SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: ADT CATEGORY: database design DEFINITION: A class of data that does not conform to alphanumeric, numeric, Boolean, text, or string types; includes time and date fields as well as special data types for ordinal time, statistical dates, stratigraphic order, and spatial context.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: archeological data CATEGORY: term; technique DEFINITION: Material collected and recorded as significant evidence by an archaeologist. Archaeological data falls into four classes: artifacts, ecofacts, features, and structures.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: sing. Datum CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: Relevant observations made on artifacts, serving as the basis for study and discussion. Factual information (as measurements or statistics) used as a basis for reasoning, discussion, or calculation.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: Archaeological data found in association and in primary context and used to define areas and kinds of ancient activity. Such information may be divided into composite, differentiated, and simple data clusters.
CATEGORY: database design DEFINITION: Documentation of all the files, fields, relations, and processes used in a database.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: The archaeological evidence available within a given data universe, conditioned by both behavioral and transformational processes.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A stage in archaeological research design usually involving, in the case of artifacts, cleaning, conserving, labeling, inventorying, and cataloging.
CATEGORY: database design DEFINITION: A logical model of an information system depicting its entities, processes, and flow of data between processes.
CATEGORY: database design DEFINITION: A compilation or storage system for information that is used for decision-making, inferences, interpretation, and testing hypotheses.
differentiated data cluster
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A method of clustering data that are heterogeneous and patterned in regard to two or more activities reflective of age or sex differences; e.g., a house floor with cooking utensils and hunting weapons in primary context.
CATEGORY: database design DEFINITION: A set of data records stored in a single large table.
CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: Any data that has categories that are ordered and have a constant interval between each category.
CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: Unclustered physical remains produced by human activities; evidence from a range of information, including scatters of artifacts and features such as plowmarks and field boundaries. This data can provide important evidence about human exploitation of the environment.
Phase III data recovery
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Phase III CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: An excavation of an historic or archaeological site listed or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places prior to its demolition for new construction.
CATEGORY: database design DEFINITION: A structured system of data files organized by controlled redundancy (key attributes and attribute pointers).
sample data acquisition
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: Investigation of only a portion of the sample units in a population, by either probabilistic or nonprobabilistic sampling.
simple data cluster
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: Clustered data that are homogeneous in that they have a single function, such as those from an obsidiantool workshop.
total data acquisition
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: The investigation of all sample units in a population.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: AMS technique; AMS radiocarbon dating CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A relatively new method of radiocarbon dating in which the proportion of carbon isotopes is counted directly (as contrasted with the indirect Geiger counter method) using an accelerator mass spectrometer. The method drastically reduces the quantity of datable material required.
CATEGORY: feature DEFINITION: A place where a specific ancient activity was located or carried out, such as food preparation or stone toolmaking. The place usually corresponded to one or more features and associated artifacts and ecofacts. In American archaeology, the term describes the smallest observable component of a settlement site. See data cluster.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: analytical archaeology CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A stage in archaeological research design that involves isolating, describing, and structuring data, usually by typological classification, along with chronological, functional, technological, and constituent determinations. The research involves artifactual and nonartifactual data. The method evolved from the tendency to formalize the archaeologicalprocess, especially through the work of LR Binford, DL Clarke, and JC Gardin. Computer science and mathematics are used to elaborate the means for transforming simple descriptions of archaeologicaldata into cultural, economic, and social reconstructions of earlier societies. This type of research is attempts to provide archaeology with a theoretical framework based on scientific method.
CATEGORY: branch DEFINITION: The use of data and information from the four core subfields of anthropology to provide practical solutions to problems in society.
arbitrary sample unit
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: antonym: nonarbitrary sample unit CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A subdivision of data within a defined area of excavation, such as a sample unit that is defined by a site grid, which has no specific cultural relevance.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: archeological chemistry CATEGORY: branch DEFINITION: The application of chemical theories, processes, and experimental procedures to obtaining archaeological data and to solutions of problems in archaeology. This field includes laboratory analysis of artifacts and materials found in archaeological context.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: archaeometry, archeometry CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: Relating or referring to the use of scientific techniques from fields such as chemistry, geology, physics, and other sciences for the analysis of archaeological data.
CATEGORY: typology DEFINITION: In systematics, a procedure that orders data into units. Classification and grouping create arrangements.
CATEGORY: database design DEFINITION: In relational databases, a field in a many" file that makes a relation with the key attribute of a "one" file. "Site number" could be an attribute pointer in an artifact cataloguing file and refer to the key attribute "Site number" in another file "Sites" with a unique record for each site."
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A statistical method of representing numerical data in a diagram by rectangles of equal width but of varying height or length, drawn side-by-side along an axis. An assemblage of different types of flinttool can be represented with bars on the horizontal scale, and the actual numbers or percentage of the total of each type recorded on a vertical scale. The bar chart gives an immediate visual representation of the components of the assemblage. A bar chart differs from a histogram, the latter representing different measurements of the same attribute and therefore the horizontal scale is not arbitrary but ordered.
CATEGORY: measure DEFINITION: A probability approach that compares the uncertainty of any parameter before and after observing new data. Bayes' theorem provides the basis for combining the prior information with the data to result in a posterior statement, which also has a probability function.
CATEGORY: measure DEFINITION: A type of graph used in Exploratory Data Analysis that displays the median and inter-quartile range in a box, with points to represent all the observations falling in the upper and lower quartiles.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: calibrated dates CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A method used to obtain the most accurate dating, especially with radiocarbon dating. The term refers to the adjustment of dates in radiocarbon years by means of the dendrochronological data so that a date in calendar years is achieved. Fluctuations in the amount of carbon 14 in the atmosphere mean that radiocarbon dating is not completely accurate. By obtaining radiocarbon dates for wood of known dendrochronological date, a correction factor can be introduced to calibrate radiocarbon dates. Uncalibrated dates are raw dates in radiocarbon years. Accurate calibration of radiocarbon dates are not possible before 6285 BC.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: catalogue CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: An inventory of archaeological data in which an artifact is labeled with a reference number and described in detail. The catalog number is the unique number assigned to each individual item -- or group of items -- in an archaeological collection.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: An inventory of archaeological data in which an artifact is labeled with a reference number and described in detail. The catalog number is the unique number assigned to each individual item -- or group of items -- in an archaeological collection.
Cayla de Mailhac
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A site in southwestern France with a settlement and a series of cemeteries of Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age c 700-100 BC. Occupation began with an urnfieldculture. Iron became common in a second phase and a cartburial from La Redorte shows similarities to the Hallstatt Iron Age cultures. Phase III is dated to the second half of the 6th century BC by imports of Greek black figure ware and Etruscan pottery. The settlement of Phase IV was enclosed by a rampart and had houses of sun-dried brick. Datable material included Greek red figure pottery and fibula brooches of Hallstatt/early La Tène types. The last phase was of the La Tène culture.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: Any of various techniques used to study artifacts made from fired clay to obtain archaeological data. Color is objectively described by reference to the Munsell soil color charts. Examination under the microscope may reveal the technique of manufacture and allow the identification of mineral grains in the tempering, which will identify the area of manufacture. Refiring experiments often show how the original baking was done.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A statistical test that is used to measure the significant differences between sets of observed values and those which would be expected and determine whether the deviation from what was expected is more than random chance would suggest. It can be used for many different archaeological observations, such as examining the existence of an association between settlementdistribution and distinct ecological zones in a region, or between different fabrics and decorative styles in pottery production. From the data, the number expected in each zone on a random distribution can be calculated by proportion, and the deviation between expectation and observation measured. It is then possible to assess whether the observed data could have arisen by chance, or whether some other factor is affecting it. Karl Pearson developed the test.
CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: A phase of the Lowland Maya Pre-Classic, the Late Formativeculture of Petén, dating from 300 BC to 150 AD. It was characterized by architectural and ceramic traits which convey the rise of the Classic Mayacivilization: temple-pyramids, corbelled arches, and painted murals. Their sites are quite uniform and there was a variety of ceramic forms. Chicanelpottery includes dishes with wide, grooved rims, bowls, and vessels resembling ice buckets. Figurines are absent. Temple platforms (e.g. Uaxactún) were built by facing a cemented-rubble core with thick layers of plaster. At Tikal, a huge Maya ceremonial center, the Acropolis was begun in Chicanel times, and white-stuccoed platforms and stairways with polychromed masks were much like Uaxactún. There is also a huge site, El Mirador, in the northern part of Petén. The El Mirador construction dwarfs even that of Tikal, although El Mirador only flourished through the Chicanelphase. Chicanel-like civilization is also known in Yucatán, where some temple pyramids of enormous size are datable to the Late Formative. Another important site is the cave of Loltún in Yucatán.
CATEGORY: geography DEFINITION: SA statistical map that uses distinctive colors or shading to represent data, such as numbers or ratios of artifacts. It shows spatial qualities and variations in the data as well as the overall spatial pattern.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: The ordering of archaeological data that share certain attributes or characteristics into groups and classes; the divisions arrived at by such a process. Classification is the first step in the analysis of archaeological data -- when particles or objects are sorted or categorized by established criteria, such as size, function, material, or color.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: Any excavation designed primarily to reveal the horizontal and, by inference, functional dimensions of an archaeological site -- such as the extent, distribution, and patterning of buried data.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Climate: Long-range Interpretation, Mapping, and Prediction CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: One of two projects (including COHMAP) which are aimed at producing paleoclimatic maps showing sea-surface temperatures in different parts of the globe at various periods: CLIMAP stands for Climate: Long-range Interpretation, Mapping, and Prediction and COHMAP is the Cooperative Holocene Mapping Project. CLIMAP was an attempt to specify in detail the condition of the Earth's surface, most notably the oceans, at the climax of the Wisconsin glaciation 18,000 years ago. It also included a series of mathematical modeling exercises aimed at defining the atmospheric circulation present at that time. Evidence for the most recent 18,000 years of Earth history is more diverse than that available for earlier epochs. Paleolimnological and paleoecological data (lake sediments and peat deposits, interpreted chiefly for their pollen contents) has resulted in remarkable advances in climatic knowledge. COHMAP was a later exercise designed to unravel the history of deglaciation of North America and Eurasia, the recolonization of the northern land surfaces by plants and animals, and the equivalent changes in the tropics and the Southern Hemisphere.
CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: A group of stylistically and chronologically similar artifacts for which adequate excavationdata does not exist to allow for the classification as a phase.
CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: A set of interrelated propositions (data) describing material remains, usually through symbolic representation, that facilitates the study of ancient people. Examples are field notebooks, artifact catalogues, archaeological databases.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: computer simulation studies CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: Reconstruction of the past based on the production of computerized models. The computer model describes ancient conditions and variables and those are used to generate a sequence of events that are compared against the known archaeological record. The computer imitates the dynamic behavior of an explicit model and helps scientists examine how such systems respond to changing conditions and also to refine and test hypotheses about the past. In an example study of hunter-gatherers, the effect of various changes in the natural environment on such factors as the population settlement pattern or subsistence could be monitored; or the growth of a settlement system could be studied under different conditions of population, economy, technological, or environmental change. The relationships between the various elements in the cultural system must be specified, and then any variety of actual conditions can be simulated. The data used could be derived from observations and the simulation used to examine the effect of different assumptions; the results could then be compared to the observed data to test their validity.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A methodological alternative to traditional normativearchaeology, developed by Walter W. Taylor in 1948. In it, the full range of a culturesystem is to be taken into consideration in explanatory models, with explicit connection of archaeological objects within their cultural contexts. Ancient behavior is reconstructed by defining functional sets of archaeological data.
CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: The use of GIS software and digital landscape information such as slope and distance, fed into computer along with the figure of one hour for a 5-km walk on the surface that is used to do calculations, using built-in data on the energy cost of traversing different kinds of terrain.
CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: In a general sense, the whole way of life of man as a species. In a more specific usage, it is the learned behavior, social customs, ideas, and technology characteristic of a certain people or civilization at a particular time or over a period of time (such as Eskimo culture). In this sense, a culture is a group of people whose total activities define what they represent and are transmitted to others in the group by social (mainly linguistic) -- as opposed to genetic -- means. Culture includes the production of ideas, artifacts, and institutions. In a more restricted sense (as in the term 'blade culture') culture signifies the artifacts or tool- and implement-making tradition of a people or a stage of development. Similar or related assemblages found in several sites within a defined area during the same time period, considered to represent the activities of one specific group of people is a culture. Cultures are often named for a particular site or an artifact. The word 'culture' in archaeology means a collection of archaeologically observable data; it is defined as the regularly occurring assemblage of associated artifacts and practices, such as pottery, house-types, metalwork, and burial rites, and regarded in this sense as the physical expression of a particular social group. This usage is especially associated with Gordon Childe, who popularized this concept as a means of analyzing prehistoricmaterial. Thus the Bandkeramik culture of Neolithic Europe is an hypothesized social group characterized by its use of a particular type of pottery, houses, etc. The term, in reference to the specific elements of material culture, is most often used in the Old World.
CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: Major anthropological subdivisions of the North American continent, characterized by relatively uniform environments and relatively similar cultures. It is a geographical region in which general cultural homogeneity is to be found, defined by ethnographically observed cultural similarities within the area. A culturearea is also a geographic area in which one culture prevailed at a given time. This concept was devised as a means of organizing museumdata. Examples are the Southwest, the Northwest Coast.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: culture history, culture historical approach, culture-historical theory CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: An approach to archaeologicalinterpretation which uses the procedure of the traditional historian; the organization of the archaeological record into a basic sequence of events in time and space. This approach assumes that artifacts can be used to build a generalized picture of human culture and descriptive models in time and space, and that these can be interpreted. It is the reconstruction of the prehistoric past based on temporal and spatial syntheses of data and the application of general descriptive models usually derived from a normative concept of culture and induction. Culturehistory is the chronological arrangement of the time phases and events of a particular culture.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: deductive strategy CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A process of reasoning sometimes used in archaeology, which goes from the general to the specific, or, from lucky guess to a provable fact. It involves generating hypotheses and then testing them with data. Deductive research is cumulative and involves constant refining of hypotheses. In deductive arguments, the conclusions must be true, given that the premises are true. It is the opposite of inductive approaches, which proceed from specific observations to general conclusions.
deductive nomological explanation
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: D-N; deductive-nomological reasoning; deductive reasoning CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A formal method of explanation based on the testing of hypotheses derived from general laws. A general law is established, the ramifications are deduced, and the ramifications are then used to explain a specific set of data. Some archaeologists believe that this is the appropriate way to explain cultural processes.
deep sea cores
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: deep sea core dating, deep-sea cores CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A technique used in the analysis of data from oceanic sediments in which the material retrieved by the core yields information on temperature changes in the ocean through time. These changes, suggestive of climatic variation, help to chart the progress of glaciation and, since they can be dated, the technique assists in the establishment of a chronology for the Quaternary. The cores, some 5 cm. in diameter and up to 25 m. deep, are extracted from the ocean floor. The sediments they contain have a high percentage of calcium carbonate content made up of the shells of small marine organisms and these sediments build up very slowly, from 10-50 mm per 1000 years, but their sequence is uninterrupted. Since these organisms have different temperature preferences depending on species, the relative abundance of the various species changes as the temperature alters. Variations in the ratio of two oxygen isotopes in the calcium carbonate of these shells give a sensitive indicator of sea temperature at the time the organisms were alive. Through the identification of the species, and by the use of oxygen isotope analysis, a picture can be built up of variations in temperature over the millennia. Since various forms of dating (radiocarbon dating, ionium dating, uranium seriesdating, palaeomagnetism, protactinium/ionium dating) can be used on the carbonate in the shells, absolute dates can be given to the different levels in the core. Thus dates emerge for glaciations and interglacial periods, which can assist in the age determination of archaeologicalmaterial found in association with these glacial phases. Problems with the technique are the difficulty of correlating oceanic temperature changes with continental glacial and interglacial phases, and the disturbance by animals living on the ocean bottom. The piston corer was developed in 1947.
CATEGORY: measure DEFINITION: A numerical summary of data or estimate of a populationparameter -- such as sample means, medians, standard deviations, ranges.
digital information language
CATEGORY: database design DEFINITION: Information language that uses symbolic representation of data to reduce data to a conventional representation and to store it, but to facilitate data retrieval by allowing amplification of a query.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: Analogy using historical records or historical ethnographic data.
direct historical approach
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: DHA CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: The technique of working backwards in time, from the present into the past, from historic sites of known age into earlier times. This method of chronological ordering is based on the comparison of historically documented or contemporary artifacts with those recovered from archaeological contexts. An analogy or homology is made using historical records or historical ethnographic data for the site and the surrounding region. This technique was developed by W.D. Strong in the 1930s.
CATEGORY: geography DEFINITION: A type of image filter used in digital image processing to identify linear features that possess a particular orientation. It allows a data surface" of any chosen vertical scale to be "illuminated" from various directions and elevations to make subtle anomalies visible mimicking the effects of low sunlight on earthworks with the flexibility of computer manipulation."
CATEGORY: measure DEFINITION: A measure of variety in a data set.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: The spectrum of frequencies of electromagnetic radiation, with light being the visible part of the spectrum and heat another. There are parts of the spectrum which are not detectable by human senses but spectrophotometers can monitor all areas of the spectrum. Data can be analyzed and used to find and understand structures.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: ethnoarchaeological studies CATEGORY: branch DEFINITION: The study of contemporary cultures with a view to understanding the behavioral relationships which underlie the production of material culture. It is the use of archaeological techniques and data to study these living cultures and the use of ethnographic data to inform the examination of the archaeological record. It is a relatively new branch of the discipline, followed particularly in America. It seeks to compare the patterns recognized in the material culture from archaeological contexts with patterns yielded through the study of living societies. The ethnoarchaeologist is particularly concerned with the manufacture, distribution, and use of artifacts, the remains of various processes that might be expected to survive, and the interpretation of archaeological material in the light of the ethnographic information. Less materially oriented questions such as technological development, subsistence strategies, and social evolution are also compared in archaeology and ethnology under the general heading of ethnographic analogy. Lewis Binford's study of the Nunamiut Eskimo is one of the best known studies in ethnoarchaeology.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: ethnographic study CATEGORY: related field DEFINITION: The description and analysis of contemporary cultures, which is based almost entirely on in-depth fieldwork. The formulating of generalizations about culture and the drawing of comparisons are components of ethnography. It is part of the subdiscipline of cultural anthropology. An important technique is participant observation, whereby the anthropologist lives in the society being studied. Ethnography provides data to archaeologists through analogy and homology. An ethnographic study is that of the cultural characteristics of a particular ethnic or social group.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: cultural anthropology CATEGORY: related field DEFINITION: The use of ethnographic data to study contemporary cultures; one of the four subdisciplines of cultural anthropology. The study of the varieties of the human race in a comparative analysis to understand how they work and why they change. Ethnology is a term more widely used in Europe, and encompasses the analytical and comparative study of cultures in general, which in American usage is the academic field known as cultural anthropology (in British usage, social anthropology).
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: The systematic and scientific recovery of cultural, material remains of people as a means of obtaining data about past human activity. Excavation is digging or related types of salvage work, scientifically controlled so as to yield the maximum amount of data. It is the main tool of the archaeologist. The excavation of a site, however, involves the destruction of the primary evidence, which can never be recovered. Excavation should therefore never be undertaken lightly or without an understanding of the obligations of the excavator to the evidence he destroys. The first decision is whether to excavate a site at all, a question of particular interest when sites are being rapidly destroyed by farming methods and road and town building. The nature and scale of the undertaking is the next decision. If time and/or money is short, sampling of the site may be all that is possible. If a large-scale excavation is to be undertaken, the approach will be either area (open) excavation, grid method, quadrant method, rabotage, sondage, etc. Removal of the topsoil will either be carried out by hand or machine. After an initial plan has been made of all visible features before excavation, digging proceeds according to the dictates of the site: sections may be taken across areas of feature intersection, or across individual features. A permanent record of the whole process should be kept: plans, drawings, notes, photographs. Excavation is only the first part of the process. For years, excavation was regarded as merely a method of collecting artifacts. Pitt Rivers in Britain and Petrie in the Near East first placed emphasis on evidence rather than artifacts, not what is found but where it was found relative to the layers of deposit (stratigraphy) and to other objects (association) -- the context. The excavator can only justify his destruction if it is done with meticulous care so that every artifact, be it an ax or a posthole, is discovered and if possible preserved; if it is recorded accurately enough for all information to remain available after the site has disappeared; and if this record is quickly made available by publication. In short, excavation is the digging of archaeological sites, removal of the matrix, and observance of the provenience and context of the finds therein, and the recording of them in a three-dimensional way.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: experimental studies CATEGORY: branch DEFINITION: The reconstruction and reproduction of past behavior and processes to obtain or evaluate archaeological data and test hypotheses about the way man dealt with subsistence and technology. The experiments involve such activities as creating and using stone tools, duplicating prehistoric methods of farming, building, and travel, etc. The term is normally used only for those experiments which deal with material culture, such as industry, the building of structures, mining, and crop processing. The more theoretical aspects, such as ideas about the development and organization of society, are generally thought of a part of processual archaeology rather than experimental. Reconstructions can be based on excavated ground plans, and some of these have been deliberately burned or left to decay so that an idea can be gained of what the archaeologist might expect to find later. Boats have been built and sailed, food has been cooked in earth ovens and eaten, stone monuments have been laboriously erected, and trumpets and stringed instruments have been made and played. Although past events are not exactly repeatable, experimental simulation can prove very instructive and is being increasingly used. One of the earliest examples was General Pitt-Rivers' observations of the rate and duration of ditch silting on his excavations at Cranbourne Chase in the 19th century.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A specific hypothesis, deduced from a generalization or general law, which can then be directly tested against data.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A written account of archaeological research, usually kept by each investigator, recording all stages of research design, but especially the conduct of data acquisition. It is the written record containing firsthand, on-the-spot observations. Field notes are considered primary field data.
CATEGORY: database design DEFINITION: An entity for storage of a particular class of data, containing records with identical sets of field types to record the same kinds of attributes.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: formal difference, formal dimension, form attribute, form analysis, form type CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: The physical characteristics -- size, shape, composition, arrangement -- of any archaeologicalfind or any component of a culture. Form is an essential part of attributeanalysis; in archaeological research, the first objective is to describe and analyze the physical attributes of data to determine distributions in time and space and leads to form classifications. For example, the shape of a pot or other tool directly reflects its function.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A relative age determination technique in which artifacts or other archaeological data are chronologically ordered by ranking their relative frequencies of appearance. It is based on the idea that an artifact type first steadily grows in popularity and then steadily declines.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: functional concept CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: The purpose or use of a component within a culture. The second goal of archaeological research is analysis of data and their relationships to determine function and thus reconstruct and create synchronic descriptions of ancient behavior. It is a model of culture that is keyed to the functions of its various components, which unite into a single system or structure.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: bell curve, normal distribution CATEGORY: measure DEFINITION: A probability density function for continuous interval data.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: GIS CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: Computer-generated mapping systems that allow archaeologists to plot and analyze site distributions against environmental and other background data derived from remote sensing, digitized maps, and other sources. It is computerized technology for storage, analysis, and display of geographically referenced information.
CATEGORY: database design DEFINITION: Pertaining to data that is input to a GIS database using a common mapping reference (e.g. UTM grid) so that the data can be spatially analyzed
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: computer rectification CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: The process of assigning map coordinates to image data and resampling the pixels of the image to conform to the map projection grid.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: Geographical Information Systems; linked maps and databases.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A lake village in Somerset, England, which has yielded more data than any other site about life in the British Iron Age. The village was built on a wooden platform keyed to the underlying peat and was enclosed by a timber palisade. Inside were more than 90 round huts with clay and plank floors. They had central hearths for the fires. Cobbled paths and alleyways ran between the huts. Preservation was so good that the excavators recovered baskets, iron objects (including currency bars and tools with their original hafts), dugout canoes, fragments of spoked wheels, lathe-turned bowls, basins and tubs decorated with La Tène art motifs, farming and fishing gear, basketry and wickerwork, and evidence of potting, weaving, and metalworking from the village. Occupation started from the 3rd/2nd to the 1st century AD, just before the Roman conquest. On the high ground nearby is an Iron Age earthwork, Roman pottery, and a Dark Age structure dated to the 6th century AD. Glastonbury, like Cadbury Castle, is linked in folklore with King Arthur. A rotary quern was invented here and eventually became universal. The Benedictine Abbey of St. Mary at Glastonbury was perhaps the oldest (c 166 AD) and certainly one of the richest in England.
CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: A theory, derived from Newton's law of universal gravitation, that the degree of interaction between two communities is directly proportional to their to their proximity to each other. The model has been tested with data from modern societies and is valid for a wide range of types of interaction, such as migration, travel, and communication. The model can also be reformulated to determine when the balance of interaction swings from one location to another.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A surface survey technique using direct observation to gather archaeological data that is present on the ground surface. The term includes mapping and surface collection of artifacts.
Hesi, Tell el-
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A tellsite in southern Palestine occupied from the Early Bronze Age, c 2600 BC, to the Hellenistic period/Iron Age. Its excavation by Sir Flinders Petrie and F.J. Bliss were the first stratigraphic excavations in the area, and lent much information on potterytypology and successive building levels. Their work began the establishment of an absolute chronology for Palestinian prehistory, through the discovery of imported, datable Egyptian objects in association with local material.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A graphical representation of a distributionfunction by means of rectangles whose widths represent intervals into which the range of observed values is divided and whose heights represent the number of observations occurring in each interval. For example, if measurements of length have been taken for bronze spearheads from one particular area and period, the measurements are represented by marking off intervals of lengths on the horizontal axis, and counting the number of spearheads falling into each division. These numbers are marked off on the vertical axis. In order to compare one set of data with another, or others, a cumulative version of the histogram may be used, where the succeeding values are added to the preceding: these are called cumulative frequency polygons, and are useful for comparative work, but are difficult to use if single histograms need to be extracted. A useful way to assess the density of rocks is to make a histogram plot of the statistical range of a set of data. The representative value and its variation can be expressed as follows: (1) mean, the average value, (2) mode, the most common value (i.e., the peak of the distribution curve), (3) median, the value of the middle sample of the data set (i.e., the value at which half of the samples are below and half are above), and (4) standard deviation, a statistical measure of the spread of the data (plus and minus one standard deviation from the meanvalue includes about two-thirds of the data).
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: The process of examining how well various hypotheses explain the actual data, eliminating those that are invalid, and identifying those that best fit the observed phenomena. A successful hypothesis is found to be the best approximation of truth given the current state of knowledge. In archaeology, the primary standard for accepting a hypothesis is compatibility with available data and other criteria include predictability, parsimony, completeness, and symmetry.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: hypothetico-deductive explanation, hypothetico-deductive reasoning CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A type of scientific reasoning in which a hypothesis is made, predictions are deduced, and then the hypothesis tested for accuracy against archaeological data. Deductive reasoning is used to find and verify the logical consequences. Developed by Sir Isaac Newton in the late 17th century, it is a procedure for the construction of a scientific theory that will account for results obtained through direct observation and experimentation and that will, through inference, predict further effects that can then be verified or disproved by empirical (observed or experienced) evidence derived from other experiments.
indirect age determination
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: indirect dating CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: The determination of the age of archaeological data by association with a matrix or an object of known age. When object A is found clearly associated with object B, whose date is known, the date of B is given to A.
CATEGORY: database design DEFINITION: A language artificially created in databases to ensure unambiguous communication of information.
CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: Post-processual archaeology using coherence of data and context in an attempt to understand the meaning of archaeological evidence, as distinct from both the more extreme relativist, post-structural archaeology and processual archaeology.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A site on the Zambia-Tanzania border at the southeast corner of Lake Tanganyika which has yielded one of the longest archaeological sequences (100,000 years) in sub-Saharan Africa and important pollen and radiocarbondata. The ancient lake deposits preserved objects from the Stone and Iron Ages. The oldest deposit contained Late Acheulian tools, dating to the late Middle Pleistocene. Wooden objects, food remains, and evidence that man was already using fire have been found. Pollen preserved in the deposits indicates that the local late Acheulianclimate was cooler and wetter than that of today. The sequence continued with Sangoan (radiocarbon dated to 50,000-40,000 BC), followed by Early Middle Stone Age (Lupemban, 30,000 BC) industries related to those of the Congo, then Magosian, and a microlith-using Late Stone Age culture of Wiltontype, and finally (from mid-4th century AD) remains of early agricultural and iron-using peoples who were probably of Bantu stock. Early Iron Age occupation of the Kalambo basin appears to have been established by the 4th century AD and to have continued through much of the 1st millennium.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A palatial complex just outside Jericho in the Jordan Valley, attributed via epigraphy to the Umayyadcaliph 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.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Records of Ancient Matters CATEGORY: language DEFINITION: The oldest extant comprehensive history of Japan, a chronicle compiled in 712 AD under the Ritsuryo state. The effort to compile and edit legends and genealogies into a coherent account exemplifies the supremacy of the ruling Yamato house. Written in an old Japanese using the linguistically incompatible Chinese characters, the account begins with a creation myth and covers the events up to the early 7th century. Together with the Nihon Shoki, it provides protohistoricdata for the Kofunperiod.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: The ancient Akkadian name for the Indus region. It was a land which traded with the city-states of Sumer, to its west, and appeared in Mesopotamian texts of the Akkadian and Ur III periods. The land was described as a source of gold and is usually identified as the area of the Harappan civilization in western India and Pakistan during the 3rd and 2nd millennia BC. In the 1st millennium BC, Meluhha refers to Nubia, to the south of Egypt. Literary references to Meluhhan trade date from the Akkadian, Ur III, and Isin- Larsa Periods (i.e., c. 2350-1800 BC), but as texts and archaeological data indicate, the trade probably started in the Early Dynastic Period (c. 2600 BC). During the Akkadianperiod, Meluhhan vessels sailed directly to Mesopotamian ports, but by the Isin-LarsaPeriod, Dilmun (modern Bahrain) was the entrepôt for Meluhhan and Mesopotamian traders. By the subsequent Old Babylonian period, trade between the two cultures evidently had ceased entirely.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: kitchen midden CATEGORY: feature DEFINITION: Any large refuse heap, mound, or concentration of cultural debris associated with human occupation. The term includes such materials as discarded artifacts (e.g. broken pots and tools), food remains, shells, bones, charcoal and ashes, -- and may include the material in which the debris is encapsulated and modifications of this matrix. Midden debris usually contains decayed organic material, bonescrap, artifacts (broken and whole), and miscellaneous detritus. Middens are a valuable source of archaeological data. The long-term disposal of refuse can result in stratified deposits, which are useful for relative dating. Sometimes the midden is a dump or trash pile separate from the residential area, but more commonly among hunters and gatherers the houses are on top of the midden itself. Some of the largest shell middens were accumulated by shore-dwellers in Mesolithic Denmark.
Middle Range Theory
CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: A conceptual framework connecting raw archaeological data with higher-level generalizations and conclusions about the past which can be derived from such evidence. A theory concerned with explaining specific issues or aspects of society instead of trying to explain how all of society operates.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Middle Range Theory, middle-range theory CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A set of frameworks or theories that allow the construction of accurate statements of past behavior based on the analysis of the contemporary archaeological record. It applies to any investigation aimed at linking the static data from the archaeological record with the dynamic processes that formed it. The frameworks link the archaeological record and the original activities that produced that record, allowing archaeologists to make inferences about past human behavior. It is considered by some to be the key to a scientific understanding of the archaeological record.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A devices used by archaeologists to aid the interpretation of data; models consist of hypothetical reconstructions of dynamic processes partly based on material remains and partly testing the validity of interpretations of material culture. They are idealized representations of the real world, used to demonstrate a simplified version of some of its characteristics. Models vary in complexity and can be physical representations or literary descriptions. It might be a physical model of a site or landscape to explain some feature of its function or organization; such models at full scale are well known in experimental archaeology. A simple model might be a map showing, for example, the distribution of sites in a region or a scatter diagram showing the relationship between two measured variables. Models need not be based on specific archaeological data, but can be derived from a number of sources: invented data can be generated by computer simulation; geometrical and mathematical models can also be used, such as central place theory or the rank-size rule in the study of regional settlement, or catastrophe theory in the study of cultural collapse. General systems theory can also be a source of systems models designed to show a simplified version of the working of a complex social or economic organization. The term model can also be used in a less specific sense for any general mode of thought in which archaeological research is conducted, for example descriptive, historical, or ecological. Models may also be diachronic or synchronic. The concept of formulating a model, testing it and refining it, is frequently applied in a non-mathematical way and this is the way in which it is most often used in archaeology. In this sense it is either synonymous with 'hypothesis' or refers to a number of interlocking hypotheses.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Mohenjo-Daro CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: One of the two capitals of the Indus civilization, the best known of the Mature Harappan cities, located in the Sind region on the right bank of the Indus in Pakistan. Radiocarbon dates and corroboration with Mesopotamian data date the capital to about 3000-1700 BC. The city, covering approximately 2.5 square km, was laid out on a grid plan, the oldest recorded. The larger blocks, separated by broad streets with elaborate drains, were subdivided. It was the largest of all the Indus Valley sites, and like other Indus Valley settlements, Mohenjo-Daro consists of two parts: a lower town in the east, overlooked by a high artificial mound or citadel on the west side. Traces of mud and baked brick defenses have been found. Within these an assembly hall, 'college', great bath, and granary were excavated. Numerous craft installations were in the lower town, for pottery, beadmaking, shell working, dyeing, and metalworking. Artifacts provide the basic definition of the Mature Harappan material culture for pottery styles, seals, weights, bead forms, metal forms, figurines, etc. There are many flood deposits, which many times overwhelmed the city. Mohenjo-daro was abandoned c 1700/1600 BC, apparently after a massacre, as in the latest layers groups of skeletons were found lying in houses and in the streets. The other capital, Harappa, was 400 miles away.
CATEGORY: feature DEFINITION: A type of elite burial used in East Asia built with monumental earthen or stone-piled mounds which contained burial facilities. The burials ranged from wooden chambers, clay enclosures, to brick or stone megalithic chambers. There were round and square mounds and Japan's were keyhole-shaped. The tombs provide the source of data for the Three Kingdoms period of Korea and the Kofun of Japan. One of the earliest mounded tombs of China was that of the First Emperor of Qin, and the Ming tombs are some of the latest. Prestige grave goods are found in all. Haniwa (circle of clay") unglazed terra-cotta cylinders and hollow sculptures were arranged on and around the mounded tombs (kofun) of the Japanese elite dating from the Tumulus period (c 250-552 AD). The first and most common haniwa were barrel-shaped cylinders used to mark the borders of a burial ground. Later in the early 4th century the cylinders were surmounted by sculptural forms such as figures of warriors female attendants dancers birds animals boats military equipment and houses. It is believed that the figures symbolized continued service to the deceased in the other world."
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: MDSCAL, multidimensional scaling CATEGORY: technique; measure DEFINITION: A multivariate statistical technique which aims to develop spatial structure from numerical data by estimating the differences and similarities between analytical units. Points or items are distributed in a hyperspace, whose dimensions are a large number of variables, and can be similarly distributed in a space of fewer dimensions. The points, originally randomly distributed, are moved about in the new space until the distances between points are similar in proportion to those between points in the original hyperspace. For example, a group of artifacts, about which a large number of characteristics and measurements have been recorded, can be represented by a two-dimensional plot. The reverse is also possible: distributions in a space of few dimensions can be 'unfolded' into space of many more dimensions. I.e. a statistical technique that distorts multidimensional distances/dissimilarities so that they can be portrayed on a two-dimensional map.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: New Archaeology; processual archaeology CATEGORY: branch DEFINITION: A movement which began in America in the 1960s, aimed at making archaeology more scientific, now more often called processual archaeology. It was suggested that explanations be based on carefully designed models of human behavior and emphasized the importance of understanding underlying cultural processes. This new approach was controversial and is commonly associated with Lewis R. Binford and his students. Binford's New Perspectives in Archaeology" in 1968 stressed the following ideas: the use of new techniques such as the computer for statistical and matrix analyses of data and concept of the ecosystem for the understanding of the economic and subsistence bases of prehistoric societies; an evolutionary view of culture; the use of models of cultures viewed as systems incorporating the evolutionary view of culture and a close relationship between archaeology and anthropology. Although the proponents of the new archaeology have been criticized by more traditionally minded scholars their basic principles are now widely accepted."
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Neutra, Nyitra CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A fortified site where excavations have revealed traces of the 9th-century stronghold and a large cemetery of the Linear Pottery culture of southern Slovakia. Within Nitra's walls there were workshops producing relics and metalwork that were distributed to other Slavic sites. The cemetery's artifacts and remains have provided data on mortality, age, and sex during the Early Neolithic. Grave goods included spondylus shell ornaments and shoe-last axes.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: nonprobabilistic sampling CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A non-statistical sampling strategy (in contrast to probabilistic sampling) which concentrates on sampling areas on the basis of intuition, historical documentation, or long field experience in the area. It is the acquisition of sampledata based on informal criteria or personal judgment. It does not allow evaluation of how representative the sample is with respect to the datapopulation.
nonarbitrary sample unit
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A subdivision of the data universe with cultural relevance, such as sample units defined by data clusters in remains of rooms or houses.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: non-probabilistic sampling CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A non-statistical sampling strategy (in contrast to probabilistic sampling) which concentrates on sampling areas on the basis of intuition, historical documentation, or long field experience in the area. It is the acquisition of sampledata based on informal criteria or personal judgment. It does not allow evaluation of how representative the sample is with respect to the datapopulation.
Nubian rescue campaign
CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: An international movement, coordinated by UNESCO between 1960-1980, to limit the loss of archaeological data as a result of the building of the Aswan High Dam and the subsequent flooding of much of Lower Nubia by Lake Nasser. The movement wanted to survey and excavate as many of the sites as possible and dismantle and re-erect the most important temples -- Abu Simbel, Philae, and Kalabsha.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: cluster analysis; taximetrics CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A set of mathematical procedures for grouping individual items into classes. The technique used is cluster analysis, which produces groupings of items based on their degree of similarity. There are different ways of measuring the similarity between items, and different techniques of producing clusters from such measurements. Agglomerative techniques start with the most similar items and repeatedly add new members to existing clusters as the standard of similarity is lowered; divisive methods, on the other hand, start with the entire collection to be classified and repeatedly subdivide into smaller groups on the basis of certain attributes. The results of the analyses can be shown in the form of a dendrogram, but the interpretation of the groupings produced will depend on a detailed assessment of the archaeological data itself. Numerical taxonomy is also the multivariate analysis of many measurable features (taxonomic characters) to produce a biological classification. Because of the complexity of the analysis, the use of a computer is virtually mandatory. No attempt is made, as in evolutionary taxonomy, to weight characters on the basis of their presumed roles in natural selection. For this reason, numerical taxonomy produces a classification that reflects phenetic distances i.e., degrees of similarity. Such classifications are rejected by many conventional taxonomists who feel that the relationships expressed in a classification should be strictly evolutionary. The numerical evaluation of the affinity or similarity between taxonomic units and the ordering of these units into taxa on the basis of their affinities is used often in archaeology.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: An excavating technique that exposes the vertical face of a site. This type of excavation is designed to reveal the vertical and temporal dimensions within an archaeological deposit -- the depth, sequence, and composition of buried data.
Peoples of the Sea
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Sea People(s), Peoples of the Islands in the Midst of the Sea CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: Any of the groups of aggressive seafarers who invaded eastern Anatolia, Syria, Palestine, Cyprus, and Egypt toward the end of the Bronze Age, especially in the 13th century BC. They are considered responsible for the destruction of the Hittite Empire, among others. Because of the abrupt break in ancient Near Eastern records as a result of the invasions, the precise extent and origin of the upheavals remain uncertain. Principal evidence is based on Egyptian texts and illustrations; other important information comes from Hittite sources and from archaeological data. The peoples were of mixed origin and tentative identifications of the people are: Pulesati/Pelset/Peleset = Philistines; Luka/Lukka = Lycians; Akawasha/Ahhiyawa/Ekwesh = Achaeans; Danuna = Danaoi; Sherden/Sherdana/Shardana = Sardinians; Shekelesh/Sicels/Sikels/Siculi = Sicilians; Tursha/Tyrsi/Teresh/Tyrrhenians (Tyrsenoi) = Etruscans. The Philistines, who perhaps came from Crete, were the only major tribe of the Sea Peoples to settle permanently in Palestine.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: phasing CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: The process by which the stratigraphical material from a site is arranged into periods and phases based upon stratigraphic, structural, and artifactual data.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: periodization CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: The process by which the stratigraphical material from a site is arranged into periods and phases based upon stratigraphic, structural, and artifactual data.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: The recording of archaeological data on photographic film, especially during data acquisition, processing, and analysis.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A type of visual representation of quantitative data, involving a circle representative of the total of units and marking off segments like slices in the proportions of the percentages of different categories. The size of each slice of the pie is proportional to the number of data values in the corresponding class.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Pit-Comb ware CATEGORY: ceramics DEFINITION: A coarse pottery with deep round-based bowls decorated with pits and comb impressions and used in the circumpolar cultures of the forest zone of northeast Europe. The area includes that around the southern Baltic and glacial outwash of central and eastern Poland. Its makers were probably hunters and fishers, making little use of the techniques of food production, although adopting such Neolithic traits as pot-making an ax-grinding. There are few sites and little data.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A two-dimensional rendering at a constant scale, showing the horizontal dimensions of archaeological data.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: Mapping on the horizontal square or site plan; a graphic record of data.
CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: In sampling methods, the sum of sample units selected within a data universe; a group of individual persons, objects, or items from which samples are taken for statistical measurement.
CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: A philosophical position holding that all natural and social phenomena can be understood by determining their origins and causes. Developed by Auguste Comte in the 18th century, it emphasizes the testability of statements and the separation of data from the theories that explain them. It is the primary theoretical basis of new archaeology.
pothunter or pot-hunter
CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: Any person who collects archaeological objects or excavates sites in an unscientific manner for personal gain, and whose actions result in the destruction of surrounding data. Pothunting is illegal artifactcollecting.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: principal components CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A technique of multivariateanalysis designed to reduce redundancy in a body of data and to clarify underlying structural relations. New variables are calculated in a way that most of the variation within the original distribution is contained in the first few components. The principal components may then be plotted or analyzed by conventional means. It can be calculated by computer.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: An archaeologicalsampling method based on formal statistical criteria in selecting sample units to be investigated. It is designed to draw reliable general conclusions about a site or region, based on small sample areas, and allows evaluation of how representative the sample is with respect to the datapopulation. Four types of sampling strategies are recognized: 1) simple random sampling; 2) stratified random sampling; 3) systematic sampling; 4) stratified systematic sampling.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: new archaeology CATEGORY: branch DEFINITION: A branch of archaeology which seeks to understand the nature of cultural change by a study of the variables which cause it, usually in a manner characteristic of new archaeology". After scientific observation questions are formulated hypotheses are formed to answer the questions and are then tested against the data. The ultimate aim is the formulation of laws. This approach stresses the dynamic relationship between social and economic aspects of culture and the environment. The earlier functional-processual archaeology has been contrasted with cognitive-processual archaeology where the emphasis is on integrating ideological and symbolic aspects."
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: protohistoric era, protohistoric period CATEGORY: chronology DEFINITION: The period in any area following prehistory and preceding the appearance of coherent history derived from written records. It is a transitional time period between prehistory and recorded history, for which both archaeological and historical data are employed. There are several more detailed definitions, such as 1) a time when non-literate aboriginal peoples had access to European goods but had not had face-to-facecontact; 2) periods during which historical documentation is fragmentary or not directly from the society being studied; and 3) the period of 1250-1519 AD in Mesoamerica, which followed the Postclassic and ends just before the Spanish conquest (there are historic documents for this period).
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A defined spatial area, in either two dimensions (for surface data) or three dimensions (for excavated data), used as a minimal unit for provenience determination and recording.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: The final stage of archaeological research design, with the preparation of reports of the data and interpretations resulting from archaeological research.
CATEGORY: artifact; language DEFINITION: A mnemonic device used by the Inca for keeping accounts and records. It consisted of a number of thick cords of various thicknesses and colors, on which numbers and other data were indicated by knots of different sizes and positions on the strings. Based on a decimal system, the color of the cord, as well as the size, configuration and placement of each knot, had a special meaning. So complex was the system that a special class of workers, quipu-camayoq (quipucamoyac), kept the imperial records on quipu. The Incas did not have writing, but quipus could also be used as aids in recording historical or liturgical information accumulated by government. A modified form is still used by some Andean herdsmen.
CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: The sampling variation or as the sum total of other unobservable chance deviations that occur with sampled data.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: The holding of data within a map layer as points, lines, and polygons.
CATEGORY: database design DEFINITION: In databases, the part of a file devoted to description of a single entity through specification of its attributes in various fields.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A specific location or feature that is defined as an entity for the purpose of recording archaeological data.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: archaeological recovery CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: The act or process of obtaining artifacts from a site for the purpose of deriving archaeological data.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: The nondestructive techniques used in geophysical prospecting and to generate archaeological data without excavation. It is a general term for reconnaissance and surface survey techniques that leave subsurface archaeological deposits undisturbed. Reconnaissance and site survey methods use such devices as aerial photography and pedestrian survey to detect subsurface features and sites. It includes the detection of hidden archaeological features such as walls, pits, or roads by means of sound or radar impulses passed through the ground.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A carefully formulated and systematic plan for executing archaeological research. Systematic planning of archaeological research, usually including 1) the formulation of a strategy to resolve a particular question; 2) the collection and recording of the evidence; 3) the processing and analysis of these data and its interpretation; and 4) the publication of results. It begins as a statement outlining these four key elements as a blueprint of archaeological research: statement of perspective, synthesis of the existing database, research domains, and relevant research strategy. Research design is carried out to ensure the efficient use of resources and to guide the research according to the scientific method.
CATEGORY: measure DEFINITION: The amount of variability in a dependent variable that is not predicted by a regression (i.e. the distance a datapoint lies above or below the regression line).
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Oryza sativa CATEGORY: flora DEFINITION: Edible starchy cereal grain and the plant by which it is produced. The origin of rice culture has been traced to India. Rice culture gradually spread westward and was introduced to southern Europe in medieval times. Roughly one-half of the world population, including virtually all of East and Southeast Asia, is wholly dependent upon rice as a staple food. The earliest datable record is from Chirard in the Ganges Valley, before 4500 BC. By the third millennium it was widely grown in south China and it was likely domesticated at Hemudu by the eartly 5th millennium BC. Its original center of cultivation could lie anywhere between the two. The earliest cultivated rice may have been grown in natural swamps or middens, but by at least 2000 years ago many parts of southeast Asia were developing terraced or wet-fieldcultivation.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: rescue archaeology; cultural resource management CATEGORY: branch DEFINITION: The branch of archaeology devoted to studying artifacts and features on sites which are imminently threatened by development in the form of the construction of dams, buildings, highways, etc. Threats to archaeological remains occur in the form of road-building, road improvement, new building of houses, offices, and industrial complexes, the flooding of valleys for reservoirs, and improved farming techniques involving the use of deep plowing. The rescue, or salvage, archaeologist, is concerned with the retrieval of as much information as possible about the archaeological sites before they are damaged or destroyed. Salvagearchaeology is the location, recording (usually through excavation), and collection of archaeological data from a site in advance of highway construction, drainage projects, or urban development. In the US, the first major program of salvagearchaeology was undertaken in the 1930s, ahead of the construction and dam building done by the Tennessee Valley Authority.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: The process of selecting part of a site for excavation or an area for fieldwork, preferably according to a strategy which allows statistical estimates and generalizations of the relation of the sample to the unexplored parts of the whole site or area. In a way, all archaeologicalfieldwork and excavation is sampling, since it is impossible to collect all the data from the complexmass of an archaeologicalsite. Selection may be arbitrary or nonarbitrary -- perhaps by the need for particular evidence for a specific question (a 'judgment sample'); the question itself will be determined by the existing framework of archaeological thought. In a more specific sense, sampling or probabilistic or random sampling, uses the theory of probability to make estimates of how closely the observations obtained from the part examined ('sample') represent the characteristics of the whole group being studied ('population'), by using fixed rules of random selection so that each unit is given a known chance of selection. The area under study may be divided into sub-zones (strata) and each stratum can be sampled separately to give a more precise estimate of the whole population. The choice of sampledesign, the size of the sample units, and the proportion of the population sampled (the sampling fraction) will all affect the result, but even with quite small fractions accurate estimates of the entire population of sites within an area can be obtained. The method is particularly good at estimating the number of different types of site within the area. Methods are also being developed for the sampling of large groups of artifacts; excavations frequently produce very large quantities of bone or flint, and it has been shown that often it is necessary to study only a small sample of the whole population to obtain a reliable estimate of its character.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Sapalli-Tepe CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Site in southern Uzbekistan with Middle to Late Bronze Age occupation. Data found there defines the Sapalli phase of regional chronology, mid-late 3rd millennium BC. There was a central square fortification and intramural burials with well-preserved organic remains.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: Standardized rendering used to record archaeological data, especially during data acquisition. It would include elevation, isometric, perspective, plan, profile, and section drawings.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A visual way of presenting data which might otherwise be offered in numerical form. It consists of the plotting of units as dots against an X and a Y axis representing two attributes, so that relationships between attributes as well as relationships between units may be shown. When clustering of dots into different groups occurs, it may suggest the presence of different classes. It is also possible to see whether one attribute co-varies with another, seen by the grouping of the dots around the line from bottom left to top right of the diagram.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: sectioning, section drawing CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: In excavation, the exposing of a deposit vertically to reveal the stratigraphy of a site or details of a particular feature. A balk is left across a feature or a complex of features, or a hole is cut out of a feature and trimmed to a flat face in which layers and changes in soil color may be examined. Sections automatically occur when the grid method of excavation is used, on all four sides of each trench. The term is also applied to the drawing of the vertical record of the stratification of a site or feature. A section drawing is a two-dimensional rendering, at a constant scale, depicting archaeological data and matrix as seen in the wall of an excavation. Advocates of open-area excavation prefer not to have standing sections on the site; instead of drawing sections after the whole area has been excavated, they record the profile of each deposit as it is excavated and construct what are known as 'cumulative' or 'running sections'.
CATEGORY: geology DEFINITION: The observable properties of sediments: composition, size, shape, orientation, and grain packing. These properties combine to provide data on processes and environment, giving much information about the past.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Any location that demonstrates past human activity, as evidence by the presence of artifacts, features, ecofacts, or other material remains; a single place in which excavation or reconnaissance has revealed objects or data of archaeological interest. The definition implies that such a location was utilized by humans for a sufficient period of time to develop features or become a deposit ground for artifacts. Sites can range from small, temporary camps to large, complex cities, from a living site to a quarry site, and from one artifact to many levels of occupation. Major types of sites include domestic / habitation sites, kill-sites, and processing / butchering sites.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: The collection of surface data and evaluation of a site's archaeological significance.
CATEGORY: term; artifact DEFINITION: Archaeological data resulting from past human social activities; an object whose primary function is to express or establish social rank, rather than to serve practical or ideological needs. An example is an ax that is used as a symbol of chiefdom rather than as a weapon.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: The statistical study of concentrations of human activity in a defined space; the systematic study of spatial patterning in archaeological data. Distribution maps showing artifacts or sites have long been used in archaeology, but spatial analysis adds rigorous mathematical and statistical techniques for examining such maps. Techniques adapted from modern geography include locational analysis for the study of settlement patterns, and the use of distance-decay functions, linear regression analysis, and trend-surface analysis for exploring the distribution of artifacts.
CATEGORY: geography DEFINITION: A mapping method which presents the data as a series of layered profiles. Each traverse with the equipment is plotted as a curved profile, then each is placed in order, parallel to each other but aligned on an oblique plan so that a type of 3-D image of the sites's magnetic variatins is obtained. This method can be carried out with a proton precession magnetometer.
CATEGORY: tool DEFINITION: Any preformatted information sheet to be completed in the field for recording archaeological data, especially during data acquisition, data processing, and analysis.
CATEGORY: measure DEFINITION: A graph used in exploratory dataanalysis that mimics a histogram without losing any information.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: Drawing of natural and / or cultural deposits of strata of a trench which can be correlated with the data collections recovered from that trench.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: stripping excavations CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A method of excavating whereby a large horizontal area is dug instead of a deep vertical one; clearing excavations in which large areas of overburden are removed to reveal horizontal distributions of data without leaving balks. This excavation layout is designed to investigate a large area for a modest outlay of effort. It has the disadvantage that no longitudinal section is available for study, only transverse ones, and that the site can never be seen in its entirety. It is a little used method with the introduction of technology.
CATEGORY: database design DEFINITION: A diagram of the organization, size, and data types of fields in a databasefile.
Stukeley, William (1687-1765)
CATEGORY: person DEFINITION: British antiquary and fieldarchaeologist whose surveys of the monumentalNeolithic Period-Bronze Age stone circles at Stonehenge and Avebury, Wiltshire, led him to elaborate theories relating them to the Druids. His views were widely accepted in the late 18th century and this misconception about the Druid connection has no data to back it up. His extensive antiquarian travels are recorded in Itinerarium Curiosum" (1724 "Observant Itinerary")."
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: The organization of artifacts or other data by sequence according to changes over time in their stylistic attributes, a relative age determination technique.
CATEGORY: geology DEFINITION: In metal alloycoinage, an occurrence where the more 'noble' metal has a higher observed concentration at the surface of the coin than at the center. A silver-copperalloy has a higher concentration of silver and a gold-silveralloy has a higher concentration of gold. This phenomenon is important since the composition of coins is used to locate their source and gain other data.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: site surface survey CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A method of data collection in which archaeological finds are gathered from the ground surface of sites and then evaluated. Surface survey helps to establish the types of activity on the site, locate major structures, and gather information on the most densely occupied areas of the site that could be most productive for total or sampleexcavation. There are two basic kinds of surface survey: unsystematic and systematic. The former involves fieldwalking, i.e. scanning the ground along one's path and recording the location of artifacts and surface features. Systematic survey less subjective and involves a gridsystem which is walked systematically, thus making the recording of finds more accurate. Surface survey usually includes the mapping of features. The study of the distribution of surviving features, and the recording and possible collecting of artifacts from the surface.
CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: An artifact that was used for a practical function, such as providing food, shelter, or defense, rather than connected to social or ideological activity. The term is also more generally applied to archaeological data resulting from past technological activities.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Thiessen polygon method CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: Method of describing settlement patterns based on territorial divisions centered on a single site or feature (locational analysis); the polygons are created by drawing straight lines between pairs of neighboring sites, then at the mid-point along each of these lines, a second series of lines are drawn at right angles to the first. Linking the second series of lines creates the Thiessen polygons. Where the exact boundaries between ancient territories are undetermined, an attempt to reconstruct them can be made if the distribution of focal points (central place), one to each territory, is known. The assumption is that any point will be dependent on the nearest central place. Thiessen polygons are useful for defining theoretical territories related to each center -- an area of production, a source of an important material, or a market center. These theoretical territories can be tested by comparison with actual archaeological data such as artifact distributions.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Large and important site of the Maya people in the rain forest of Petén, Guatemala, dating to 800 BC. The earliest buildings were constructed in 800 BC when it was a simple farming village. It is the most thoroughly studied of the great lowland Maya sites and peaked c 600-800 AD in the Classic period (c 300-900 AD), when Tikal was one of the largest and politically most important Maya capitals. Studies of its architecture, tombs, art style, settlement pattern, subsistence and storage, and artifacts have accompanied an extensive mapping project. A population of between 45,000-75,000 occupied 120 square kilometers. Six statuesque limestone temple pyramids, giant paved plazas, shrines, palatial residences, ballcourts -- in all, 3,000 buildings, hundreds of monuments, stelae, altars are among the ruins. It is also the location of the oldest Maya monument known, 292 AD. Archaeologists have been able to work out the dynastic history of Tikal on the basis of stela inscriptions and have identified the tombs of individual listed rulers. Numerous elite burials containing exotic materials, such as jade, obsidian, and stingray spines occur within the Great Plaza and within some of the temple-pyramids. Commoners, by contrast, are usually buried under their houses. Archaeological data confirmed that there were close relations with Teotihuacán during the Early Classic period; Tikal was an important post in the great trading network that Teotihuacán had established in southern Mesoamerica.. Like other lowland Maya sites, Tikal was abandoned around 900 AD.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A method synthesizing temporal and spatial distributions of data and used in the culture historical approach based on period sequences within culture areas.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Site in central Mexico on ancient Lake Chalco with human remains dated to 21,000 BC. The site has produced important archaeological information from several different periods, and environmental data from the Pleistocene onwards. There are chipped stone tools with radiocarbon dates of c 22-20,000 BC. Sedentary life occurred between 6000-4500 BC during the pre-ceramic period, and a sequence of Pre-Classic pottery styles has given information on early village life in the Basin of Mexico. The small Pre-Classic village site has an early pyramid and Olmec cultural material.
CATEGORY: tool DEFINITION: Map that can be used to relate archaeological sites to basic features of the natural landscape. Topographic maps are cartographic representation of the Earth's surface at a level of detail or scale between that of a plan (small area) and a chorographic (large regional) map. Topographic maps show as accurately as possible the location and shape of both natural and man-made features They depict topographic (landform) data in combination with representations of archaeological sites.
CATEGORY: tool DEFINITION: An electronic theodolite combined into an electronic distance meter and an electronic data collector.
CATEGORY: database design DEFINITION: The time and date when a databaserecord was entered or modified.
CATEGORY: measure DEFINITION: Expression of data in different units, typically nonlinear ones like the square root or logarithm of the measurements.
CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: Any process, natural or human-caused, that transforms an abandoned prehistoricsettlement into an archaeological site over time. This includes the conditions and events that affect archaeological data from the time of deposition to the time of recovery.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Iron Age burialsite 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.
trend surface analysis
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A method used to make a generalized map from observed data and used to highlight the main features and important trends of a geographic distribution. Archaeological observations mapped are discontinuous and at isolated points and therefore must be used to give information over a wider area. This is done either by averaging the values at a number of points to produce a general value or by a form of linear regression analysis which finds the contours which best fit the observations plotted on the map. The map produced then shows a general trend of the distribution, along with localized fluctuations. The technique is most useful for displaying archaeological data in a simplified and generalized form, making it easier to examine and explain the broad regional trends and the local variations. It can be applied to several different artifact distributions at the regional level, and has also been used to describe the distribution of artifact types within a site.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: uranium series dating, uranium series disequilibrium dating CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A method of dating based on measuring the rate of radioactive decay of uranium isotopes in bone and other organic remains to the stable isotope of lead. It has proved particularly useful for the period before 50,000 years ago, which lies outside the time range of radiocarbon dating. Each of the isotopes decays through a series of radioactive daughter isotopes until a stable isotope of lead is reached. Three daughter isotopes are created and decay with half-lives useful for dating: ionium, proactinium, and radium. Several uranium dating methods exist and material datable by these methods includes: aragonitic coral, speleothem, travertine, molluskshell, marl, bone, teeth, caliche, calcretes, peat, wood, and detrital sediment.
CATEGORY: database design DEFINITION: A datatype for describing a date or time relevant to the item described in a record, rather than for recording a date or time when the record was created or edited (transaction time).
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Lower Palaeolithic cave site in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin in the south of France with stone artifacts associated with a fauna datable to c 0.9 million years ago.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Van Lang CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: A legendary kingdom of north Vietnam, literally the Land of the Tattooed Men, rule by the Hong Bang dynasty c 3rd millennium BC. It was succeeded by the historic kingdom of Au-Lac in 258 BC. Existing archaeological evidence does not support the Vietnamese ancient texts that credit Hung Vuong with establishing, in 2879 BC, the Hong Bang dynasty, which is said to have survived for 2,621 years. According to available data, the earliest Vietnamese kingdom originated between 1000-500 BC.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: The holding of data within a map layer as a grid of cells.
CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: Testing a hypothesis's ability to account for new data or evaluating its probability relative to competing hypotheses.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Military and commercial city of medieval Iraq, especially important during the Umayyad caliphate (661-750 AD). It was established as a military encampment in 702 on the Tigris River, between Basra and Kufah. A palace and the chief mosque were built and irrigation and cultivation were encouraged. Because of its location on the Tigris, Wasit became a shipbuilding and commercial center. Even after the caliphal capital was moved from Damascus to Baghdad, the city remained important. The only standing building is a shrine with a monumental portal flanked by minarets, datable to the 13th century. Excavations revealed a congregational mosque with four periods of construction, the earliest with a large courtyard surrounded on three sides by a single arcade and a sanctuary 19 bays wide and 5 bays deep. Adjoining the mosque was the Dar al Imara, or governor's palace.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: Technique used to generate a settlementhierarchy which assigns territories to centers based on their scale, assuming that the size of each center is directly proportional to its area of influence. It is said that it overcomes the limitations of both central place theory and Thiessen polygons and that hypothetical political maps may be constructed from survey data.