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
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A specific hypothesis, deduced from a generalization or general law, which can then be directly tested against data.
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.
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.
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.
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.
CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: Theory that domestication allowed certain individuals to accumulate food surplus and to make that food into more valued items.
CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: The hypothesis that all modern humans are descended from a common first mother who lived in southern Africa about 200,000 years ago. The Eve" theory is similar to the Noah's Ark model and is based on genetic research showing that as modern humans spread throughout the world they rarely if at all interbred with existing but more archaic humans such as the Neanderthals. The "Eve" theory does not imply a creationist view only that there has been a chance survival of a single line of mitochondrial DNA."
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.
CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: A replica of a balsa raft constructed by Thor Heyerdahl in 1947 to test the hypothesis that South American Indians could have drifted into Polynesia. This was the type of raft used in the 16th century AD along the coasts of Ecuador and northern Peru. He sailed the raft from South America to the Tuamotu Archipelago to show that Indians could have reached Polynesia. Archaeological evidence, however, has shown that any contacts were only of a minor nature.
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.
Noah's Ark model
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: replacement hypothesis CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: A theory that modern humans originated in a single area of Africa and spread throughout the world, replacing other, more archaic, human types. This view is supported by the so-called Eve" theory which postulates that all modern humans are descended from a common mother. The opposing hypothesis is often called the candelabra model."
CATEGORY: measure DEFINITION: The probability of a type I error or willingness to reject a true hypothesis.
Type I error
CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: The error of inadvertently rejecting a true hypothesis.