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Balearic Islands
DEFINITION: A group of islands including Majorca (Mallorca), Minorca, Ibiza, and Formentera, off the east coast of Spain. Various civilizations left their marks on the islands, though the prehistoric talayotic civilization (so-called from its rough stone towers called talayots) seems to have continued without modification for 2600 years. Their position in the Mediterranean laid them open to continuous influence from eastern civilizations, as is found in archaeological finds. Bronze swords, single and double axes, antennae swords, and heads and figures of bulls and other animals are found. Native talayotic pottery was consistent until the Roman occupation. Their most interesting period was the Bronze Age with three important monuments: the Naveta, Talayot, and Taula. The islands were successively ruled by Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, Moors, and Spaniards.
Black Earth
DEFINITION: A distinctive area of Russia where the soil coloration resulted from intensive settlement activity and major deposits of iron ore.
Buckley earthenware
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: C 1720-1775, North Wales, The body of this earthenware is quite coarse because of the combination of two different types of clay in the process. The ware is made of layers of pink-firing and yellow clays. The combination of the two clays served to make the poor clays more workable. The ware is decorated with a black lead-glaze. The exterior fabric color on unglazed portions is purplish-red. The body exteriors are often heavily ribbed. When broken, the fabric interior exhibits the characteristic red and yellow layers.
Cave of Hearths
DEFINITION: A cave in northern Transvaal which yielded the right side of a Homo sapiens child's jaw, of Rhodesioid type, dating from about 50,000 years ago. It is located close to the Makapansgat site, the oldest cave site known in Africa. Both offer extremely early evidence of the use of fire by man in Africa and tools of the transitional Acheulian-Fauresmith type. The earliest deposits of the Cave of Hearths are Acheulian, followed by a long period of abandonment. There was a long succession of Pietersburg industries and some signs of typological continuity between the Acheulian and the Pietersburg assemblages. The Pietersburg industry was succeeded by an assemblage of subtriangular points and flake scrapers similar to the Bambata industry of Zimbabwe.
Cheops (fl early 26th c BC)
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Kheops, Khufu, Khufwey, Khnomkhufwey
CATEGORY: person
DEFINITION: The second king of the 4th Dynasty (c 2575-2465 BC) of Egypt who erected the Great Pyramid of Giza. It is the largest of the three pyramids, the length of each side at the base averaging 755 3/4 feet (230.4 m) and its original height being 481 2/5 feet (147 m). Cheops/Khufu reigned c 2570 BC. His sons, Djedefre (Redjedef) and Chephren (Khafre), succeeded him.
Earlier Stone Age
CATEGORY: chronology
DEFINITION: The first stage of the Stone Age in sub-Saharan Africa, dating from more than 2.5 million years ago to c 150,000 years ago. The earliest artifacts are representative of the Oldowan Industrial Complex, which was succeeded by the Acheulian Industrial Complex between c 1.5 million-150,000 years ago.
Early Archaic Percussion Pressure flaking
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A type of flaking in which the Preform was shaped by percussion flaking. The blade edges were ground to prepare a surface for the removal of elongate pressure flakes. The pressure flaking may have taken the form of alternate uniface bevel flaking, biface serration flaking, alternate biface bevel flaking or irregular pressure flaking.
Early Bronze Age
CATEGORY: chronology
DEFINITION: A period in the Levant dating to c 3200-1950 BC, just before Egypt's Archaic Period. Increasing urbanization was shown by the building of walled towns.
Early Dynastic period
CATEGORY: chronology
DEFINITION: A chronological phase in southern Mesopotamia between c 2900-2330 BC, ending with the founding of the Dynasty of Akkad. It was also known as the Pre-Sargonid period. The Sumerian city-states flourished under their separate dynastic rulers - Ur, Umma, Kish, and Lagash. The period is 3100-2450 BC on what is called the "high chronology" (the other being the "medium chronology"). The term itself is derived from the Sumerian 'king list' which implies that Sumer was ruled by kings at this stage although archaeological evidence for the existence of kingship is meager before the middle of the period. Traditionally it is divided by archaeologists into three subdivisions - ED I II and III - each of approximately 200 years duration. The Royal Tombs of Ur belong the ED III period. The Early Dynastic phase shows clear continuity from the preceding Jemdet Nasr and represents a period of rapid political cultural and artistic development. Within the period the pictographic writing of the earlier period developed into the standardized cuneiform script. This period represents the earliest conjunction of archaeological and written evidence for the history of southern Mesopotamia.
Early Horizon
CATEGORY: chronology
DEFINITION: A period during which the Chavin culture flourished in the central Andes of South America and was integrated into the northern highlands and coastal region of Peru, c 900-1 BC (also said to be c 1200-300 BC). It is one of a seven-period chronological construction used in Peruvian archaeology. It coincides with the duration of the Chavin style and its derivatives, such as Cupisnique. Following this, there was regional differentiation culminating in the complex cultures of the Early Intermediate Period.
Early Intermediate Period
CATEGORY: chronology
DEFINITION: A period of development of distinctive regional cultures in the central Andes of South America, c 1-600 AD (also said to be c 300-600 AD). The period was characterized by nationalism, full population, first large-scale irrigation works in coastal valleys, interregional warfare, construction of forts, craft specialization, social class distinctions, rise of first great Peruvian cities. Two of the better-known cultures are the Moche and Nasca civilizations. The Middle Horizon emerged from these expansions.
Early Khartoum
DEFINITION: A base camp site within modern Khartoum which provided the first clear picture of the so-called 'Aquatic Civilization'. The site had traces of sun-dried daub suggesting the presence of temporary structures. Fishing done with bone-headed harpoons was the economic basis of the settlement. Other artifacts include chipped and ground stone and pottery with 'wavy-line' decoration. Dates of 6th or 5th millennium BC seems probable; similar harpoons at Tagra, to the south, are dated to c 6300 BC.
Early Later Stone Age
CATEGORY: chronology
DEFINITION: An informal designation for the microlithic late Pleistocene Stone Age industry of some sites in South Africa. One such site is Border Cave, characterized by small backed pieces, bone points, ostrich eggshell beads, and incised bone and wood.
Early Lithic
CATEGORY: chronology
DEFINITION: A term applied to the earliest stage in New World history, when man first appeared and started hunting and gathering. The period is characterized by large projectile points and percussion-chipped stone tools suitable for the slaughter and butchering of big game.
Early Man Shelter
DEFINITION: An Australian rock shelter at Cape York, with patinated Panaramitee-style paintings and engravings of humans, animals, tracks, and abstract motifs. Charcoal from occupation deposits covering wall engravings yielded radiocarbon dates between 10,000-13,000 bp. The shelter also contained the oldest known remains of Sarcophilus harrisii (Tasmanian devil) in tropical Australia: it is now found only in Tasmania. Bone tools are present that are 3000-6000 years old.
Khufu (fl. early 26th century BC)
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Cheops, Khufwey, Khnomkhufwey
CATEGORY: person
DEFINITION: The second king (pharaoh) (reigned 2589-2566 BC) of the Egyptian 4th Dynasty (c 2575-2465 BC), during the Old Kingdom, and the successor of Snefru (2613-2589 BC). His name is an abbreviation of the phrase Khnum-kuefui ('Khnum protects me'). He was the builder/owner of the Great Pyramid at Giza, the largest of the ancient pyramids. The pyramid covers a ground area of 53,000 square meters and rises to a height of 148 meters, reflecting a complex and efficient organization of which the pharaoh was the head. Two of his sons, Djedefre (Redjedef) and Khafre, succeeded him.
Linear A
CATEGORY: language
DEFINITION: A syllabic script created by the Minoans and used in Crete and on other Aegean islands of Greece during the Neopalatial (early palace) period, c 1700-1450 BC (also c 2000/1900-1400 BC). The script has never been deciphered. It was inscribed on clay tablets as administrative records, as well as on stone (religious) vases and bronze double axes. Sir Arthur Evans named the Linear A and B scripts such to distinguish them from the hieroglyphic which preceded them; Linear A is the earlier of the two. Each is a syllabary, and was written with a sharp point on clay tablets. Linear A is of the Middle Minoan III-Late Minoan I. It is in some ways similar to Linear B and has pictograms reduced to formal outline patterns. Linear A tablets have been found in the palaces of Crete itself and also on the Cycladic islands of Melos, Keos, Kythera, Naxos and Thera.
Linear B
CATEGORY: language
DEFINITION: A syllabic script used in Minoan Crete and Mycenaean Greece from c 1450-1200 (also c 1500-1100) BC. Michael Ventris deciphered it in 1952 as an early form of Greek. It was created at Knossos when the Mycenaeans took control and spread to mainland Greece. It was mainly used at the palace sites of Mycenae, Pylos, Thebes, and Tiryns. Most of the Linear B writings are on clay tablets but also on terra-cotta jars that were traded throughout the Aegean region. The writings are administrative / economic in nature and its decipherment has thrown much light on the continuity between Bronze Age and classical Greece. They are from the Late Minoan II in Crete and Mycenaean III A-B on the mainland. It is probable that when the Mycenaeans overran the Minoans they adopted the script used on Crete, Linear A and adapted it for writing the Greek language; many signs were added to the existing Linear A signs.
Linear Elamite script
CATEGORY: language
DEFINITION: A syllabic script used in Elam for inscriptions c. 2200 BC. The earliest Elamite writings are in a figurative or pictographic script and date from the middle of the 3rd millennium BC. Documents from the second period, which lasted from the 16th to the 8th century BC, are written in cuneiform; the stage of the language found in these documents is sometimes called Old Elamite. The last period of Elamite texts is that of the reign of the Achaemenid kings of Persia (6th to 4th century BC), who used Elamite, along with Akkadian and Old Persian, in their inscriptions. The language of this period, also written in the cuneiform script, is often called New Elamite.
Linear Pottery culture
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Linearbandkeramik; LBK; Danubian I
CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: The earliest Neolithic culture of central Europe, western Ukraine to eastern France, between c 4500-3900 BC. It is so named after curvilinear incised patterns which make its pottery so recognizable. This was the first farming culture in central Europe, based on grain cultivation and domesticated livestock, lasting to 3200 BC on its periphery. The Linear Pottery core area stretches from eastern Hungary to the Netherlands, including settlement concentrations in the Pannonian Basin, Bohemia, Moravia, central Germany and the Rhineland. A second rapid expansion occurred eastwards round the northern rim of the Carpathians, from Poland to the Dnieper. Linear Pottery is characterized by incised and sometimes painted pottery (3/4 spherical bowl) with linear designs (curvilinear, zigzag, spiral, and meander patterns), polished stone shoe-last adzes, and a microlithic stone industry. Small cemeteries of individual inhumations are common as are longhouses with rectangular ground plans. The remarkable uniformity that characterized the Linear Pottery culture in its core area broke down after c 4000 BC and the cultures that emerged - Tisza, Lengyel, Stroke-Ornamented Ware, Rossen etc. - were more divergent in characteristics. It is most possible that it derived from the Körös culture of the northern Balkans.
DEFINITION: A lakeside village of the Iron Age on the Somerset Levels in southwest England with groups of mounds similar to those at nearby Glastonbury. The settlement consisted of about 40 round houses built on desiccated peat and with timber and brushwood floors. It was surrounded by a palisade and occupied from the 3rd century BC to the 1st century AD. The pottery dates from about 60 BC until about the time of the Roman invasions of the 1st century AD. The site was reoccupied during the 4th century. The Abbot's Tribunal, Glastonbury, houses some of the objects discovered during excavation.
Natal Early Iron Age
DEFINITION: A South African province of Natal which has traces of the furthest southeastern extension of the Early Iron Age complex of sub-Saharan Africa, which has been linked with the dispersal of peoples speaking Bantu languages. Evidence for Early Iron Age settlement is found in the fertile areas of the lower river valleys and dates from about the 4th century AD. Closely related sites are known from the Transvaal, as at Broederstroom and Lydenburg.
Near Oceania
CATEGORY: geography
DEFINITION: Those islands of the Pacific Ocean that can be reached by watercraft without going out of sight of land - basically comprising the Indonesian archipelago, the Philippines, New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands.
Preah Vihear
DEFINITION: A large mountaintop temple built by the Khmer king Suryavarman, located on the border of Thailand and northern Cambodia. It has been described as one of the most beautiful natural sites of the whole of Asia.
bag wear
DEFINITION: The damage that can occur to artifacts and ecofacts during excavation, transportation, and cataloging.
basal-looped spearhead
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Type of leaf-shaped socketed spearhead of the European middle Bronze Age which has two small holes or loops at the base of the blade, one either side of the socket. It is assumed that these were to assist in securing the metal spearhead to the wooden shaft, but they might also have been used to tie streamers of some kind to the top of the spear.
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.
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.
brown earth
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: brown forest soil, brown earths
CATEGORY: geology
DEFINITION: Brown forest soils that result from prolonged forestal conditions and which develops under mature deciduous woodland. Brown earths are thought to have covered most of the British Isles and temperate Europe under the great forests which existed during the middle of the present Interglacial. The soil type is penetrated by tree roots and actively worked by earthworms to a considerable depth. The top is well-mixed mineral material and humus. As a result of woodland cover being removed repeatedly, these soils are rare today.
cave bear
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.
cave earth
CATEGORY: geology
DEFINITION: A layer of earth forming the old floor of a cave before the depositing of stalagmite. The term also describes cave deposits of shattered boulders and pebbles that occur from frost and weathering.
clearing excavation
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.
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Contained by or consisting of a curved line or lines: these designs employ flowing, curvilinear forms
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Pointed or rounded projections from the base or hafting area of certain projectile points.
ear flare
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: ear-flare, eared (adj.)
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A large circular ear ornament, flared like the bell of a trumpet, which was often made of jade. The ear flare was an elaborate form of ear spool.
ear spool
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: An ornament worn in the ear lobe, sometimes of such weight that the ear might be stretched to shoulder-length.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: broad-eared, long-eared
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Having ears or earlike projections
early-stage biface
CATEGORY: lithics
DEFINITION: A biface in the initial step of manufacture, usually with sinuous edges and simple surface topography.
CATEGORY: geology
DEFINITION: A general term used to describe mixed material which dug from an excavation. Earth is not really the same as soil, which has a more precise definition, although earth may include material from soils in addition to material from other sources.
earth lodge
CATEGORY: structure
DEFINITION: In American Midwest and East cultures, any wood structure with an earthen covering used for shelter and ceremonies. They have hard-packed floors and/or postholes which are the remains of wall and roof supports.
earth sciences
CATEGORY: related field
DEFINITION: Sciences concerned with the study of formation processes that affect the earth's surface.
CATEGORY: ceramics
DEFINITION: Ceramics fired at temperatures high enough for vitrification to begin.
CATEGORY: feature
DEFINITION: Any early structure built from a mound or bank of earth, often created as fortification. In the plan of earthworks, the heads of the line of tadpoles" is the top or highest point.
DEFINITION: Any of nearly 2000 species of terrestrial worms which act as one of the main agents by which plant litter, humus, and minerals are incorporated and mixed in soil. Earthworms are responsible for the maintenance and stability of various types of soil, especially the brown forest soils. The character of a soil may change markedly if the plant litter made by the vegetation changes to a kind which is unpalatable to earthworms. The effects of earthworm sorting may be seen on archaeological sites in the blurring of layers and the development of worm-sorted layers in the top of buried soils. Earthworms usually remain near the soil surface, but they are known to tunnel as deep as 6 feet during periods of dryness or in winter. Indirectly they provide food for man by aerating the soil, promoting drainage, and drawing organic material into their burrows where it decomposes faster, thus producing more nutritive materials for growing plants.
fire hearth
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A flat piece of wood upon which a stick (drill) is twisted vigorously to start a fire.
forest clearance
CATEGORY: geography
DEFINITION: The cutting down of natural vegetation before the planting of crops or grazing of domestic animals. Early on, clearings would be produced by the slash and burn method. Evidence for this process is provided by pollen analysis, in the form of a sharp decline in the proportion of tree pollen, corresponding with a rise in the pollen of grasses, including the cereals, and weeds of cultivation, especially plantains and goosefoots.
CATEGORY: feature
DEFINITION: Any place where a pit was dug and a fire built, sometimes identified by charcoal, baked earth, ash, discoloration, or an outline of stones or clay footing. The site of an open domestic fire might have served as kiln or oven. Hearths often appear in one layer of soil after another as an archaeologist digs down through a site, and they are an indication of a succession of camps or habitations. Charcoal from a hearth can be dated by the radiocarbon method. Baked clay in a hearth can be dated by the palaeomagnetic method. Burnt earthen rims may provide oxidized material for archaeomagnetic dating. The hearth is often centrally located and has a variety of shapes and sizes.
CATEGORY: language
DEFINITION: A term describing a script composed of simply drawn lines with little attempt at pictorial representation, especially a form of cursive in which the hieroglyphs were sketched by outline only.
linear earthwork
CATEGORY: feature
DEFINITION: An earthwork, dike, ditch, or bank that is created in a straight line, not curving around to form an enclosure. Such earthworks were of various lengths and created for various purposes. Some Bronze and Iron Age examples may be ranch boundaries with no defensive value, but later Iron Age and the post-Roman Dark Age may be either boundary markers or defense works. Many of these later dikes cut across communication route or lines of easy access, and would have been an effective obstacle against chariots or wheeled vehicles.
linear regression analysis
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: A statistical procedure for determining the relationship between two variables. It has many applications in archaeology, as in the study of variations in population or the size of clay-pipe stems through time, or the relationship between the quantity of an item and the distance from its source. One variable (e.g. time or distance) is regarded as independent, while the second is dependent on it; from a set of know observations, it is possible to estimate the relationship between the two. Thus, given the population figures for different times in a region, it would be possible to predict the population for any other date. The method assumes that there is a linear relationship between the variables, and uses only one variable to explain all the variation in the other; these can be serious limitations.
looped spearhead
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A type of bronze spearhead common in the middle Bronze Age of Europe which has a pair of small loops cast into the outside of the hafting socket near the base. It is assumed that these loops were to assist in securing the shaft to the spearhead itself.
CATEGORY: lithics
DEFINITION: The patterns of edge damage on a stone tool providing archaeological evidence of the ways in which that tool was used. Microscopic scratches and polish on the surface of stone tools or hominid teeth might reveal how various tools were used or what types of food certain hominids ate.
microwear analysis
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: The study of the patterns of wear or damage on the edge of stone tools, which provides valuable information on the way in which the tool was used.
middle-range research
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.
multilinear cultural evolution
DEFINITION: A theory of cultural evolution that sees each human culture evolving in its own way by adaptation to diverse environments. It is sometimes divided into four broad stages of evolving of social organization: band, tribe, chiefdom, and state-organized society. It is often defined by these four general levels of complexity rather than seeing all societies as pursuing a single course.
nearest-neighbor analysis
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: nearest-neighbor statistic
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: A method of analyzing the extent to which two-dimensionally located points are randomly distributed; a measure of the relationship between a cluster of points in a pattern based on the expected value and the observed value. The statistic equals observed value divided by expected value. This method of analyzing the degree of dispersion in a distribution pattern was first developed by plant ecologists studying the concentration of certain species. A nearest-neighbor index (usually denoted by the symbol R), is calculated from the ratio of the average observed distance from each point in the pattern to its nearest neighbor, to the average distance expected if the pattern were randomly distributed, which depends solely on the density of the pattern being studied. The index R varies from 0.00 for a totally clustered pattern through 1.00 for a random distribution to a maximum of 2.15 for a completely regularly spaced pattern. The index is influenced by the size of the study area chosen; it is therefore essential to select a relevant framework for the distribution being studied. With any boundary, however, it is possible for the index to be distorted by the 'boundary effect' to give a figure closer to the maximum than would be justified; this arises because the nearest neighbors of points near to the boundary may in fact lie beyond the boundary and hence not be properly counted, thus increasing the figure for the observed mean distance. It is also essential that the points in the pattern being analyzed are of the same date and similar function, and that the pattern should be complete. The index R describes only a part of the total pattern and can serve as a useful basis for asking more detailed questions about the factors that underlie the observed pattern. The technique has been useful to archaeologists studying the distribution of sites over a landscape and their relation to each other.
nuclear DNA
CATEGORY: flora; fauna
DEFINITION: The DNA present in the chromosomes within the nucleus of a cell.
nuclear area
DEFINITION: A location where large, complex societies occur at different times, such as the valley of central Mexico. The term also is defined as the focus of activity in a site, such as a camp or village around which hunting or agricultural activity takes place.
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A form of earthenware, developed by Wedgwood (1775-79) as a whiter version of its creamware body. A greater quantity of white clay was used in the body and the transparent lead glaze included traces of cobalt, giving the surface a pearly white appearance. It was soon adopted by other potteries, such as Spode, Leeds, and Swansea.
pegged spearhead
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A variety of socketed spearhead common in the European late Bronze Age in which the shaft is secured to the metal head by means of a metal or wooden peg set at right angles to the main axis of the shaft passing through a pair of opposed holes in the metal casing of the socket.
regnal year
CATEGORY: chronology
DEFINITION: A year reckoned from the date or anniversary of a monarch's accession to the throne, e.g. in his eighth regnal year. At times documents were dated by a king's regnal year. Before the time of Alexander the Great the first regnal year was the new year following the king's accession.
research design
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.
research proposal
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: A formally presented research design or strategy describing an intended project and its predicted results.
research question
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: A specific question (or questions) that archaeologists ask when preparing a research program and seek to answer when executing that program.
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A type of stress or force in which parts of a pottery body slip or slide relative to each other
socketed spearhead
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A type of spearhead typical of the middle and later stages of the European Bronze Age in which an elongated hollow was cast into the base of the blade to receive the shaped end of the wooden spear shaft. Some socketed spearheads are fixed to the shaft by means of a peg set at right angles through the metal walls of the spearhead and the wooden shaft within; others are secured by lashings fixed to loops cast into the base of the metal spearhead.
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A pole weapon with a sharp point, either thrown or thrust at an enemy or prey, one of the earliest weapons created by man and dating back to Palaeolithic times. They were originally a sharpened stick and some were made of stone, shaped and fixed to the shaft by thongs and possibly resins. In the Bronze Age, they were made of that metal and had a tang for riveting the head to the shaft. Later, the tang was replaced by a socket into which the shaft fitted. The Iron Age spears retained this feature and were sometimes decorated with La Tène designs.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: spear thrower, spearthrower, throwing stick, atlatl, woomera
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A device which increases the power with which a spear can be hurled; a long stick with a hooked end which holds the butt of a spear. The implement usually has finger grips at one end. The device thus becomes an artificial extension of the thrower's arm, giving him increased leverage and range and allowing the thrower to hurl a spear accurately a much greater distance than he could by unaided hand. Spear throwers were used in Europe during the Palaeolithic and throughout the New World in pre-Columbian times, where they were known as atlatls. Spear throwers made of reindeer antler are characteristic of the Magdalenian period in Europe. Similar devices were used in the Arctic, and in Australia, where they are often called woomeras.
CATEGORY: lithics
DEFINITION: Bifacially flaked points - or a thrusting blade mounted on a long shaft (spear) as a weapon for war or hunting. Early examples in flint were usually leaf-shaped, and hafted simply in a cleft in the spear shaft. In the Early Bronze Age, bronze dagger blades were made and ferrules added. The socketed spearhead came when these were cast in one piece with the blade.
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: The tip of a projectile, used for throwing, thrusting, or stabbing.
thrusting spear
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A handheld spear used for stabbing rather than throwing.
unilinear cultural evolution
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: unilinear evolution
DEFINITION: A 19th-century evolutionary theory holding that all human cultures pass through the same sequence of evolutionary changes or stages, from simple hunting and gathering to literate civilization. Lewis H. Morgan described seven stages, or ethnical periods, from lower savagery, barbarism, to civilization.
unlooped socketed spearhead
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A large metal projectile point typical of the later Bronze Age in Europe that was mounted on a wooden shaft by way of a socket cast into the base of the object, usually with a hole to allow a peg to pass through the socket walls and the shaft to ensure secure attachment. Such spearheads lack the loops of earlier designs which seem to have been used to tie the spearhead to the shaft.
use-wear analysis
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: edge-wear analysis; usewear analysis; microwear analysis; use wear analysis
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: The examination and study of the edges and surfaces of artifacts, mainly stone tools, to determine the type of wear they have experienced and thus the tasks for which they were used. Microscopic analysis is used to detect signs of wear on working edges.
use-wear striae
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: use-wear stigmata
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Polish, striations, breakage, or minor flaking which develop on a tool's edge during use. Microscopic examination and study of the wear may indicate the past function of tools.
year formula
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: date formula; year-name
CATEGORY: language
DEFINITION: A phase in Mesopotamia when cuneiform documents provide dates for significant events in relation to a given year in a king's reign. Dating by year formula, done from Akkadian through Old Babylonian times, provides a basic framework for the political history of southern Mesopotamia. The Assyrians did not, unlike the Babylonians, use year formulas containing interesting historical details; instead, every year was designated by the name of a high official (eponymic dating). The reconstruction of Hammurabi's rule is based mainly on his date formulas; years were named for a significant act the king had performed in the previous year or at the beginning of the year thus named.

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