CATEGORY: ceramics DEFINITION: A framework for studying ceramics from the perspective of the manufacturing steps and use, analogous to the Chaine opératoire in lithic analysis.
CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: A term describing the dynamic relationship between human society and its environment, in which culture is viewed as the primary adaptive mechanism in the relationship.
CATEGORY: related field DEFINITION: The study of entire assemblages of living organisms and their physical milieus, which together constitute an integrated system. In archaeology, ecology seeks to reconstruct the past environment of man and his impact upon it. The term encompasses the relationship of plants and animals with their environment -- climate, geology, soils, vegetation, other animals, man-made structures. Environmental archaeology is concerned with the ecology of man, but also with the ecology of other animals and plants living in the same environment.
CATEGORY: related field DEFINITION: The systematic study of the dynamic interrelationships between humans and their environments.
CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: The reconstruction and study of an ancient environments and ecologies.
CATEGORY: measure DEFINITION: In paleontology, a technique for the relative chronology of deposits based on the assumption that the set of fossils found in a deposit reflects the paleoecology of a particular time and place.
CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: Those elements of the habitat created or modified by human cultures; a component of the total environment as seen by cultural ecology.
Kurtén, Björn (1924-1988)
CATEGORY: person DEFINITION: Finnish palaeontologist who studied Pleistocene mammals of the Holarctic, contributing to our knowledge of their environments and of human palaeoecology.
CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: In ecology, the smallest unit of a habitat that is occupied by an organism. Habitat niche refers to the physical space occupied by the organism; ecological niche refers to the role it plays in the community of organisms found in the habitat (sometimes referred to as an animal's profession). Niche is also the functional role of an organism within a community; not only where that organism lives, but also what it does and eats, how it responds to the environment, and how it is constrained by other species and external forces.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: palaeo-, pale-, palae- CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: A combining form meaning old, ancient, or prehistoric; involved or dealing with ancient forms or conditions and former geologic time periods. Special sciences are devoted to paleoastronomy, paleobotany, paleoecology, paleoethnobotany, paleozoology, etc.
CATEGORY: geography DEFINITION: Nonbiotic elements of the habitat created or modified by natural forces; a component of the total environment as seen by cultural ecology.
CATEGORY: fauna DEFINITION: A gastropod, especially one having an enclosing shell, into which it may retract completely for protection. Land snail shells are frequently preserved in buried soils, the fills of ditches, and other deposits over limestone subsoils and sometimes fill a gap in environmental reconstruction. Other species are: shade-loving snails, open-country snails, and intermediate or catholic species that live in a variety of habitats -- including many of the more common species of snail. Using these categories of snail ecology, the relative frequencies of shell fragments from different species, extracted from deposits and soils, can be used to reconstruct ancient environments.
Steward, Julian Haynes (1902-1972)
CATEGORY: person DEFINITION: American anthropologist and archaeologist who influenced archaeological theory, emphasizing that the goals of both disciplines were the same: understanding of cultural change and the plotting of that change on spatial and temporal planes. His best-known book was Theory of Culture Change: the Methodology of Multilinear Evolution" (1955) and he also wrote "Handbook of South American Indians" (1946-1950) and "Irrigation Civilizations" (1955). He carried out fieldwork in the Great Basin British Columbia and the Andes planned and helped establish the Virú Valley project. He worked for the use of evolutionary and ecological thought in anthropology and archaeology; he is known as the as the founder of the theory of cultural ecology."
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: An approach to archaeology that involves three models of cultural change: systems models, cultural ecology, and multilinear evolution.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Valley on the north coast of Peru, which was the scene of the first serious attempt to study a regional settlement pattern in the New World. The aim was to study the relationship between sitefunction and location, and between settlement patterns, ecology, and cultural development over a long period of time. The settlements pattern approach uses locational and environmental interrelationships between sites (over a broad region) as a means of interpreting prehistoric cultures. A comprehensive project of survey and excavation has taken place in this valley.