SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: phase CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: A group of components that share high frequencies of similar cultural traits. The components will probably not be identical but should have a sufficient number of significant traits in common to indicate a relationship.
CATEGORY: structure DEFINITION: The name of a rectangular stoneplatform, the largest with stepped sides, which was a focus of court rituals in prehistoric Eastern Polynesian temples (marae). Most of these platforms are found in the Society Islands, and on Easter Island, where ahu were statue foundations.
CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: Small painted apelike busts that were the focus of ancestor worship in Egypt's New Kingdom. Many were of limestone or sandstone, with some smaller examples made of wood and clay.
CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: Small painted apelike busts that were the focus of ancestor worship in Egypt's New Kingdom. Many were of limestone or sandstone, with some smaller examples made of wood and clay.
CATEGORY: branch DEFINITION: The use of geological techniques and methods to archaeological work. It is different from geoarchaeology in that the latter is a subfield of archaeology focusing on the physical context of deposits.
CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: In the prehistoric New World, a complex of buildings that served as the focus of religious and governmental activities, differing from a village or town. These buildings were used at prescribed times by the peoples lived in a dispersed areas. Permanent residence was restricted to very few people on these sites, usually the elite and their retainers. Sites such as Teotihuacan, Tikal, and Monte Alban, have been interpreted as ceremonial centers. However, subsequent fieldwork beyond the major architectural features has shown that many sites were directly associated with large populations and thus challenges the original premise of their being ceremonial centers. Other more valid examples may be La Venta and San Lorenzo.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: focus; phase CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: A culturally homogeneous stratigraphic layer within a site that belongs to one culture and is interpreted as the remains of a single people during a relatively brief period of time. At a particular site, there may be present several components, recognized by critical changes in the artifact assemblages. A number of similar and contemporary components make up a phase.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: CRM CATEGORY: branch DEFINITION: A professional area of archaeology that focuses on the protection of archaeological sites from urban development, energy exploration, or natural processes. It is the legally mandated conservation, protection, and management of sites and artifacts as a means of protecting the past. Safeguarding the archaeological heritage is done through the protection of sites and salvage archaeology (rescue archaeology). This branch of archaeology is also concerned with developing policies and action in regard to the preservation and use of cultural resources.
Denbigh Flint complex
CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: An Arctic Small ToolTraditionflintindustry found at Cape Denbigh, Iyatayet, Cape Krusenstern, Onion Portage, and other Alaskan sites. The typical artifacts are finely workedmicroblade tools (bladelets, small crescents), burins, and bifacially pressure-flaked points. The Denbigh complex had developed by c 3200 BC. The Arctic Small tooltradition spread eastwards over the whole Arctic zone from Alaska to Greenland and contributed to the earliest Eskimo cultures. Land mammals seem to have been the primary focus of subsistenceactivity.
electron probe microanalysis
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: electron probe microanalyzer CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A physical method of chemical analysis which can determine the constituent elements in metal, stone, glass, pigments/stains, and pottery/ceramics. The technique is slightly destructive, requiring the removal of a small sample from the artifact. An electron beam is used to excite the atomic electrons and the result is the emission of secondary X-rays with characteristic wavelengths for the elements concerned. The beam can be focused on to a very small area of the specimen, and can be moved around to sample different points: thus the method is particularly useful for the study of surface enrichment in metals and of pigments. It can be used with samples as small as 10 -11 cubic centimeter and is similar to XRF (X-ray fluorescence spectrometry).
First Intermediate Period
CATEGORY: chronology DEFINITION: Chronological phase, c 2130-1938 BC) between the Old Kingdom (2575-2130 BC) and the Middle Kingdom (1938-1600 BC), which appears to have been a time of relative political disunity and instability. The period includes the 9th dynasty (c 2130-2080 BC), 10th dynasty (c 2080-1970 BC), and the 11th dynasty (c 2081-1938 BC). The 9th dynasty (c. 2130-2080 BC). (The period corresponds to Manetho's 7th to 10th Dynasties and the early part of the 11th Dynasty.) After the end of the 8th dynasty, the throne passed to kings from Heracleopolis, who made their native city the capital. Major themes of inscriptions of the period are the provision of food supplies for people in times of famine and the promotion of irrigation works. In the 10th dynasty, a period of generalized conflict focused on twin dynasties at Thebes and Heracleopolis. The 11th dynasty made Thebes its capital. In the First Intermediate Period, monuments were erected by a larger section of the population and, in the absence of central control, internal dissent and conflicts of authority became visible in public records. Nonroyal individuals took over some of the privileges of royalty, notably identification with Osiris in the hereafter and the use of the Pyramid Texts. These were incorporated into a more extensive corpus inscribed on coffins -- the Coffin Texts -- and continued to be inscribed during the Middle Kingdom.
Glob, Peter Vilhelm (1911-1985)
CATEGORY: person DEFINITION: A Danish archaeologist who wrote An Archaeological History from the Stone Age to the Vikings" (also published as "Danish Prehistoric Monuments" 1971; originally published in Danish 1942) "The Mound People: Danish Bronze-Age Man Preserved" (1974 reissued 1983; originally published in Danish 1970) and "The Bog People: Iron Age Man Preserved" (1969 reissued 1988; originally published in Danish 1965). His writings focused on the bog bodies of Tollund and Grauballe; he was also Director General of Museums and Antiquities in Denmark."
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A valley on eastern Molokai, Hawaiian Islands, which has been the focus of intensive archaeological research. Major sites include one of the earliest Hawaiian settlements at the valley mouth (c 600-1200), and inside the valley are many irrigated taro terraces which documentintensification of cultivation and perhaps political development at a late stage of Hawaiian prehistory (after 1500).
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Haithabu, Haddeby CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: An important Vikingsettlement in northern Germany and one of the earliest Scandinavian urban centers, established in the late 8th century. It is situated on a fjord, defended by a large earthrampart. Between 800-1050, Hedeby was a major trading center and many imported luxury goods have been found, especially in graves. Excavation has revealed many wooden buildings, well preserved in waterlogged conditions, and evidence of industrial and commercial activity. It served as an early focus of national unification and as a crossroads for Western-Eastern European and European-Western Asian trade.
CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: A system of thought or action that emphasizes the importance of intuition and feelings in the acquisition of knowledge rather than a scientific focus.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: total archaeology CATEGORY: branch DEFINITION: The study of individual features including settlements seen as single components within the broader perspective of the patterning of human activity over a wide area. It is the recovery of the story of an area of countryside using all possible techniques -- surface scatters, field and other boundaries, standing buildings, as well as excavation. This approach within archaeology emphasizes examination of the complete landscape, focusing on dispersed features and on areas between and surrounding traditional sites as well as on the sites themselves.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: manorial system, seignorialism, seignorial system CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: A political, economic, and social system by which the peasants of medieval Europe were dependent on their land and on their lord. Its basic unit was the manor, a self-sufficient landed estate, or fief, that was under the control of a lord who enjoyed a variety of rights over it and the peasants who were serfs. It was the focus of the feudal societies that developed in western Europe form the 8th-9th centuries. Well-known examples are 10th-12th-century sites of Goltho in Lincolnshire and Sulgrave in Northamptonshire for the Anglo-Norman period, and Wintringham, Lincolnshire, and Hound Tor, Devon, for the later Middle Ages. Houses of feudal lords from the 11th and 12th centuries in northern and western France have been excavated as well as small castles inside fortified villages, as at Rougiers in Provence or in Renaissance villages in Tuscany.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Term meaning land between the (two) rivers" the area between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in western Asia (modern Iraq) which encompasses various ancient kingdoms. This land was the home of the world's earliest civilization that of the Sumerians and of the later Babylonian Akkadian and Assyrian civilizations. The chronology of the prehistoric periods is based on radiocarbon dates; the historical periods' chronology is based on a combination of documentary sources and calendrical information. The area was the focus of the development of complex societies until the collapse of Mesopotamia at the end of the 1st millennium BC. The geography of the area allowed the development of husbandry agriculture and permanent settlements. Trade with other regions also flourished irrigation techniques were created as well as pottery and other crafts building methods based on clay bricks were developed and elaborate religious cults evolved. The birth of the city took place in the 4th millennium BC and the invention of writing occurred about 3000 BC -- both in Sumer. Excavations of Sumerian cities (EriduKishUrukIsinLagash Ur) have yielded thousands of clay tablets inscribed with cuneiformwriting. Sargon the king of Akkad fought wars of conquest from the Mediterranean to the Zagros and ruled over history's first empire. The Akkadians were a Semitic people and their Akkadianlanguage became the common vocabulary. The Akkadian rule only about two centuries. After that Ur (c 2112-2004 BC) the parallel dynasties of Isin and Larsa (to c 1763 BC) and then Babylon were the powers. The outstanding ruler of Babylon was Hammurabi (c 1792-1750 BC) who is best known for the code of laws he had inscribed on a great stela. From about 1600-1450 BC Babylonian culture declined as the Hurrians and the Kassites migrated into Mesopotamia and established themselves as rulers. Some time after 1500 BC the Mitannikingdom extended its rule over much of northern Mesopotamia. The language of the kingdom was Hurrian but its rulers may have been of Aryan origin. Toward the end of the 15th century BC the city of Ashur in northern Mesopotamia a region that came to be known as Assyria began its rise. By 1350 BC the Assyrian empire was well-established and its kings conquered large areas from the Mitannikingdom the Kassites and the Hittites. Another Babylonian dynasty known as the 2nd dynasty of Isin revived the greatness of the Old Empire under Nebuchadrezzar I (c 1119-1098). Assyria reached new heights of power under Tiglath-pileser I (c 1115-1077) and Ashurnasirpal II (883-859). Between 746-727 BC the Neo-Assyrian empire formed and subdued the Aramaeans who had settled much of Babylonia and then conquered Urartu Syria Israel and other areas. The empire reached its after conquering Egypt in 671 and then the reign of Ashurbanipal (668-627) but its rapid decline came soon after attacks by the Medes Scythians and Babylonians. The Assyrian empire was crushed in 609. Babylon's Nebuchadrezzar II (605-561) is best known for his destruction of Jerusalem in 588/587 and his forcing of thousands of Jews into the "Babylonian exile." The Neo-Babylonian empire ended in 539 when Nabonidus surrendered to Cyrus II of Persia. Under the Persians and Alexander the Great Babylon was a rich capital. The Seleucid kings ruled Mesopotamia from about 312 BC until the middle of the 2nd century BC. In the 2nd century BC Mesopotamia became part of the Parthian empire. Human occupation of Mesopotamia began some time around 6000 BC. The prehistoric cultural stages of Hassuna-Samarra' and Halaf succeeded each other here before there is evidence of settlement in the south (Sumer). There the earliest settlements such as Eridu appear to have been founded around 5000 BC in the late Halafperiod. From then on the cultures of the north and south move through a succession of major archaeological periods that in their southern forms are known as UbaidWarka Protoliterate and Early Dynastic at the end of which -- shortly after 3000 BC -- recorded history begins. The historical periods of the 3rd millennium are in order: Akkad Gutium 3rd dynasty of Ur; those of the 2nd millennium: Isin-Larsa Old Babylonian Kassite and Middle Babylonian; and those of the 1st millennium: Assyrian Neo-Babylonian Achaemenian Seleucid and Parthian."
Midwestern Taxonomic System
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: midwestern taxonomic system; McKern taxonomic system CATEGORY: term; technique DEFINITION: A hierarchical framework devised by William McKern in 1939 to systematize historical sequences in the Great Plains area of the United States, using the general principle of similarities between artifact assemblages. It was used to organize artifacts and sites in North America before World War II and is still in widespread use in modified form. One occupational unit of a particular culture was called a component. Related components were grouped into a focus, representing a cultureunit approximating a tribe. Related foci constituted a pattern, and related patterns constituted a base, the highest level in the system. Classification was based strictly on similarities between compared units without regard to their respective ages. Many of the names of cultures are still called foci and the standard definition of a component is a single unit of occupation. Most units formerly called foci are now called phases, which have temporal as well as descriptive meaning.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: morphology CATEGORY: typology DEFINITION: A descriptive and abstract grouping of individual artifacts whose focus is on overall similarity rather than specific form or function. The shape, size, and superficial characteristics of artifacts, features, structure, sites, etc., provided by measurements (including weight) that permit comparative statistical analysis of attributes and frequencies.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: morphological typology CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: A descriptive and abstract grouping of individual artifacts whose focus is on overall similarity rather than specific form or function. The shape, size, and superficial characteristics of artifacts, features, structure, sites, etc., provided by measurements (including weight) that permit comparative statistical analysis of attributes and frequencies.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: morphological type; morphology CATEGORY: typology DEFINITION: A descriptive and abstract grouping of individual artifacts whose focus is on overall similarity rather than specific form or function. The shape, size, and superficial characteristics of artifacts, features, structure, sites, etc., provided by measurements (including weight) that permit comparative statistical analysis of attributes and frequencies.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: multivariate explanation, multivariate analysis, multivariate techniques CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: Having or involving a number of independent mathematical or statistical variables. In reference to analysis or explanation, it is a perspective that views several interacting variables simultaneously rather than focusing on one variate at a time, as in univariate analysis. This approach is used to generate explanations of culture change, e.g. the origin of the state, which, in contrast to monocausal approaches, stresses the interaction of several factors operating simultaneously. Some multivariate techniques (e.g. cluster analysis and discriminant analysis) analyze the distribution of the items under study within hyperspace, reporting their results as a table or plot. Other techniques (e.g. principal components, discriminant functions, multidimensional scaling) mathematically reduce the number of dimensions of the space. Typically, a multidiminesional distribution may be reduced to two or three dimensions, after which it may be plotted or analyzed by conventional statistics.
CATEGORY: term 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: term; technique DEFINITION: A term generally referring to an archaeological unit defined by artifacts and cultural traits that distinguish it from other units. It is an archaeological unit defined by characteristic groupings of culture traits that can be identified precisely in time and space. It lasts for a relatively short time and is found at one or more sites in a locality or region. Therefore, it is an interval of time in the archaeological record, especially a relatively limited time within a specific locality or region and often used to represent a distinct prehistoric people. The archaeologist abstracts the phase from a number of components which occupy a certain area in space and the same span in time and which share many or most of their distinctive features with each other. These components may represent units as small as tribal camps or as large as cities. It is similar to focus" in the Midwestern Taxonomic System and to "culture" in the Old World."
CATEGORY: structure; feature DEFINITION: An open square in ancient cities of the New World, similar to the Roman forum, which was the focus for meetings and events. It is usually an unroofed, but architecturally enclosed, space, around or within which are placed platform mounds and their associated buildings, such as palaces and temples.
CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: Code of laws adopted in Japan in 702 AD, marking the shift from Yamato to Ritsuryo state administration. The ritsuryo system refers to the governmental structure defined by ritsu, the criminal code, and ryo, the administrative and civil codes. Such a system had long been in force in China, and the Japanese ritsuryo was an imitation of the lü-ling of T'ang China and incorporated many of its original articles. The Ritsuryo state used the T'ang dynastymodel of capital city, from which trunk routes radiated. These formed the focus of regional administrative districts, which were further divided into provinces with provincial capitals. In this system, the emperor was an absolute monarch and the people were divided into two classes, freemen and slaves.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Historic city of Italy located on the Tiber River in central Italy. The historical site of Rome on the Seven Hills -- the Aventine, Caelian, Capitoline, Esquiline, Palatine, Quirinal, and Viminal -- was occupied as early as c 900 BC, but continuoussettlement by Indo-European peoples did not take place until the beginning of the 1st millennium BC. By the early 6th century BC, a politically unified city had emerged. The Romans gradually conquered the Italian peninsula, extended their dominion over the entire Mediterranean, and expanded their empire into continental Europe toward the Atlantic. As the capital of this empire, Rome became the site of grandiose palaces, temples, public baths, theaters, stadiums, and other public buildings. The focus of the city was the Forum. Ancient Rome reached the peak of its grandeur and ancient population during the late 1st and early 2nd centuries AD.
CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: Output from a substantial Roman potteryindustry focused in northwest Wiltshire, especially the area now known as Savernake Forest. A number of kilns have been excavated and together suggest a nucleated industry comprising many separate workshops. The pottery itself is typically light grey in color, flint-tempered, with clay pellets and grog visible in the fabric. Typical products include jars, bowls, flagons, butt beakers, and platters. Output starts at about the time of the Roman conquest or a little before and continues through into the later 2nd century AD.
scanning electron microscopy
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: SEM CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A technique used to gain information on the microscopic and submicroscopic structure of a wide range of materials ceramics, metals, stone, teeth, hair etc. It involves a type of electron microscope (SEM) in which a beam of electrons systematically sweeps over the specimen, the electron beam passing through a series of magnetic lenses which demagnify the beam diameter. The backscattered electrons and secondary electrons emitted are detected by means of a scintillation or semiconductor counter. The angle at which the beam hits the surface of the specimen determines the number of backscattered and secondary electrons detected, and thus the pattern of contrast represents the topography and elements of the specimen. The signal from these emissions is processed and an image of the object is displayed on a screen. Its advantages over transmission electron microscopy include a greater depth of focus at high magnification and its ability to deal with specimens of much greater bulk, making it less destructive. The chemical composition of the material of the surface can also be deduced from the backscattered electrons. No elaborate specimen-preparation techniques are required for examination in the scanning electron microscope, and large and bulky specimens may be accommodated.
CATEGORY: structure; artifact DEFINITION: A Buddhist monument consisting of a circular or hemispherical mound with a domelike casing of stone, often tiled, and intended to contain relics of the Buddha or of a Buddhist saint. Existing in China, Japan, Korea, India, Java, and Southeast Asia, stupas are often the focus of a monastery. They are surrounded by a decorative railing showing the Buddha's life and mythological figures. The Mauryan emperor Asoka is said to have built 84,000 stupas, including the most famous at Sanchi (Madhya Pradesh, c 2nd century BC). Hindus of the Jainist sect built stupas commemorating saints.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: Artifact analysis focused on form and function as well as the decorative styles used by the makers, used very often for ceramics.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: ancient Shiz; Takht-i-Suleyman CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Site in Azerbaijan, northwest Iran, which was an important religious site in the Parthian, Sassanian and Islamic periods. In the Parthianperiod, it was surrounded by a mudbrick wall; the Sassanians added a further outer wall of stone. To the Sassanianperiod belong a palace and a firetemple, which was the focus of a pilgrimage center. The Gushnasp fire was the ancient fire of the Magi (in Media), but it came to be the symbol of the monarchic and religious unity.
CATEGORY: related field DEFINITION: The study of the transformation of organic remains after death to form fossil and archaeological remains. The study includes the processes that disturb and damage bones before, during, and after burial -- burial, decay, and preservation. The term combines the Greek word for tomb or burial (taphos) with that for law (nomos). The focus is on an understanding of the processes resulting in the archaeological record.
CATEGORY: tool DEFINITION: An instrument used in archaeology for surveying sites, especially for measuring horizontal and vertical angles. The accurate plotting of excavation trenches can be carried out and it can also be used in place of a level for determining heights and contours. There are different types of theodolite, though all include the focusing telescope, a leveling device, and scales for measuring horizontal and vertical angles. Vertical readings are easier to take on the theodolite than on the transit. The focusing telescope is mounted so that it freely rotates around horizontal and vertical axes; the telescope is usually fitted with a right-angle prism so that the observer continues to look horizontally into the eyepiece, whatever the variation of the elevation angle. Theodolites are frequently used in archaeology for setting out excavation units, mapping sites and environments, and for topographic mapping.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Titterington Focus CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: A non-ceramic Late Archaic culture of the Midwest, c 2500-1900 BC, with small hunting and processing camps, base settlements, and mortuary sites. The artifacts include bifaces and were not heat-treated.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Transhumance; Transhumant CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: A subsistence practice which forms one aspect of seasonality of occupation; the transfer of cattle from summer to winter pasture and vice versa. It consists of the movement of farmers and their herds and flocks away from the winter settlement to upland pasture. Spring to autumn is spent on high pasture and in winter animals are taken to a main settlement, often in sheltered valleys, where fodder has been collected. This movement of farmers results in the occupation of two sites at different times of the year by the same group of people. In Europe and the Old World, the term is for pastoralist farmers and livestock. In the New World, the term is used for any animal-and-human migration. Identification of transhumance patterns is a focus of palaeoeconomy.
transmission electron microscopy
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A technique used to examine the internal and surface structure and microstructure of materials such as metals, ceramics, and stone. A type of electron microscope is used in which the specimen transmits an electron beam focused on it, image contrasts are formed by the scattering of electrons out of the beam, and various magnetic lenses perform functions analogous to those of ordinary lenses in a light microscope. The sample must be very thin for examination of its internal structure; this is achieved either by grinding and depositing the material on to carbon film, or by preparing thin foils of metallic or non-metallic material by electropolishing or ion-thinning techniques. It is possible to study in detail such things as the wear marks on stone tools or the techniques of potterymaking through examination of the surface.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Burial in northwest Kansas with 61 disarticulated individuals and Harlan cord-roughened pottery, Scallorn arrow points, hundreds of disk shell beads, and shell pendants. It belongs to the Keith Focus of the Woodland Stage and the burials are in 14+ pits.
Worsaae, Jens Jacob Asmussen (1821-1886)
CATEGORY: person DEFINITION: Danish archaeologist who laid the foundations for the study of prehistory. He was the successor to Christian J. Thomsen at the National Museum at Copenhagen and he applied the Three Age System to stone monuments. He wrote Danmarks Oldtid oplyst ved Oldsager og Gravhøie" ("The Primeval Antiquities of Denmark" 1843) which introduced such other concepts as nomenclature typology and diffusion and discusses the value and principles of prehistoric research. He focused on the study of excavated artifacts particularly in their geographic and stratigraphic contexts. His standards and professionalism put him ahead of his time."
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: X-ray milliprobe analysis; x-ray milliprobe analysis CATEGORY: tool; technique DEFINITION: A specialized type of X-ray fluorescence spectrometry which satisfies the particular requirements of certain artifacts. The principle is the same as for X-ray fluorescence spectrometry, but an instrument directs a highly focused X-ray beam at a desired point(s) on the sample surface. Secondary X-rays emitted from this point are then directed to a detector and analyzed. The spectrometer is outside the artifact, in contrast to standard X-ray spectrometry where the specimen is inside the spectrometer. The advantage that the X-ray milliprobe has over the electron probe microanalyzer is the ease with which samples can be prepared. The technique has flexibility and the ability to analyze microscopic areas.