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climatic change hypothesis
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: The idea that environmental variables, as climate, influence the course of events. This hypothesis has been used to explain the extinction of megafauna and the origins of agriculture.
edge hypothesis
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: The theory that the need for more food was initially felt at the margins of the natural habitat of the ancestors of domesticated animals and plants
experimental hypothesis
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: A specific hypothesis, deduced from a generalization or general law, which can then be directly tested against data.
hypothesis
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: pl. hypotheses
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: A proposition or theory, often derived from a broader generalization or law, that postulates relationships between two or more variables, based on assumptions but not yet proven. It must be tested on independent evidence; discarded hypotheses are signs of growth and advance.
hypothesis testing
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.
McKellar hypothesis
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: A principle stating that very small items, when no longer useful, will be discarded at their original location rather than disposed of elsewhere; thus such an item found at a specific site can be presumed to have been actually used at that site. The hypothesis was formulated by Judith McKellar, American archaeologist.
oasis hypothesis
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: A theory about the origins of agriculture that domestication began as a symbiotic relationship between humans, animals, and plants at oases during the drying of the Near East at the end of the Pleistocene; associated with V. Gordon Childe and others. Both humans and animals and plants would have gathered around the few oases or water sources, and humans would gradually come to control many other species.
population pressure hypothesis
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: A theory that population increase in the Near East/Southwest Aisa upset the balance between people and food, forcing people to turn to an agricultural way of life, credited to Lewis Binford.
social hypothesis
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: Theory that domestication allowed certain individuals to accumulate food surplus and to make that food into more valued items.

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