
claw beaker
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: elephant's trunk beaker, Rüsselbecher
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Elaborate glass beakers dating from c 500 AD onward in Early Saxon graves and Frankish burials. Also called Rüsselbecher, the beakers have two superimposed rows of hollow, trunklike protrusions curving down to rejoin the wall of the vessel above a small button foot. In form they are similar to free-standing conical beakers, but they are embellished by a series of unusual clawlike protrusions. In many cases the glass is tinted brown, blue, or yellow. The beakers were probably made in Cologne or Trier, Germany.
combed ornament
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: combed ware
CATEGORY: ceramics
DEFINITION: Any pottery decorated by drawing a toothed instrument across the surface of the soft clay or colored slip. The pottery was often decorated by the application of two or more different-colored slips that was either brushed or combed to produce the effect of marbled paper, a broad band of parallel incisions, often wavy.
cone beaker
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Type of Anglo-Saxon glass drinking vessel made in the form of an elongated cone. Mainly 5th to 7th century AD.
corbel vault
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: corbelled vault
CATEGORY: structure
DEFINITION: In architecture, a simple form of vault in which the stones are overlapped on each other and topped with a capstone. As distinguished from the true arch, it has no keystone and is not self-supporting; the thrust must be take up by massive walls. The corbel vault is therefore suitable for spanning only limited spaces. In the Mayan style, corbel vaults can support a roof or upper story. Corbel vaults and arches were useful in cultures that had not yet developed curving arches and other ceiling structures.
corbelling
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: corbeling; corbeled roof
CATEGORY: structure
DEFINITION: A technique of roofing in stone-built chambers whereby successive courses of bricks or slabs are allowed to project a little further inwards than the course below until a curved or domed ceiling is achieved. The Maya used this method to create a corbelled 'false' arch, or vault with the earliest expressions in Late Chicanel tombs at Tikal and Altar de Sacrificios. The technique was also used within the megalithic tradition in Europe in some of the passage graves, such as New Grange and Maes Howe, and in the tholos tombs of the Mycenaean world. Babylonian architecture made wide use of corbel arches.
cross-bed
CATEGORY: geology
DEFINITION: A sedimentary structure with fine strata (laminae) within a bed which are inclined relative to the bounding beds. Orientation of cross-bedding can be used to reconstruct past depositional environments that may have related archaeological deposits.
cruciform chamber
CATEGORY: structure
DEFINITION: A megalithic tomb, characteristic of the passage-tomb tradition in Ireland, in which a passage, a chamber, and three apses form a cross-shaped structure.
dabber
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A tool used in etching to distribute the etching ground over a plate of metal in the first process of engraving and, in printing from copper plate engraving and woodcuts, to spread the ink.
drinking tube
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A length of hollow bird-bone used in aboriginal ceremonial situations for drinking liquids
el-Bersheh
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A rock-cut tomb site of Egypt's Middle Kingdom.
electron probe microanalysis
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: electron probe microanalyzer
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: A physical method of chemical analysis which can determine the constituent elements in metal, stone, glass, pigments/stains, and pottery/ceramics. The technique is slightly destructive, requiring the removal of a small sample from the artifact. An electron beam is used to excite the atomic electrons and the result is the emission of secondary X-rays with characteristic wavelengths for the elements concerned. The beam can be focused on to a very small area of the specimen, and can be moved around to sample different points: thus the method is particularly useful for the study of surface enrichment in metals and of pigments. It can be used with samples as small as 10 -11 cubic centimeter and is similar to XRF (X-ray fluorescence spectrometry).
engobe
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: slip
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A slip coating applied to a ceramic body before glazing to impart a desired color or smooth texture to the surface
estimated number of individuals
CATEGORY: measure
DEFINITION: A measure of the actual number of individuals in an unobserved population, often based on two small samples or on paired elements in fragmentary evidence.
etched carnelian bead
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Beads with an etched decoration created with heat after a design in an alkali or metallic oxide paste has been painted. It was developed by the late Harappan period in south Asia and continues to be used.
fiber-tempered pottery
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: fiber tempering
CATEGORY: ceramics
DEFINITION: Any clay pottery to which grass or root fibers have been added as a tempering material. This ware is the earliest pottery in Caribbean South America and is the oldest pottery in the United States, making its appearance in Archaic shell mounds in Georgia and Florida before 2500 BC.
find number
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A number assigned to any object found in stratified contexts, indicating the unit of stratification in which they were found.
fossil beach
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: raised beach
CATEGORY: geology; geography
DEFINITION: A former beach, now situated above sea or lake level. Vertical displacement may be caused by isostatic crust changes or eustatic sea-level fluctuations.
girth beaker
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A vertical-sided beaker, with horizontal bands of corrugations, cordons, or latticing. Of mid 1st century AD date. Some were Gallo-Belgic and others locally made in Britain. BUTT BEAKER.
grubenhaüser
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Grubenhauser
CATEGORY: structure
DEFINITION: Characteristic 'sunken' huts of the Germanic peoples during the Migration Period and up to c 1000, so-called for their sunken floors. They were usually rectangular and had a superstructure supported on 2, 4, or 6 posts. The sunken hut was usually roofed by a lean-to structure supported by one or three posts at either end and a simple ridge post creating a tent-like structure. It seems that many of these buildings had floors, with the sunken area being a kind of shallow cellar. Grubenhaüser have been found in the Low Countries, Britain, France, often alongside rectangular buildings and farmhouses. These sunken huts apparently date back to the Roman period in North Germany and Frisia. Dienne-sur-Meine in France has many post-Carolingian examples of Grubenhaüser. In England , the first sunken huts were probably employed as short-term dwellings by the migrants. It was a significant type of building distinguishing early medieval settlements in western Europe.
halberd
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A weapon with a pointed or V-shaped blade mounted at right angles to its haft (handle), yet with its flat surface in the same plane as the shaft, and used with a chopping motion. In bronze it was popular in the European Early Bronze Age (mainly in Ireland and central Europe) and appears again in the Chinese Bronze Age.
halberd pendant
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Small hanging ornament of metal or stone modeled in the shape of a halberd blade.
half-timbered
CATEGORY: structure
DEFINITION: Constructed of wood framing with spaces filled with masonry, or by stone, rubble, or mud brick.
hunebed
CATEGORY: structure
DEFINITION: The Dutch name (literally 'Hun's grave') for a local variety of megalithic chamber tombs in the northern Netherlands and northern Germany. The tombs are built of large stones and consist of a round or oval mound surrounded by a kerb and covering a rectangular burial chamber with its entrance on one of the long sides. A few examples have an entrance passage, giving them a T plan which suggests an association with the passage graves of Denmark. The Danish tombs are slightly later than the oldest Dutch ones, but in both places they were built by the TRB culture during the Neolithic in the 4th and 3rd millennia BC.
ibex
CATEGORY: fauna
DEFINITION: A sturdy wild goat of the mountains of Europe, Asia, and northeast Africa with large, recurved horns and a beard. They were often depicted by Upper Paleolithic artists.
inscribed
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Term used to describe marks or lines forming a design, motif, image, or pattern of some kind that can been cut into stone, metal, bone, wood, ceramic, or other fairly soft material.
jujube
CATEGORY: flora
DEFINITION: A small edible one-seeded fruit from an Asian tree of the buckthorn family.
knobbed
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: In lithics, A stem form having a rounded lump or protruding appearance.
livre de beurre
CATEGORY: lithics
DEFINITION: Distinctive blade cores of Grand Pressigny (France) flint which are yellow and resemble slabs of butter.
lobbed
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A term used to describe the base portion of a point or blade that is eared. The ears are rounded and are formed by the meeting of two circles creating a lobbed effect. An object with a oval shaped base or stem.
lot number
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: The number assigned to an archaeological collection that identifies an aspect of context within a collection; part of the catalog number.
melon bead
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Type of Roman glass bead made in the shape of a melon.
minimum number of elements
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: MNE
CATEGORY: measure
DEFINITION: The least number of whole bones or their diagnostic parts that can account for a sample of bone fragments.
minimum number of individuals
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: MNI
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: The minimum number of individuals represented in a given faunal or human bone collection; determined from the number in the largest category of skeletal elements recovered. It is a method of assessing species abundance in faunal assemblages based on a calculation of the smallest number of animals necessary to account for all the identified bones. It is usually calculated from the most abundant bone or tooth from either the left or right side of the animal.
motto beaker
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A beaker made in Gaul or the Rhineland decorated with white-painted scrolls and words forming phrases such as: da mihi vinum (give me wine); valete or vivas (good health); nolite sitire (thirst not); and bibe (drink up).
mummy label
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Greek tabla
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A type of identification tag used during the Greco-Roman period, when corpses were regularly being transported from the home to the cemetery or back to their village. The tags were made of wood and, occasionally, stone. Mummy labels were inscribed with short ink texts in Greek or demotic, giving name, age, hometown, and destination of the deceased.
number of identified specimens
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: NISP
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: A gross counting technique used in the quantification of animal bones. The method may produce misleading results in assessing the relative abundance of different species, since skeletal differences and differential rates of bone preservation mean that some species will be represented more than others. It is a largely outdated measure of sample size in archaeological fauna.
obelisk
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Egyptian tekhen; needle
CATEGORY: artifact; structure
DEFINITION: Ancient Egyptian monolithic monument, consisting of a stone pillar with tapering square section and a pyramid top (pyramidion; Egyptian benbenet). They were erected for religious or monumental purposes and frequently bear carved inscriptions in hieroglyphs. Old Kingdom examples were squat and closely related to the pyramids, both being solar symbols. They were set up in pairs outside the entrances to some Old Kingdom tombs, and outside temples; a single obelisk in east Karnak was the object of a cult. Later ones, such as Cleopatra's Needle, one of a pair erected by Thothmes III at Heliopolis, were much more slender. They were derived ultimately from the ancient benben stone in the temple of the sun-god at Heliopolis. This stone was believed to be that on which the rays of the rising sun first fell, sacred at least by 1st Dynasty (3100-2890 BC). Obelisks were usually cut from hard stone, particularly red granite from Aswan. The largest surviving examples (30 m high, 450 tons) were products of the New Kingdom. The earliest surviving obelisk dates from the reign of Sesostris I (1918-1875 BC) and stands at Heliopolis, where once stood a temple to Re.
pan bedding
CATEGORY: structure
DEFINITION: An Egyptian construction technique, usually in mud-brick, consisting of curved courses. It is most often seen in temple enclosure walls from the Late Period (747-332 BC) onwards, which are usually built in sections and with a pronounced batter.
parrot beak jug
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Type of glazed ceramic jug found in Britain and northern Europe in the 14th and 15th centuries AD, distinctive in having a rather stylized polychrome image of a large-beaked bird on the side.
pedestal beaker
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Type of drinking cup with a distinct base section or foot forming an integral part of the lower body; some are Gallo-Belgic, others are locally made in Britain.
pin beater
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A thin rod of wood or bone (occasionally stone) with tapering ends used to compact the weft threads on an upright loom by pushing down between each of the warp threads one at a time. See also WEAVING COMB.
plow beam
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: plough beam
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: The wooden or metal bar that connects the blades, shares, and their mountings to the yoke, which in turn is attached to the harnesses fitted to the draught animals that provide the power. The plough beam has to be strong enough to transmit the power from the traction through to the blades and share cutting through the ground, but long enough for the draught animals not to be snagged by the plowing mechanism itself.
poppy head beaker
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A beaker shaped like the seed-head of a poppy plant in a grey or black fabric with a polished surface. It has an everted rim and the body is often decorated with panels of dots in barbotine, or with rouletting. The largest sizes could be classified as jars.
prayer bead
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A bead or group of beads used in prayer.
primary beam
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: vigas
CATEGORY: structure
DEFINITION: Main roof support beam that spans the length or width of a structure and support the remainder of the roof.
probe
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: soil probe
CATEGORY: tool
DEFINITION: A tool consisting of a metal rod or tube pushed into unexcavated deposits to locate as yet unexposed hard features such as walls, floors, or bed rock. It is also used for exploring subsurface stratigraphy and is less expensive than a core but works down only a few meters.
protruding foot beaker
CATEGORY: artifact; culture
DEFINITION: The typical vessel of the Late Neolithic in the Netherlands with radiocarbon dates from c 3200-2400 BC. The basic form has a splayed neck, S-shaped profile, and flat everted base. It has cord ornament, dentate spatula impressions, or herringbone incisions. The vessel also defines the culture, which had burial in either a single flat grave or a pit under a barrow, and used the battle-ax. The culture represents the Dutch branch of the widespread corded ware-battle-ax complex, or single-grave cultures. In the Netherlands, there is some hybridization between the Protruding Foot Beaker culture and the Bell Beaker.
psephoperibombetrios
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: In Greek antiquity, a type of drinking cup with a hollow rim into which pellets were inserted. When it was shaken, it may have attracted attention for more wine or was used to accompany the symposium's music. There are 4th century BC kantharoi examples.
quoit bead
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: quoit-shaped bead
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Doughnut-shaped type of early Bronze Age faience bead.
raised beach
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: fossil beach
CATEGORY: geography
DEFINITION: An ancient or previous shoreline from a period when the land level was lower than it is today in relation to the sea level. This geological feature is produced by changing sea-levels through time and though it may now be some distance from the sea, a raised beach shows where the original coastline was. Changes in relative heights of land and sea can often be correlated with fluctuations in the Pleistocene climate.
robber trench
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: ghost wall
CATEGORY: feature
DEFINITION: A term used to describe a feature created by the robbing of its original filling material. In areas where stone or other building materials are scarce, or where a new structure is being built near one which is out of use, a monument's building materials may be plundered. The trench left is usually backfilled by the laborers who have 'robbed' out a wall either completely or of its facing stone. The trenches where the walls once stood and where the stone has been removed are called robber trenches or ghost walls. Archaeologists should be able to reconstruct a plan of the original structure from careful examination and recording of the robber trenches.
saber
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: sabre
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A curved sword designed to cut with used by cavalry.
scriber
CATEGORY: geology; artifact
DEFINITION: A sharp-pointed metalworking tool used for outlining designs on metalwork prior to chasing, engraving, or repoussé work. Occasionally traces of this preliminary work can be seen where subsequent tooling has not completely obliterated it.
secondary beams
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: latillas
CATEGORY: structure
DEFINITION: Roof construction beams that rest on the primary beams and span the distances between the primary beams or between the primary beams and the walls of the structure.
seed beater
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: An instrument usually made of wood or reeds that is formed into a racketlike shape and used to strike seeds from bushes.
shaft-and-chamber tomb
CATEGORY: structure
DEFINITION: A tomb in which the burials are laid in a side chamber opening from the bottom of a pit.
sleeper beam
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: sill-beam; cill-beam; ground-sill
CATEGORY: structure
DEFINITION: A large horizontal timber into which uprights are socketed to construct the frame of a building. In early timber-framed buildings (Roman, Saxon and medieval), the framing was often erected not on a wall foundation but directly on a horizontal beam resting on or slightly recessed into the ground. Though rarely surviving, its wood will often leave a dark stain in the ground detectable by careful excavation.
status, ascribed
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: The social rights and duties attributed to an individual at birth, regardless of ability or achievement. An individual would be born into a particular class or family to have ascribed status.
steep bevel
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A bevel of a blade edge or stem edge which was flaked at a steep (> 40 degree) angle to the plane of the face
taberna
CATEGORY: structure
DEFINITION: Roman term for a room opening on to a street or on to a portico or stoa, used as a workshop or shop.
timber lacing
CATEGORY: structure
DEFINITION: A technique for strengthening a stone or earthen rampart by means of a timber framework. Timber lacing was used in the second city at Troy, and for various Minoan and Mycenaean buildings. In Europe, it was used for defense works from the 10th century BC and also at many of the Iron Age hillfort sites in the Hallstatt and La Tène periods. Timber was occasionally used as a lacing for brickwork, particularly in large-scale work such as the defenses or the granary at Mohenjo-daro.
timber-slot
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: timber slot
CATEGORY: feature
DEFINITION: A trench dug to contain a horizontal beam.
tribe
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: An egalitarian society generally comprised of a centrally organized group of bands. Its kinship is more complex than that of the band, and its economy is often agricultural rather than foraging, though they also include nomadic pastoral groups whose economy is based on exploitation of livestock. Individual communities tend to be integrated into the larger society through kinship ties. Political dominance gained through achieved leadership. Tribes may be aggregated into higher-order clusters, called nations.
tuber
CATEGORY: flora
DEFINITION: A fleshy underground stem or root serving for reproductive and food storage.
unbeveled
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: An edge which was not steeply flaked into a bevel.
uniface bevel
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A bevel which was formed by removing seep flakes from just one face of an edge. The opposing face may have a few flat flake scars of the primary flaking of scattered retouch flake scars.
wabet
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: In ancient Egypt, the place where part of purification or mummification rites took place.
wooden-chamber
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Large wooden coffins which is an important form of burial chamber from late Neolithic times in China. A log or board enclosure contained nested wooden coffins and grave goods placed on display ledges within them. Wooden-chambers diffused to Korea and Japan in the early centuries AD.

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