SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: AMS technique; AMS radiocarbon dating CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A relatively new method of radiocarbon dating in which the proportion of carbon isotopes is counted directly (as contrasted with the indirect Geiger counter method) using an accelerator mass spectrometer. The method drastically reduces the quantity of datable material required.
CATEGORY: flora; fauna DEFINITION: The total weight of the plant and animal life (organic substances and organisms) existing at a given time in a given area.
CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: The colossal stone, part-human, part-animal, figures carved on the doorways of Assyrian and Achaemenid buildings, as at Nineveh. These were guardian figures.
CATEGORY: measure DEFINITION: A measure of the amount of material, independent of gravity, measured with a balance.
CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: A standing stone or group of stones in the Levant similar to a dolmen. There was probably a cult purpose when erected by Canaanites (as at Gezer, Hazor). When set up by the Israelites, it was likely commemorative.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Site in Senegal, south of Dakar, with extensive undated microlithic industry. There may have been successive occupation phases, including a pre-potteryphase characterized by large backed tools, geometric microliths, and hollow-based and leaf-shaped bifacial projectile points.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: aclyx, aclys CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: A small javelin or harpoon, consisting of a thick short pole set with spikes. This massive weapon resembles a trident or angon.
CATEGORY: artifact; term DEFINITION: The manufacturing processes in which material is added to an original mass to form an artifact. Ceramic production and basketmaking are additive technologies.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A seaport on the Red Sea coast of Ethiopia, near modern Massawa. It was the principal port of Axum on an important trade route. It may have been established in Ptolemaic times during the Pre-Axumite period, though excavations have yielded material belonging to the 3rd century AD or later.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: mass analysis CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: The analysis of debitage using size as the prime criterion.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A Bronze Age sitedating from the late 6th till the late third millennium BC in southern Turkmenistan. City walls, a ceremonial center, elite residences, cemeteries, and burials have been found as well as a massive multi-stageplatform and artifacts of Harappan materials.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Emporion CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: An ancient Greek trading settlement in Spain, 40 km northeast of present-day Gerona. It was originally a colony of Marseilles (Massalia), founded in the early 6th century BC. The town allied with Rome in the 3rd century BC and it became a Roman colony under Augustus (27 BC-14 AD). Ampurias was probably most prosperous between the 5th-3rd centuries BC, when it established extensive trading across the Mediterranean. Its commercial achievements were marked by the minting of coinage. But after Roman presence increased and the harbor began to silt up, the town declined. The end came at the destruction by the Franks in 265 AD.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Latin Arelate CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A city in southern France on the left bank of the Rhône that was once a colony founded by Caesar (46 BC) and which has an amphitheater and cryptoporticus dating from 1st century BC. Very little is known of the Celto-Greek settlement, traditionally colonized by the Phocaeans. Marius constructed the Fossae Marianae, a navel canal linking Arles with the sea, in 104 BC. Arles from then on was a service port and naval shipyard. Caesar used it as his naval base in 49 BC when attacking Marseilles (Massilia). Two aqueducts were built to bring water from the Alpilles. Constantine the Great (306-337 AD) adopted the city as one of his capitals. It was a mint in late Roman times and an imperial Roman theater and the largest amphitheater north of the Alps were located there. In the 1st century AD, St. Trophime founded the bishopric, which remained until 1790.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: terra sigillata ware; Samian ware CATEGORY: ceramics DEFINITION: A type of bright-red, polished pottery originally made at Arretium (modern Arezzo) in Tuscany from the 1st century BC to the 3rd century AD. The term means literally ware made of clay impressed with designs. The ware was produced to be traded, especially throughout the Roman Empire. It is clearly based on metal prototypes and the body of the ware was generally cast in a mold. Relief designs were also cast in molds which had been impressed with stamps in the desired patterns and then applied to the vessels. The quality of the pottery was high, considering its mass production. However, there was a gradual roughness to the forms and decoration over the four centuries of production. After the decline of Arretium production, terra sigillata was made in Gaul from the 1st century AD at La Graufesenque (now Millau) and later at other centers in Gaul. Examples having come from Belgic tombs in pre-Roman Britain and from the port of Arikamedu in southern India. The style changes and the potter's marks stamped on the vessels made these wares a valuable means of dating the other archaeologicalmaterial found with them.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: modern Arezzo CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: An Etruscan and Roman city, and capital of Arezzo province, in Tuscany southeast of Florence. Known in antiquity for the fine workmanship of its city walls and its red-clay Arretine pottery, the site flourished as a commune in the Middle Ages before falling to Florence in 1384 and later becoming part of the grand duchy of Tuscany. Remains of the city walls, closely constructed and of stone and lightly fired brick, have been found. The quantity of bronze and the mass production of the pottery indicates a considerable degree of industrialization. Arretine ware, a glossy red tableware both plain and relief-decorated, originated at Arretium in the 1st century BC.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: australopithecine; abbreviation is A. CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: A name for an early genus believed to be related to man. The speciesAustralopithecus africanus, first known from southern and eastern Africa, was of small in size -- probably under four feet tall -- and had a brain in the same size range as the chimpanzee and gorilla, but with massive jaws and teeth. The posture and teeth settings were, however, clearly human. The main fossils from South Africa are said to be 2 1/2 to 3 million years old, but there are fossils from Laetoli near Olduvai which are around 3 3/4 to 5 million years old and are regarded as either an early form of africanus or as an ancestral species. At least one other species, Australopithecus robustus, has been included in the genus. This form was heavier and stockier with giant molar teeth but small front teeth. Fossil human remains from Olduvai and Koobi Fora in Kenya called Homo habilis are often regarded as a late form of Australopithecus africanus or an early form of Homo erectus and they date from 1 1/2 to 2 million years ago. Australopithecus went extinct about 900,000 years ago. There are at least five known species in this genus. Some fragments from Lothagam at c5.5 million years may also be Australopithecus. The word Australopithecus means southern ape" and these hominids were so named (in 1924 at Taung) because their fossils were found first in southern Africa."
CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: A Mesolithic (or Epi-Palaeolithic) culture of southwest France and northern Spain, which seems to follow the Late Magdalenian of the area. It falls within the Late Glacial Period and may be correlated with the Allerod oscillation of the 10th millennium BC (c 9000 to 8000 BC). The culture was characterized by flint microliths, pebbles painted with schematic designs, small thumb-scrapers, fish hooks, and flat boneantler harpoons. It is named for Le Mas d'Zail, a massive cave region in southern France where such artifacts were first discovered in 1889. The Azilians were food gatherers who had domesticated the dog. The Oban and Oransay cultures are degenerated Azilian.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Mexica, Tenochcas CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: The last pre-Columbian civilization to enter the Valley of Mexico after the collapse of the Tolteccivilization in c 12 AD, who built a magnificent capital at Tenochtitlán and were later conquered by the Spaniards (1521). They called themselves the Mexica or Tenochca and were the dominant political group of the Late Post-Classic Period. The people spoke Nahuatl. Their origin is obscure, partly because of the deliberate destruction of their own records, but tradition says that in 1193 AD the last of seven Chichimec tribes left Aztlan , a mythical birthplace somewhere north or west of Mexico, and filtered south. For a while they lived around Lake Texococo, but in 1345 they were allowed to found Tenochtitlán (under present-day Mexico City) on some unoccupied islands. By 1428 Tenochtitlán, Texococo, and Tlacopan formed an independent state which controlled most of present-day Mexico from the desert zone in the north to Oaxaca in the south, with extensions as far as the Guatemalan border -- all through military expansion. By inclination and training the Aztecs were militaristic, and a person's status depended on his success as a warrior. The chief god of the Aztecs, Huitzilopochtli, was a war god who required the blood of sacrificial victims, and only constant warfare supplied the altar of the god. Human sacrifice was necessary also to ensure the daily rising of the sun. Other major deities were Huitzilpotchtli (the warrior god and chief deity of Tenochtitlan), Texcatlipoca (god of night, death and destruction), Xipe Totec (god of spring and renewal), and Quetzacoatl, the plumed serpent (god of self-sacrifice and inventor of agriculture and the calendar). Tenochtitlán became a great imperial city, so large that it could not be self-sufficient but had to rely on tributes from its provinces. Luxury goods and necessities were brought to the city, and craftsmen produced jewelry, turquoise mosaics, featherwork, and carved stone. Mold-made clay figurines were common, and the black-on-orange pottery was decorated with geometrical designs and stylized creatures. Little architecture or painting survived the Spanish conquest of 1521. Copies of several books have been preserved (as the Dresden Codex). Aztec society was set in a clearly defined hierarchical classsystem. At the top was the ruling class (pipil) from whom and by whom the emperors were chosen. The mass of the population were freeman (machuale) and under them were the serfs (mayeques) and then at the bottom the slaves. Most people were of the landholding group called the calpulli, which had its own internal hierarchy. Change of social class was possible through state service in the military and sometimes through merchant activity. The merchants (pochteca) served as early-reconnaissance and espionage groups. The arrival of the Spaniards and the fall of Tenochtitlán after a 90-day siege marked the end of Aztec dominance.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Temple mountain built by the Baphuon of Udayadityavarman II (reigned 1050-66 AD) in Angkor, Cambodia, unfortunately almost completely destroyed. It was a vast sandstone monument 480 yards (440 m) long and 140 yards (130 m) wide, approached by a 200-yard (180-m) causeway raised on pillars. Its ground plan shows a fully articulatedstructure and it was the immediate prototype for the great Angkor Wat. It was, at the time, the most massive artificial mountain of classicalCambodia and the second largest monument after Angkor Wat.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: bathhouse CATEGORY: structure DEFINITION: The Roman baths featuring a combination of steaming, cleaning, and massage appeared wherever the Romans made conquests. In Rome itself the aqueducts fed sumptuous baths such as those of Caracalla, which covered 28 acres (11 hectares). From the 1st century BC onwards, the Romans built establishments called balneae or, later, thermae incorporating suites of rooms at different temperatures. A typical installation would include a tepidarium (warm room, probably without bath), a caldarium (hot, with plunge bath), a frigidarium (cold, also with bath), and an apodyterium (changing-room). Elaborate examples might also include a laconicum (room with dry heat), a swimming bath, an exercise area (palaestra), gardens, and a library. These complexes were important social meeting-points and were not limited to high society. Most large private houses from the 2nd century BC onwards had their own bath suite. The four large series of baths at Rome were built by Titus, Trajan, Caracalla, and Diocletian. Baths existed as early as the 4th century BC.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Edo CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Capital and largest city of Edo state, Nigeria, which rose to prominence in the 13th century. A series of massive city wall, over 100 km in length, was constructed. The Portuguese first visited in 1485 and it was burned down and ransacked for nearly 2,500 of its famous bronzes in 1897 when the British occupied the city. Benin City is known for the fine practice the ancient method of cire perdue (lost-wax") bronze castings mostly relief plaques and near life-size human heads produced over a long period. Traces of the old wall and moat remain."
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: The part of the continental shelf that connects Northeast Asia with present-day Alaska. These were the polar continental shelves that escaped glaciation during the ice ages but which were exposed during periods of low sea level, which facilitated migration of people to North America from Asia, and in the Laptev and East Siberian seas. When exposed at the time of the last glacial maximum, it was a large, flat, vegetated landmass. In 1993, investigations on the climatic interstadial of 11,000-12,000 years ago in Beringia (now submerged under the Bering Strait) and the way it provided for the peopling of the New World from Asia were reported. Traces of starch from an apparently domesticated variety of the taro plant on flint tools from the Solomon Islands suggested that conscious planting was being done in the Pacific as long ago as 28,000 years before the present.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A great earthworksite in western Uganda associated with the Chwezi people. The massive linearearthworks, over 6 1/2 miles long (10 km), is a ditchsystem, some of it cut out of rock, enclosing a large grazing area on a riverbank. It may have comprised both a royal capital and a cattle enclosure. Its construction would have required considerable labor and supports a distinction between cultivators and a pastoral aristocracy, which later became typical of this area. Radioactive carbon dating suggests Bigo was occupied from the mid-14th to the early 16th century. The site has also yielded early 13th-15th century AD roulette-decorated pottery, characteristic of the later Iron Age over much of East Africa.
CATEGORY: geology DEFINITION: The spongy mass of material made up of iron and slag, produced from the initial smelting of ironore. The slag and impurities are mostly driven off in preliminary forging. To produce useful iron, bloom must be hammered at red heat to expel the stone and add a proportion of carbon to the metal. The term also refers to a mass of iron after having undergone the first hammering or an ingot of iron or steel, or a pile of puddled bars, which has been passed through one set of 'rolls', made into a thick bar, and left for further rolling when required for use.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Boghaz Keui, ancient Hattusas, Bogazkoy, Boghaz Koy CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: The site of the Hittitecapital of Hattusas, excavated by Hugo Winckler in the early 20th century and which yielded thousands of cuneiform tablets from which much of Hittitehistory was reconstructed. The capital is on a rockcitadel near the Halys River in central Turkey and the site had been occupied since the Chalcolithic times. In c 1500 BC, it became the citadel of Hattusas. As the Hittites' power grew, so did their capital, all within a massive defensive wall of stone and mudbrick. Six gateways were decorated with impressive monumental carved reliefs, showing a warrior, lions, and sphinxes. Four temples have been excavated within the walls, each grouped around an open porticoed court. Two buildings housed the archives with over 10,000 inscribedclay tablets inscribed in cuneiformscript and the Hittitelanguage. A cemeteryclose to the city held large numbers of cremation burials, a surprisingly early occurrence of this rite. The city fell at the same time as the empire, c 1200 BC. Little is known of the Chalcolithic or Hittite Old Kingdom phases on the site; excavation has in the main concentrated on the monuments of the New Kingdom city.
CATEGORY: feature DEFINITION: A place on a site with the remains of a large number of animals, often of the same species and representing a single moment in time, as with a mass killing or mass death
Boudicca (d. AD 60)
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Boadicea CATEGORY: person DEFINITION: Ancient British queen of the Iceni tribe or Norfolk who led a revolt against Roman rule in 60 AD. After suffering many cruelties to her family, herself, and her tribe at the hands of the Romans, Boudicca raised a rebellion throughout East Anglia. They burned Camulodunum (Colchester), Verulamium (St. Albans), the mart of Londinium (London), and several military posts; massacred approximately 70,000 Romans and pro-Roman Britons; and destroyed the Roman 9th Legion. The Roman governor Paulinus regained the province in a battle during which 80,000 of the rebelling tribesmen were killed and after which Boudicca took poison or died of shock.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A mountain massif in central Namibia with Stone Age and Iron Age material, including 43,000 important cave art paintings. The White Lady of the Brandberg" romanticized by Abbé Breuil is the most celebrated."
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: The largest and most impressive town of the Middle Mississippi Culture, on the Illinois bank of the river near East St. Louis. Cahokia Mounds State Historic and World Heritage Site, the location of this large prehistoric Indian city, is to the northeast. It constituted probably the largest pre-Columbian (c AD 900-1300) community north of Mexico in the Mississippi floodplain. The scale of public works in the culture can be estimated from remains of the largest of the Mississippi earthworks, Monk's Mound near Cahokia, which measures 1,000 feet (300 m) long, 700 feet (200 m) wide, and 100 feet (30 m) high -- which is larger than the Great Pyramid of Egypt. The magnitude of such public works and the distribution of temples suggest a dominant religious cult and a series of priest-rulers who commanded the services of a large population and the establishment of artist-craftsman guilds. In addition to large-scale construction, there is evidence of long-distance trade, elaborate ceremonial activity, and possibly astronomical observation. There is evidence of around 10,000-38,000 inhabitants and a town of warehouses and workshops, residential housing arranged along a grid of streets, and open plazas and 100 manmade mounds (burial and platform types). One of the smaller mounds contained rich burials, including a corpse was wrapped in a robe sewn with more than 12,000 shell beads; caches of arrowheads, polished stone, and mica; and his retainers -- 6 men at his side and 53 women in a mass grave nearby. Artifacts include flint hoes, shell and limestone-tempered pottery, and engraved stone tablets sometimes etched with the motifs of the Southern Cult.
CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: A 20-ton, 4-meter wide carved monolith commissioned by the emperor Axayacatl in 1479, which symbolizes the Aztec universe. The populations of central Mexico believed that they were living in the fifth epoch of a series of worlds (or suns) marked by cyclical generation and destruction. The central figure of the stone is this fifth sun, Tonatuih. Surrounding this are four rectangular cartouches containing dates and symbols for the gods Ehecatl, Texcatlipoca, Tlaloc and Chilchihuitlicue who represent the four worlds previously destroyed and the dates of the previous holocausts -- 4 Tiger, 4 Wind, 4 Rain, and 4 Water. The central panel contains the date 4 Ollin (movement) on which the Aztecs showed that they anticipated that their current world would be destroyed by an earthquake. In a series of increasingly larger concentric bands, symbols for the 20 days of the month, precious materials, and certain stars are represented. The outermost band depicts two massive serpents whose heads meet at the stone's base. The Calendar Stone" is in the Museo Nacional de Antropología (National Museum of Anthropology) in Mexico City."
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: khan; caravansary CATEGORY: structure DEFINITION: In the Middle East, a public building that served an unfurnished inn or staging post for sheltering caravans and other travelers. It was usually constructed outside the walls of a town and was a quandrangular enclosure with massive walls with small windows near the top and small air holes near the bottom. A heavy-doored gateway was the entrance and it was secured from within by massive iron chains. Refreshments were available to the travelers.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: radiocarbon, C14 CATEGORY: geology DEFINITION: A naturally occurring radioactive isotope of carbon with a half-life of 5,730-year (+/- 40 years) years and a mass number of 14, commonly used in radiocarbon dating archaeological materials and in demonstrating the metabolic path of carbon in photosynthesis. Its known rate of decay is the basis of radiocarbon dating. Willard Libby discovered natural carbon-14. Libby showed the essential uniformity of carbon-14 in living material and went on to measure the radiocarbon level in organic samples dated historically -- materials as old as 5,000 years from sources such as Egyptian tombs. Libby's conclusion, with allowance for radioactive decay, was that over the past 5,000 years the carbon-14 level in living materials has remained constant within 5 percent precision of measurement. His work made this dating method available to scientists.
CATEGORY: artifact; geology DEFINITION: Casting consists of pouring molten metal into a mold, where it solidifies into the shape of the mold. The process was well established in the Bronze Age (beginning c 3000 BC), when it was used to formbronze pieces. It is particularly valuable for the economical production of complex shapes, from mass-produced parts to one-of-a-kind items or even large machinery. Three principal techniques of casting were successively developed in prehistoric Europe: one-piece stone molds for flat-faced objects; clay or stone piece molds that could be dismantled and reused; and one-off clay molds for complex shapes made in one piece around a wax or leadpattern (cire perdue). Every metal with a low enough meltingpoint was exploited in early Europe, except iron and steel, was used for casting artifacts.
CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: Casting consists of pouring molten metal into a mold, where it solidifies into the shape of the mold. The process was well established in the Bronze Age (beginning c 3000 BC), when it was used to formbronze pieces. It is particularly valuable for the economical production of complex shapes, from mass-produced parts to one-of-a-kind items or even large machinery. Three principal techniques of casting were successively developed in prehistoric Europe: one-piece stone molds for flat-faced objects; clay or stone piece molds that could be dismantled and reused; and one-off clay molds for complex shapes made in one piece around a wax or leadpattern (cire perdue). Every metal with a low enough meltingpoint was exploited in early Europe, except iron and steel, was used for casting artifacts.
CATEGORY: structure DEFINITION: A medieval European structure, generally the residence of a king or a lord of the territory. The word 'castle' is derived from Latin 'castellum', a fortified camp, and there are various linguistic forms, including chateau, castello, castrum, and burg. These medieval strongholds developed rapidly from the 9th century. The word is sometimes applied to prehistoricearthworks, such as Maiden Castle, England. Castles developed with the feudal system which installed a societal classification in which land and other privileges were granted in return for military service. Castle architecture had three essential elements: a tower (keep or donjon), residence for the noble, and a fortified enclosure wall. The first late Carolingian types were likely modeled on the fortified homesteads of the Slavs, and in the 10th century the manor or principal house was then set up on a raised mound within the enclosure. This motte and bailey" type was introduced to France in the 11th century. The Normans then it to the British Isles and southern Italy and also built stone keeps within their enclosures. Later 12th-century castles in France and England have large stone walls gateways modeled on Arabic and Byzantine forts and massive circular central keeps. Multiple walls with strengthened gateways are an invention of the mid-13th century. The introduction of the cannon and other firearms in the 15th and 16th centuries made castles vulnerable to attack. Castle architecture was revised with low walls which could be defended all around by artillery the guns mounted on bastions and redans."
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A site in the Nepena valley on the central coast of Peru which has a massive platform of conical adobes and stones. This templecomplex supports rooms with walls covered by Chavín decoration, including eyes and feline fangs, modeled in mud plaster in low relief and painted red and greenish yellow.
Chavín de Huántar
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Chavín CATEGORY: site; culture DEFINITION: The area of the great ruin of the earliest highly developed culture in pre-Columbian Peru, which flourished between about 900 and 200 BC and may have originated c 1200 BC. During this time Chavín art spread over the north and central parts of what is now Peru. It is not known whether this was the actual center of origin of the culture and art style. The central building at Chavín de Huántar is a massive templecomplex constructed of dressed rectangular stone blocks, with interior galleries and bas-relief carvings on pillars and lintels. The principal motifs of the Chavín style are human, feline, and crocodilian or serpentine figures. Carved stone objects, fantastic pottery that demonstrates the most advanced skill, stone construction, and remarkably sophisticated goldwork have been found. Chavín pottery is known from the decorated types found in the temple and in graves on the northern coast, where it is called Cupisnique. Until the end of the period, the ware was monochrome -- dull red, brown, or gray -- and stonelike. Vessels were massive and heavy and the main forms are open bowls with vertical or slightly expanding sides and flat or gently rounded bases, flasks, and stirrup-spouted bottles. The surface may be modeled in relief or decorated by incision, stamping, brushing, rouletting, or dentate rocker-stamping. Some bowls have deeply incised designs on both the inside and outside faces. Its art style was never surpassed in the complexity of its iconography. The buildings, which show several periods of reconstruction, consist of various temple platforms containing a series of interlinked galleries and chambers on different levels. In the oldest part of the complex is a granite block, the Lanzón, on which is carved a human figure with feline fangs and with snakes in place of hair. Relief carvings in a similar style decorate the lintels, gateways, and cornices at the site, and human and jaguar heads of stone were on the outside wall of one of the platforms. On the coast, where stone is scarce, the highland architecture is replaced by work in adobe. Further south, the Paracasculture shows strong continuing Chavín influence.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Roman Deva, Castra Devana CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: The site of the Roman headquarters of the 20th Legion. It was an important Roman town but was deserted by the early 5th century. There are a number of Roman remains, including the foundations of the north and east walls. Modern Chester overlies the massive Roman camp (castra) of some 24 hectares, sited strategically on the River Dee. Perhaps already a small fort by 60 AD, the fortress and an aqueduct were firmly established in 76-79. Outside the fortifications lay a civilian settlement, an amphitheater, cemeteries, and quarries. Roman abandonment came about 380.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: The site of a ruined ancient Mayan city in south-central Yucatán state, Mexico. Chichén Itzá was founded in about the 6th century AD, presumably by Mayan peoples of the Yucatán Peninsula who had occupied the region since Pre-Classic, or Formative, Period times (1500 BC-AD 300). The only source of water in the region is from wells (Mayan cenotes) formed by the collapse of portions of the limestone formation of the area. Two big cenotes on the site made it a suitable place for the city and gave it its name, from chi (mouths") chen ("wells") and Itzá the name of the tribe that settled there. There are traces of early occupation at the site but the oldest surviving buildings are in the Puucstyle of the 8th-early 10th centuries. In the 10th century after the collapse of the Maya cities of the southern lowlands Chichén Itzá was invaded -- probably by the Toltecs. New buildings have their closest parallels at Tula and offerings thrown into the Sacred Cenote or Well of Sacrifice show widespread trade contacts. Chichén Itzá was the dominant power in Yucatan until about 1200 when it was superseded by Mayapán. At the center of the site is the Castillo or temple-Pyramid of Kulkulkan the Maya equivalent of Quetzacóatl; this is linked by a causeway to the nearby Sacred Cenote. Other major structures include the Temple of the Warriors (in front of which stands a Chacmool) large 'dance platforms' the Group of a Thousand Columns the Temple of the Jaguars and the largest Ball Court in Mesoamerica. Bas-relief carvings on a massive skull rack (tzompantli) shows the Ball Game to be associated with scenes of sacrifice. Relief carvings with themes of conquest and violence about and representations of Maya warriors submitting to Toltec warriors have been found on gold discs recovered from the Sacred Cenote."
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: chinampas; floating garden CATEGORY: geography; term DEFINITION: A system of cultivation on small, stationary, artificial islands made of vegetation and mud in shallow freshwater lakes, created in the Valley of Mexico (Xochimilco). These very fertile fields were created by massive Aztecreclamation projects and consisted of little islands, each averaging 6 to 10 m (19.7 to 32.8 feet) wide and 100 to 200 m (30.5 to 656.2 feet) long, with fertilization from the organic wastes in mud and aquatic life. Periodic renewal of this mud layer created a permanent supply of fertile soil so that as one crop was harvested it could be immediately replaced with another. Much of Aztecs' Tenochtitlan utilized such intensively farmed, reclaimed land. The champas were normally separated by a system of canals which allowed both access and water circulation.
CATEGORY: geology DEFINITION: A mass of mineral matter found generally in rock of a composition different from its own and produced by deposition from aqueous solution in the rock. It is usually formed around a nucleus that may consist of archaeologicaldebris. Concretions form under certain conditions and the study of their characteristics may aid reconstruction of the environmental conditions of the time.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: corbelled vault CATEGORY: structure DEFINITION: In architecture, a simple form of vault in which the stones are overlapped on each other and topped with a capstone. As distinguished from the true arch, it has no keystone and is not self-supporting; the thrust must be take up by massive walls. The corbel vault is therefore suitable for spanning only limited spaces. In the Mayan style, corbel vaults can support a roof or upper story. Corbel vaults and arches were useful in cultures that had not yet developed curving arches and other ceiling structures.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Cordilleran ice sheet; Laurentide CATEGORY: chronology; culture DEFINITION: The ice mass that covered the coastal mountains along the Pacific Ocean coast of North America from northern Washington state into southern Alaska. At its maximum extent, about 20,000 years ago, it connected with the Laurentide ice sheet to the east and with the Pacific Ocean to the west, and reached a thickness of some 3 kilometers (1 mile). The Cordilleran Geosyncline is a linear trough in the Earth's crust in which rocks of Late Precambrian to Mesozoic age (roughly 600 million to 66 million years ago) were deposited along the western coast of North America, from southern Alaska through western Canada and the United States, probably to western Mexico. The eastern boundary of the geosyncline extends from southeastern Alaska along the eastern edge of the Northern Cordillera and Northern Rocky Mountains of Canada and Montana, along the eastern edge of the Great Basin of Utah and Nevada, and into southeastern California and Mexico. The Old Cordilleranculture appeared in the Pacific Northwest about 9000 or 10,000 BC and persisted until about 5000 BC in some areas. Subsistence was based on hunting, fishing, and gathering. Simple willow-leaf-shaped, bipointed projectile points are characteristic artifacts.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: modern Ansedonia CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A town on west coast of Italy, north of Rome, that was a Latin colony founded in 273 BC. There is well-preserved massive polygonal masonry surviving in the city walls, the forum, basilica, citadel, capitol, baths, and temples -- as well as remains of the grid street plan. The site was abandoned in 1st century BC.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A settlement site in South Dakota from the Initial Coalescent Period of the Plains Village Indians with more than 500 human skeletons from a massacre.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: cyclopean construction, cyclopean wall, cyclopean monuments, Pelasgian CATEGORY: structure DEFINITION: A style of masonry that calls for large, close-fitting, irregularly shaped stones, used typically in Mycenaean fortifications. The massive stone wall's gaps between the inner and outer faces of the huge stone boulders were filled with small stones and clay. It is named after the Greek mythical character Cyclops, thought by the Greeks to have built the walls of Tiryns, which are constructed in this fashion. The technique occurs widely elsewhere in the Mediterranean (Nuraghe, Naveta, Talayot, Torre), and was sometimes employed by the Inca and other Andean peoples.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: depositional process CATEGORY: geology; term DEFINITION: Any of the various processes by which artifacts move from active use to an archaeologicalcontext, such as loss, disposal, abandonment, burial, etc. It is the laying, placing, or throwing down of any material. In geology, it is the constructive process of accumulation into beds, veins, or irregular masses of any kind of loose, solid rockmaterial by any kind of natural agent (wind, water, ice). The transformation of materials from a systemic to an archaeologicalcontext are directly responsible for the accumulation of archaeological sites and they constitute the dominant factor in forming the archaeological record. Deposition is the last stage of behavioral processes, in which artifacts are discarded.
CATEGORY: geography DEFINITION: A chemical dark-colored crust or film of iron and manganese oxides (usually with some silica) that is deposited on exposed rocks, artifacts, and petroglyph surfaces. Of bacterial origin, this varnish becomes polished by wind abrasion can be used in cation ratio dating; its organic matter can be analyzed by accelerator mass spectrometer radiocarbon dating.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: pl. dysser CATEGORY: structure DEFINITION: The Danish name for the earliest type of megalithic chamber tomb found in Scandinavia in the Early Neolithic. The oldest dysser are rectangular slab cysts roofed with capstones and containing 1-6 skeletons. The burial chamber is covered with a mound which rises to the height of the capstone and has a retaining kerb of stones. Drysser are associated with an early phase (C) of the TRB culture. Similar but less massive cysts were built by other TRB groups elsewhere in northern Europe.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Chuquitanta CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A large ceremonial site in the Chillón Valley on the central coast of Peru,) dating to the Late Preceramic and Initial Period. It has a massive architectural complex of 6-7 mounds, courts, and rooms interconnected by corridors. Five to six building phases are evident in the constructions of fieldstone masonry laid in clay. No pottery or maize has been found, but twined and woven textiles are common in burials and domesticated beans and squash remains have also been recovered.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Nekheb, El-Kab CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Upper Egyptian site on the east bank of the Nile, consisting of prehistoric and Pharaonic settlements, rock-cut tombs of the earth 18th Dynasty (1550-1295 BC), and remains of temples dating from the Early Dynastic period (3100-2686 BC) to the Ptolemaic period (332-30 BC). The most substantial remains are the massive mud-brick enclosure walls of the towns and the temple of Nekhbet. It is the type site of El-Kabian, a microlithic Epipalaeolithic industry dated to c 6000 BC.
CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: A Pastoral Neolithic stoneindustry of early East Africa in a restricted area on the west side of the central Rift Valley in Kenya. Typical artifact assemblages include large double-edged obsidian blades, plain pottery bowls, and shallow stone vessels. Domestic cattle and small stock were herded. The dead were cremated, as at the mass-burialsite at Njoro River Cave (c 1000 BC), one of the earliest Elmenteitan sites. The industry continued into the 1st millennium AD. The name also applies to the Pastoral Neolithic and Iron Age potterytradition associated with the stone artifacts.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: plural epiphyses CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: The articulating end of a long bone or vertebra, which in an adult are fused with the shaft or main part of the bone, but which are separate bony masses in the early years of life. For both human and animal bones therefore, the state of fusion of the epiphyses can be used to determine the age of the skeleton if it is under 20 years old (human) or 3-4 years (domestic animals).
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Erh-li-kang CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: A stage of the early Bronze Age in North China seen in two strata at Zhengzhou Erligang, classified archaeologically as Middle Shang. The phase preceded the Anyangperiod (c 1300-1030 BC) and radiocarbon dates have been c 1600-1550 bc. The massive rammed-earth fortification, 118 feet wide at its base and enclosing an area of 1.2 square miles, would have taken 10,000 men more than 12 years to build. Also found were ritual bronzes, including four monumental tetrapods, palace foundations; workshops for bronzecasting, pot making, and bone working; burials; and two inscribed fragments of oracle bones. The Erligang phase may correspond to the widest sway of the Shang empire and is known for its highly developed bronze-castingindustry. Some Chinese archaeologists call the phase Early Shang.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: scarp CATEGORY: geology; geography DEFINITION: A natural steep landmark or massive fault block. This landform consists of a steep slope which marks an abrupt change in altitude between two adjacent land surfaces. This long cliff or steep slope separates two comparatively level or more gently sloping surfaces and is a result of erosion or faulting. The term also refers to the side of the vallum sloping into the fossa, or ditch, nearest to a fort(ification).
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: flake tool CATEGORY: lithics DEFINITION: A thin broad piece of stone detached from a larger mass for use as a tool; a piece of stone removed from a larger piece (core or nucleus) during knapping (percussion or pressure) and used in prehistoric times as a cutting instrument. Flakes often served as blanks" from which more complex artifacts -- burins scrapers gravers arrowheads etc. -- could be made. Waste flakes (débitage) are those discarded during the manufacture of a tool. Flakes may be retouched to make a flake tool or used unmodified. The process leaves characteristic marks on both the core and flake. This makes it comparatively easy to distinguish human workmanship from natural accident."
CATEGORY: lithics DEFINITION: The process of making stone tools by removing flakes from a larger mass, by percussion or pressure from another tool. Percussion flaking is done by striking the stone to be chipped with another stone or bone. Pressure flaking is done by pressing a blunt-pointed tool of antler or bone against the edge to be worked. Flaking is feasible with materials that are glassy in nature and fracture evenly (as obsidian, flint); it is not feasible with materials such as granite or sandstone which in general are ground.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: fortress, fortification CATEGORY: structure DEFINITION: A fortified place or position prepared for defensive or protective purposes and usually surrounded by a ditch, rampart, and parapet. Forts were first built on hilltops, from late Neolithic to Roman times. Even farmhouses had earthworks of ditch, rampart, and wooden stockade built against raiding parties. At first, stockades were built on hilltops without massive earthworks. The origins of fortification in the Greek and Roman world were probably influenced by eastern Mediterranean civilizations and were in the major cities of the Greek Bronze Age. In ancient days, fortifications hindered the best attacking troops for months and even years.
fossil ice wedges
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: foliated ground ice, wedge ice CATEGORY: geology DEFINITION: Soil features caused when the ground freezes and contracts, opening up fissures in the permafrost that fill with wedges of ice. The fossil wedges are proof of past cooling of climate and of the depth of permafrost. Foliated ground ice, or wedge ice, is the term for large masses of ice growing in thermal contraction cracks in permafrost.
CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: A city-state civilization by the 7th-6th centuries BC, characterized by extensive urban settlement and a developed social organization. The state engaged in long struggles for power, which ended in the 4th century BC with the establishment of the Mauryan empire. Much of the information about the Ganges civilization comes from literary sources. Archaeological excavations have usually been on a small scale. Cities were large and usually fortified, often with massive mud ramparts. The characteristic pottery is Northern Black polished ware.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Gordion CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: The capital of the Phrygians in the 8th century BC, on the bank of the Sakarya River in central Anatolia (now Turkey). Gordion was surrounded by a massive mud-brick wall and a monumental gateway and was dominated by about 10 important buildings built on the megaron plan, and a palacecomplex. Outside the city gate was a cemetery of nearly 80 large tumuli, which has yielded rich finds from the 8th-6th centuries BC. The great royal tomb investigated was once identified as King Midas, who allegedly committed suicide when the Cimmerian nomads sacked the city in 685 BC. The tomb also contained inscriptions in the Phrygianscript, nine tables and two screens of wood, three bronze cauldrons, 166 other bronze vessels, and 146 bronze fibulae. Traces of linen and woolen textiles were found on the bed, and traces of purple cloth were also found on the throne in another rich tumulus. Occupation of the site continued into Roman times.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Kingdom and city important from the 13th century in Spain. Although its origins go back to the early years of the Moorish occupation in the 8th century, Granada rose to importance after the mid-13th century when it became the capital of a new state founded by Muhammad I (1232-1273). The kingdom comprised, principally, the area of the modern provinces of Granada, Málaga, and Almería. The city was dominated by the fortified citadel and Alcazaba, Medinat-al-Hamra, now known as the Alhambra. The Alhambra was defended by a massive towered enceinte enclosing a series of magnificent palaces linked by courtyards and gardens, much of which still remains. Apart from the Alhambra, Granada also preserves many examples of Islamic architecture in the older quarters of the city. Granada was the site of an Iberian settlement, Elibyrge, in the 5th century BC and of the Roman Illiberis. As the seat of the Moorish kingdom of Granada, it was the final stronghold of the Moors in Spain, falling to the Roman Catholic monarchs Ferdinand II and Isabella I in 1492.
CATEGORY: geology DEFINITION: A soft white stone, hydrated calcium sulfate mineral, which was a primary or secondary mineral of limestone, shale, marl, and clay. Combined with sand, water, and organic materials, it was used to make plasterlike materials used in cements, coatings, casts, molds, and sculptures. The dense, fine-grained variety is alabaster and was used in architecture. The fibrous massive variety is used for ornaments and jewelry. Nowadays, gypsum is used in the manufacture of plaster of Paris.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Ha'amonga-a-Maui CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A massive coral trilithon (archway) at Hahake, Tongatapu (Tonga) with a lintel resting in two notched uprights. According to tradition, it was erected around 1200 AD by the Tui Tongadynasty's chief. The monument is unique in the Pacific region.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: An Early Iron Age fortified site and hillfort of the Hallstattperiod on the upper Danube in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. The site was the center of the dominant Celtic chiefdom in southwest Germany c 600-500 BC. Wine amphorae and Attic Black-Figure pottery were imported from the Greek city of Massalia, demonstrating Heuneburg's wealth. There are nearby princely burials of the same date, including the rich Hohmichele tumulus. This covered a timber mortuary house containing the body of an archer accompanied by a wooden wagon and precious offerings. The site has five main building phases, the most remarkable of which was the second, when the traditional timber-framed construction was replaced by a Greek type of construction, with a bastioned wall built of mud-brick on stone foundations.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Hisarlik/Troy CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A small site above the Scamander Plain, Turkey, with massive ruins that Heinrich Schliemann established to be the ruins of ancient Troy (1877-1890). It is set on a plain overlooking the southern entrance to the Dardanelles in northwestern Anatolia. The series of seven Bronze Age settlements (with subphases) date from the late 4th millennium BC to the 12th century BC. The famous 'treasure of Priam', a hoard of precious metal and semi-precious stone objects, came from one of the Troy II levels. The settlement was ended by massive fires.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: ice-wedge; foliated ground ice CATEGORY: geology DEFINITION: Large masses of ice growing in thermal contraction cracks in permafrost. In periglacial conditions, alternating freeze and thaw can lead to the formation of vertical, narrow, and deep wedges of ice in gravels. After melting, these tend to fill with sediment, forming a cast of the ice wedge seen as dark bands, easily confused with manmade features, in aerial photographs. Casts of fossil ice wedges are one of the few true indicators of former permafrost conditions. Fossil ice-wedges of this kind are seen in many sections of sand and gravel deposits in Europe. They have been used to reconstruct the extent of the periglacial zone which developed around the Devensian and Weichselian ice-sheets.
CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: South American Indians who, at the time of the Spanish conquest in 1532, ruled an empire that extended along the Pacific coast and Andean highlands from the northern border of modern Ecuador to the Maule River in central Chile. The Inca established their capital at Cuzco (Peru) in the 12th century. They began their conquests in the early 15th century and within 100 years had gained control of an Andean population of about 12,000,000 people. These Quechua-speaking tribes' origins are uncertain. Their vast empire had a centralized organization and at its head was the ruler, 'Son of the Sun', worshipped as a god in his own lifetime. As a divine king he was above the law, and as a despotic ruler he was very much the political head of the state. Administration was in the hands of officials drawn from the Inca nobility and from the chiefs of conquered tribes. An efficient roadsystem, along which relays of messengers could travel 250 km in a day, ensured that Cuzco was kept informed of developments all over the empire. These same roads allowed Inca forces to be quickly moved into any province which showed signs of rebellion. This centralization was both the strength and the weakness of the Incastate. The unifying force was the ruler in person, and the death of Huayna Capac precipitated a crisis. Civil war broke out when two of his sons, Huascar and Atahuallpa, disputed the succession. Atahuallpa won the war, but before he could consolidate his position he was seized and murdered by Francisco Pizarro's Spaniards in 1532. Without a leader the Incasystem could not function. Most of the empire was quickly brought under Spanish control, but an independent Inca group held out in the Urubamba valley until 1572. Viracocha Inca was the creator, culture hero, and supreme deity of the Inca, but the religion embraced a pantheon of gods of nature. The most actively worshipped were the sun and, by extension, the emperor, who was considered the son of the sun. The Temple of the Sun, built at the pre-Incan ceremonial center of Pachacamac suggests some incorporation of earlier religions. Archaeologically, the Incaculture is characterized by fine quality stone masonry, agricultural terraces, mass-produced and standardized pottery forms (aryballus), and metal objects. The considerable architectural skill of the Inca is reflected in Cyclopean masonry, although many buildings were constructed using rectangular dressed stone blocks as well as adobe. The basic dwelling-unit was a cluster of single rooms arranged around a rectangular courtyard and was most often enclosed by a wall. Writing was unknown, but the quipu was used for keeping records. Agriculture was based on plant foods, especially potato, manioc, quinoa, and maize. Domesticated animals included dog, llama, cava (guinea pig), and alpaca. Fine textiles were woven using a simple backstraploom. The civilization was the largest and most powerful political unit in all the prehistoric America. It has been argued that the whole of Inca achievement relied heavily on a variety of political, societal and religious infrastructures already in place before their ascendancy.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: parallelism CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: A theory that a few of the total mass of cultural traits possessed and shared by the peoples of the world have been invented more than once. The theory maintains the likelihood of new ideas, such as the invention of copper and iron working, or the erection of particular types of monumental building, were invented in more than one place at the same or different times, opposing the theory of diffusion. New chronometric dating techniques have shown the probability of independent invention for at least some of these ideas.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Indus Valley civilization, Harrapan civilization CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: The earliest known urban culture of the Indian subcontinent, identified in 1921-1992 by its two capitals -- Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro -- both in modern Pakistan. It was also the most extensive of the three earliest civilizations, the other two being Mesopotamia and Egypt. It was one of the greatest civilizations of antiquity, but its origins are obscure. By around 2300 BC, the Indus civilization was fully developed and in trading contact with Sargonid Sumer. Radiocarbon dates from several sites support an origin c 2600 BC, and suggest that by 2000 BC the civilization was in marked decline. The Indus River seems to have played a significant part, as many sites show deposits left by frequent catastrophic floods. Exploitation of the vegetation, particularly for the baking of enormous quantities of brick, caused the decline of the countryside. The final collapse seems to have been due to hostile attack. A few inhumation cemeteries have been found associated with the gridiron-plan cities and there were elaborate drainage systems, also. The site of Mohenjo-Daro had a great bath, assembly hall, and other monumental buildings. There was widespread use of an undeciphered hieroglyphicscript and standard weights and measures. The economy was based on mixed agriculture and humped cattle were the most important domestic animals. The pottery was mass-produced and plain. Artistically the finest products were square steatite seals, carved with local or mythical animals and brief inscriptions. The civilization's effect on the later culture and religion of India seems to have been considerable.
CATEGORY: geology DEFINITION: A shaped or castmass of unwrought metal resulting from smelting or other extraction process. Ingots are often it will be of a standard weight, sometimes of a guaranteed purity. Examples include the ingot of the Mycenaeans (c 30 kg of copper) in the shape of an oxhide, the bronze ingot torc of the European Bronze Age, the iron currency bar of the English Iron Age, and the Roman leadpig stamped with the smelter's name.
CATEGORY: typology DEFINITION: A characteristic that is inherent in an object, such as its length or mass or chemical composition.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: isostatic uplift CATEGORY: geology DEFINITION: An alteration in the height of the land relative to the sea; the distribution of mass within the Earth's crust is balanced by large-scale topography. These variations are not necessarily associated with changes in sea-level (eustasy), but a major event such as glaciation can affect both land and sea. The weight of ice sheets can cause a lowering in the height of the land, but a thaw at the end of a glaciation frees the land of this pressure and it rises. Continental crust behaves like a body 'floating' on the denser underlying layers. Loading of one area may cause down-warping of the crust, which is compensated by uplift elsewhere. Removal of the load causes the crust to readjust to its former state. It is a theory that the condition of approximate equilibrium in the outer part of the earth is approximately counterbalanced by a deficiency of density in the material beneath those masses, while deficiency of density in ocean waters is counterbalanced by an excess in density of the material under the oceans. This phenomenon has occurred during the Quaternary, due to the development of large ice-sheets. The enormous weight of ice has caused downwarping of the continental crust beneath. At the ice-sheet margins, there was a compensatory uplift. On melting of the ice-sheets, the crust readjusted by uplift in the areas directly underneath and downwarping at the edges. This process is continuing today, for example in northern Europe.
CATEGORY: geology DEFINITION: Pertaining to changes in the altitude of the Earth's crust relative to the sea -- shifts in the crustal mass in compensation for loading and unloading of the crust.
CATEGORY: geology DEFINITION: Atoms of the same element that have different atomic masses due to having different numbers of neutrons in the nuclei, but which still have similar chemical properties. Many of these forms of elements with a specific number of electrons (such as carbon 14 or potassium 40) are unstable and decay into different elements, releasing their surplus electrons. Radiocarbon, potassium-argon, fission track, and thermoluminescencedating all rely on this phenomenon in different ways.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: Any dating technique relying on the phenomenon of isotopal decay -- analyzing the ratios of the principal isotopes. The analysis of isotopes -- any of two or more species of atoms of a chemical element with the same atomic number and nearly identical chemical behavior but with differing atomic mass or mass number and different physical properties
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: The enrichment of one isotope relative to another in a chemical or physical process. Two isotopes of an element are different in weight but not in gross chemical properties, which are determined by the number of electrons. It can be predicted theoretically and demonstrated experimentally, however, that subtle chemical effects do result from the difference in mass of isotopes. Isotopes of an element may have slightly different equilibrium constants for a particular chemical reaction, so that fractionation of the isotopes results from that reaction. One of the assumptions of radiocarbon dating is that Carbon 12, Carbon 13, and Carbon 14 are passed around the carbon cycle at similar rates. The three isotopes are chemically very similar, but slight differences between them may cause them to be taken up at different rates by some plants and animals. This isotopic fractionation may cause inaccuracies in radiocarbon dating. Both Carbon 12 and Carbon 13 are stable isotopes and their ratio should therefore remain constant throughout life and after death. If it has changed from the expected value, then fractionation has occurred. Once the degree of fractionation is known, it can be corrected for mathematically by the laboratory.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Smyrna CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: City on the west coast of Turkey, one of the oldest cities of the Mediterranean world and has been of almost continuous historical importance during the last 5,000 years. Excavations indicate settlement contemporary with that of the first city of Troy, dating from the 3rd millennium BC. Greek settlement is first attested by potterydating from c 1000 BC. According to the Greek historian Herodotus, the Greek city was founded by Aeolians but soon was seized by Ionians. By the 7th century, it had massive fortifications and blocks of two-storied houses. Captured by Alyattes of Lydia c 600 BC, it disappeared for about 300 years until it was refounded by either Alexander the Great or his lieutenants in the 4th century BC at a new site on and around Mount Pagus. It soon emerged as one of the principal cities of Asia Minor and was later the center of a civil diocese in the Roman province of Asia, vying with Ephesus and Pergamum for the title first city of Asia." Smyrna was one of the early seats of Christianity. Capital of the province of Samos under the Byzantine emperors Smyrna was taken by the Turkmen Aydin principality in the early 14th century AD. It was annexed to the Ottoman Empire c 1425. Although severely damaged by earthquakes in 1688 and 1778 it remained a prosperous Ottoman port with a large European population. The city's landmarks include the partly excavated remains of its agora and the ancient aqueducts of Kizilçullu. The archaeologicalmuseum has a fine collection of local antiquities."
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Tell es-Sultan CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: An important site in the Jordan Valley of Israel with a continuoussequence from the Natufian to the Late Bronze Age. Camping occupation of the Mesolithic c 9000 BC developed into the pre-potteryNeolithic c 8350-7350 BC when there was a walled town of mud-brick houses, which is amongst the earliest permanent settlements known. There was at least one massive stone tower. To the succeeding PPNB levels dated 7250-5850 BC, belongs the series of famous plastered skulls. In c 1580, the Hyksossettlement, with its tombs, plastered glacis, woodwork, basketry, pottery, and bronze, was destroyed by the Egyptians. The Late Bronze Age town captured by Joshua's Israelites has left very few traces. There was some reoccupation during the Iron Age.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: ancient Beth-yerah; Tell Beth Yerah CATEGORY: site; artifact DEFINITION: A Palestinian site on the southwest shore of the Sea of Galilee, settled from the Early-Middle Bronze Age and occupied again from the Hellenistic to the Byzantine periods. In the 4th-3rd millennia BC, it was a small walled town which lent its name to a distinctive potteryware (Khirbet Kerak ware, c 3400) which has been found on many sites throughout the Near East, from Judeidah in the Amuq to Lachish in the south. This highly burnished ware with red or black slip is often incised or ribbed in decoration. Its origins lie up in the southern Caucasus (it was related to Early Transcaucasian wares), from which it was likely carried south by an emigration of the ancestors of the Hittites. The pottery belongs to the EB III phase and has a wide distribution in Syria and Palestine. It is usually thought to have originated in northeast Anatolia and may have been distributed either by emigration or by trade. The town of the mid-3rd millennium BC contains a massive public building, probably a religious structure, that comprises eight circular stone structures all enclosed by a massive outer rectangular wall.
CATEGORY: site; culture DEFINITION: An Early Neolithicsettlement in southern Cyprus, first occupied in the aceramicNeolithic I of the 7th millennium BC. It was abandoned and reoccupied in Neolithic II, later 5th millennium BC. The settlement, surrounded by a massive wall, consisted of round houses of mudbrick on stone footings. Hearths and benches were found inside and some houses had burials with grave goods (especially stone bowls) underneath the floors. There was a fine stoneindustry, using Anatolian obsidian and flint for tools, local andesite for both tools and containers, and Levantine carnelian for beads. The site has given its name to the Early Neolithicculture of the island.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: La Tene period CATEGORY: site; culture DEFINITION: The site of a great Iron Age votive deposit in the shallow water at the east end of Lake Neuchâtel, Switzerland. Excavations revealed wooden piles, two timber causeways, and a mass of tools and weapons of bronze, iron, and wood (swords, fibulae, spearheads, etc.). Some of these objects bore curvilinear patterns which are the hallmark of La Tène (Celtic) art everywhere from central Europe to Ireland and the Pyrenees. La Tène has given its name to the second major division of the European Iron Age, which followed the Hallstattperiod over much of the continent and lasted from mid-5th century BC until the Celts were subdued by Roman conquest c 50 BC. Settlement was characteristically in hillforts and, from the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC, massive oppida occur. As in the Hallstattculture, there is a notable distinction between the markedly wealthy burials of chieftains and their associates, and burials of other members of society. The highest development, and the birth of the art style, took place in west central Europe from the Rhineland to the Marne. Contact with the Greek and Etruscan worlds brought wine, metal flagons, and Attic drinking cups into lands north of the Alps, and La Tène art shows links with that of the Scythians to the east. In Britain, contact with the continental La Tène cultures is shown by chariot burials and the presence of La Tène art motifs on metalwork and pottery. British cultures showing La Tène influence are sometimes grouped within an Iron Age B complex. In Ireland, which the Romans never invaded, a Celtic culture and an art style with La Tène elements persisted into the Early Christian period. It is subdivided into La Tène I c 480-220 BC, La Tène II c 220-120 BC, and La Tène III c 120-Roman conquest(at different times in different areas).
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Tell Duweir, Tell ed-Duweir CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Palestinian Biblical site which was a Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age cave dwelling, after which the caves were used for burials and a settlement founded. A massive plastered glacis of Hyksostype belonged to the Middle Bronze Age settlement, but was destroyed by the Egyptians c 1580 BC. The Canaanites built three successive temples in the 15th-13th centuries BC. Lachish was sacked in 701 BC by the Assyrians, noted in the palace reliefs in Nineveh. It fell to Babylonians in 588 BC. There were later levels of Achaemenid and Hellenistic date. The site is most famous for three vital groups of inscriptions, including a dagger dated to the 18th or 17th century BC with four symbols engraved on it -- one of the earliest alphabetic inscriptions known. Lachish has also produced a group of incised pottery vessels associated with the temple at the foot of the mound and dated to c1400 BC, and a group of incised potsherds found within a guardhouse by the gate and dating to the period immediately before the Babylonian destruction.
Last Glacial Maximum
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Late Pleniglacial CATEGORY: chronology DEFINITION: The geological perioddating between 25,000-14,000 bp, during which global temperatures reached the lowest levels of the Upper Pleistocene (127,000-10,000 bp). Massive continental ice sheets formed in the northern hemisphere and sea levels fell worldwide. The people were anatomically modern and conducted industries of the Upper Palaeolithic in unglaciated parts of the Old World.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Laurentide ice sheet CATEGORY: chronology DEFINITION: The ice mass that covered most of Canada and parts of the United States, including the Great Lakes area and northern New England, during the Pleistocene Epoch. It originated in northeastern Canada during the Wisconsin Glacial and then spread south and west. At its maximum extent, about 20,000 years ago, it was connected with the Cordilleran ice sheet to the west and covered an area of more than 13,000,000 square km (5,000,000 sq. MI). In some areas its thickness reached 2,400-3,000 m (8,000-10,000 ft). The system began to recede about 14,000 BP.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A technique based on the relative abundance of lead isotopes, which differ according to the origin of the lead, allowing scientists to pinpoint the source of a piece of lead once the ratios of the isotopes have been determined. A mass spectrometer is used on a small sample to determine the ratio of the isotopic concentrations, which are similar in different regions if the geological time scale is similar. The method can be used to identify sources of lead impurities in other metals as well as in glass and glaze.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: An island in the Indian Ocean off the east coast of Africa which was one of the last major tropical land masses to be settled by man. There is no evidence for human presence prior to the 1st millennium AD. It is generally accepted that the island's first settlers came from Indonesia, perhaps from Borneo. Later, probably in about the 11th century AD, Bantu-speaking immigrants from East Africa also arrived.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: hallmark CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: Manufacturing marks etched or stamped onto mass-produced ceramics, glassware, and metals.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: hallmarks CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: Manufacturing marks etched or stamped onto mass-produced ceramics, glassware, and metals.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Greek Massalia; Roman Massilia CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: City on the coast of southern France, an important Mediterranean port founded in either c 600 or 540 BC according to tradition. Originally it was a colony of Phocaea in western Turkey. By c 535 BC, they were prosperous enough to dedicate a treasury at the sanctuary of Delphi in mainland Greece. Even under Roman rule, the port was fairly independent and maintained its Greek culture. There are remains of Roman docks.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Site settled near Jamestown and Williamsburg, Virginia, on the James River, by English colonists in 1619. Excavations have revealed a massacre by the Indians in 1622 and early colonial life in North America. The center of the plantation was Wolstenholme Towne.
CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: A heavy, massive, long-handled hammerdating to the Archaic Indian period.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Greek mausoleion CATEGORY: structure DEFINITION: A storage structure for the dead which was above ground; a large, impressive sepulchral monument. The original mausoleum was the gigantic tomb of Mausolus, ruler of Caria, in southwest Asia Minor, built at Halicarnassus c 353-350 BC. It was considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The word later came to be used for any tomb built on a monumental scale, such as Augustus in the Field of Mars and Hadrian on the banks of the Tiber (now the Castel Sant'Angelo, Rome). As one of the Seven Wonders of the World, it was famous not only for its vast dimensions, but also for the refinement of its decoration and sculptures. Attributed to the architect Pythius, it seems to have been constructed entirely of white marble, and reached a total height of some 40 meters. It consisted of a massively broad and high plinth, surmounted probably by a temple with Ionic peristyle, topped by a pyramid, and the whole capped with a gigantic chariot-and horse group. Some time before the 15th century, it collapsed due to earthquake damage. The colossal statues identified as those of Mausolus and Artemisia were brought to the British Museum, together with sculpture and frieze details. Probably the most ambitious mausoleum is the white marble Taj Mahal at Agra, in India, built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan for his favorite wife, who died in 1631. Other famous mausoleums are those of Vladimir Lenin and Napoleon III.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Ma-wang-tui CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Site in Hunan province, China, near Chang-Sha (Changsha City), of three Early Han-dynasty tombs with features of both shaft and mounded tombs. Tomb No. 2 belonged to the first marquis of Dai (d. 186 BC), a high official of the Han administration. Nos. 3 and 1 are apparently the tombs of his son (d. 168 BC) and wife (d. shortly after 168 BC). In construction and contents the three tombs are far different from Han princely burials in the north and reflect the lingering traditions and material culture of the Chu kingdom, which had fallen to Qin less than a century earlier. Each tomb takes the form of a massive compartmented timber box at the bottom of a deep stepped shaft; the shaft was filled in with rammed earth and a mound was raised over it. The contents of Tomb No. 1 were very well preserved: the body of the wife of the marquis, wrapped in silk and laid inside four richly decorated nested coffins. The 180 dishes, toilet boxes, and other lacquer articles, silk clothing, offerings of food, musical instruments, small wooden figures of servants and musicians, and a complete inventory of the grave goods written on bamboo slips depict extreme wealth. Tomb 3 was furnished in the same fashion as Tomb 1, but contained more silk paintings, three rare musical instruments, and an extraordinary collection of manuscripts, some on silk and some on bamboo slips, including some of the earliest known maps from China, treatises on medicine and astronomy, comet charts, and important literary texts (the Daoist/Taoist classic Dao De jing" ("Tao te ching") the "Yi jing" ("Book of Changes")) The contents of Tomb 2 are comparable to those of Tomb 1 but poorly preserved."
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Meadowcroft rock shelter CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A rock shelter in Pennsylvania with a long series of stratified deposits spanning the period from at least 14,000 BC up to the 18th century AD -- Palaeoindian, Archaic, Late prehistoric, and historic periods. The site was occupied intermittently by groups representing all the major cultural stages in northeastern North America. Charcoal samples in the lowest stratum have yielded dates in the range 35,000-19,500 BC, although there was no association with cultural material. Flint tools bear a resemblance to finds at Blackwater Draw and Lindenmeier. The evidence from Meadowcroft established beyond reasonable doubt the presence of a human population south of the ice masses in the Late Pleistocene. Meadowcroft provides some of the earliest reliable evidence of man in North America.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: mega-fauna CATEGORY: fauna DEFINITION: The large, Ice Age big-game fauna in North America, now extinct. These Late Pleistocene food sources included mammoths, mastodon; giant bison, sloths, camels, and diprotodons. The term also covers extinct larger species of quite small animals, such as giant beavers. The late Pleistocene extinction of megafauna did not occur synchronously nor was it of equal magnitude throughout the world. Considerable doubt exists regarding the timing of the megafaunal extinction on various landmasses. Evidence suggests that the earliest mass megafaunal extinctions occurred in Australia and New Guinea about 30,000 or more years ago. Eighty-six percent of the Australian vertebrate genera whose members weighed more than 40 kilograms became extinct. Much smaller extinction events occurred in Africa, Asia, and Europe earlier in the Pleistocene, removing very large species such as rhinoceroses, elephants, and the largest artiodactyls. Other mass megafaunal extinction events occurred on the Eurasian tundra about 12,000 years ago (affecting mammoths, Irish elk, and woolly rhinoceroses); in North and South America they occurred about 11,000 years ago (affecting a wide variety of species, including elephants, giant sloths, lions, and bears). These extinctions have removed 29 percent of the vertebrate genera weighing more than 40 kilograms from Europe and 73 percent of such genera from North America. Until 1,000 to 2,000 years ago the megafauna of large, long-isolated landmasses such as New Zealand and Madagascar survived. Gigantic birds such as the elephant birds of Madagascar and the moas of New Zealand disappeared in the past few thousand years.
CATEGORY: chronology DEFINITION: The second of the Earth's three major geologic eras of Phanerozoic time and the interval during which the continental landmasses as known today were separated from the supercontinents Laurasia (North America and Eurasia) and Gondwana by continental drift. It occurred before the Cenozoic and after the Palaeozoic and was marked by the development of the ancestors of the major plant and animal groups that exist today and the extinction of the dinosaur, suddenly at the end of the Cretaceous Period. It lasted from about 245 to 66.4 million years ago and included, in order, the Triassic Period, the Jurassic Period, and the Cretaceous Period.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A town on the island of Walcharan in the southwestern Netherlands, probably founded as a refuge for the Flemish population in the times of Viking raids. Many of this type of refuge were probably planned by Baldwin of Flanders in the 890s. Middleburg consisted of a simple circular fortress with a massive rampart and ditch. The symmetry of these early fortresses is fossilized in the street plan of modern Middleburg. Excavations show the town was founded about 1000, from which time it has developed as a regional center.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Mochica CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: The major culture of the northern coast of Peru during the Early Intermediate Period. It originated in the Moche and Chicama Valleys and later spread by conquest as far south as the Santa and Nepeña Rivers. The culture developed around the start of the Christian era and lasted until c 700 AD. Dominant during the Early Intermediate Period (c 400 BC-600 AD), it is best known for its irrigation works, its massive adobetemple-platforms, and for its pottery. Especially famous are the modeled vessels and portrait head vases, and the jars, often with stirrup spouts, painted in reddish brown with scenes of religion, war, and everyday life. The potterysequence has five phases which are identified by the details of the spout formation on the stirrup-necked bottles and it is used for relative dating of the sites (c 300-700 AD). The Mocheculture was the major contributor to the subsequent Chimú culture of the north coast. Huge structures at the ceremonial center include a large, terraced, truncated pyramid, Huaca del Sol, and the smaller Huaca de la Luna, on top of which is a series of courtyards and rooms, some with wall paintings. Huaca del Sol was perhaps the largest single construction of the prehistoric Andean region. Grave goods in gold, silver and copper display a fairly advanced metalworking technology. Archaeologists excavated a site called Huaca Rajada and found the elaborate, jewelry-filled tomb of a Moche warrior-priest. Several more burial chambers containing the remains of Moche royalty have been excavated, all dating from about 300 AD, whose finds greatly aided the understanding of Moche society, religion, and culture. Incised lines on lima beans have recently been interpreted as a form of nonverbal communication similar in concept to the quipu. Developing out of Cupisnique, Gallinazo and Salinar, Moche survived into the Middle Horizon but appears ultimately to have been overtaken by the Huariculture. In the last phase (Moche V), the southern part of the Moche territory was abandoned and a new capital established in the north, at Pampa Grande.
CATEGORY: ceramics DEFINITION: A ceramic vessel construction technique where a mass of clay is handworked into a rough approximation of the vessel through punching, pinching, and/or drawing.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Mohenjo-Daro CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: One of the two capitals of the Indus civilization, the best known of the Mature Harappan cities, located in the Sind region on the right bank of the Indus in Pakistan. Radiocarbon dates and corroboration with Mesopotamian data date the capital to about 3000-1700 BC. The city, covering approximately 2.5 square km, was laid out on a grid plan, the oldest recorded. The larger blocks, separated by broad streets with elaborate drains, were subdivided. It was the largest of all the Indus Valley sites, and like other Indus Valley settlements, Mohenjo-Daro consists of two parts: a lower town in the east, overlooked by a high artificial mound or citadel on the west side. Traces of mud and baked brick defenses have been found. Within these an assembly hall, 'college', great bath, and granary were excavated. Numerous craft installations were in the lower town, for pottery, beadmaking, shell working, dyeing, and metalworking. Artifacts provide the basic definition of the Mature Harappan material culture for pottery styles, seals, weights, bead forms, metal forms, figurines, etc. There are many flood deposits, which many times overwhelmed the city. Mohenjo-daro was abandoned c 1700/1600 BC, apparently after a massacre, as in the latest layers groups of skeletons were found lying in houses and in the streets. The other capital, Harappa, was 400 miles away.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Iron Age hillfort in Cote-d'Or, France, on a route from the River Seine to the Mediterranean. Occupation is dated to the 6th century BC (Hallstatt D), the residence of a Celtic chieftain. The hillfort of Vix seems to have been the center of political authority and extensive trade relations. The rich Celtic and Greek artifacts found there, including Massiliote wine amphorae and Attic black figure ware, as well as those from the nearby tumulus burials near the villages of Vix and Sainte-Colombe-sur-Seine, indicate trade between the Celts and the Greeks.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: The chief city of the Mycenaeans of Bronze Age Greece, overlooking the Plain of Argos (Argolid) in the eastern Peloponnese. Inhabited in the Early Helladicperiod, 2500-1900 BC, it was taken over c 1900 BC by Greek-speaking invaders. After existing as a minor Middle Helladicsite, it rose to prominence by the 15th century BC. In the Late Helladic, c 1400-1250 BC, it was surrounded by massive walls of cyclopean masonry, and entered by the monumental Lion Gate. Little remains of the palace on the acropolis, though some houses lower on the slope have survived. Just inside the gate was the Shaft Grave Circle A, with six tombs yielding a great treasure of metalwork of high quality and artistic skill -- weapons, drinking vessels, jewelry, face masks -- and potterydating to the 16th century BC. Stelae, carved with chariots, hunting scenes, and spirals in relief, stood over the graves. A second shaft grave circle was found outside the city, slightly earlier in date and less rich. Later members of the royal family were buried in the nine great tholos tombs, which include the magnificent Treasury of Atreus. The city escaped the disasters of the 13th century better than the mainland, but Mycenae fell in c 1200 BC, attributed to the Dorians. Mycenae is famous in Homer as home of Agamemnon, leader of Greek heroes at Troy. It emerged from the Dark Ages as a minor town.
Nasbeh, Tell en-
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Tell en-Nasbeh; Tall al-Nasbeh; Tel Mizpe CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A site near Jerusalem, occupied throughout the Iron Age. Noteworthy were its massive rubble walls, 4 m thick, with projecting towers and a very strong gateway. It is the probable site of biblical Mizpah.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: western hemisphere CATEGORY: geography DEFINITION: The Western Hemisphere, the continental landmass of North and South America. The term often includes the neighboring islands.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: The southernmost and (except for Chatham Islands) only temperate landmass to be settled by Polynesians/Maoris. Beginning in c 900 AD, the lifestyle was predominantly horticultural on the North Island, but hunting and gathering on the colder South Island. Language, economy, and technology are almost fully Polynesian. There are two archaeological phases: Archaic, c 900-1300, and Classic, c 1300-1800. The Classic is associated with many earthwork fortifications, a rich woodcarving tradition, and development of the chiefly society observed by Captain Cook in 1769.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Sarawak, Niah Caves CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A limestone massif with a number of caves which have produced material of all periods from Palaeolithic to c 1300 AD in Sarawak, north Borneo. It is one of the major prehistoric deposits of island Southeast Asia with human remains. The most important site, the Great Cave, has deposits which may be of Middle Palaeolithic age, but a later stratum (dated around 38,000 BC) yielded a Homo sapiens skull which is probably the oldest yet known in the region. Other deposits include a series of flexed, seated, and fragmentary burials dated to 12,000-1500 BC and extended burials in wooden coffins or mats of the last two millennia BC. There are also jar burials and cremations from c 1500 BC to 1000 AD. There was distinctive pottery c 2500 BC, Neolithic polished stone adzes, and metal by the 1st millennium AD.
CATEGORY: geology DEFINITION: A hard mass of mineral, usually rounded, found in various forms in soil created by the deposition of minerals from solution. The way nodules are formed can assist in palaeoenvironmental reconstruction and the age of the conditions under which they formed. Nodules are often elongate with a knobby irregular surface; they usually are oriented parallel to the bedding. Chert and flint often occur as dense and structureless nodules of nearly pure silica in limestone or chalk, where they seem to be replacements of the carbonate rock by silica.
CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: Type of late Iron Age bead found in southeastern England, hexagonal in outline with white spirals in a blue ground mass.
CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: The successors to Carolingians, the empire of Otto emperors, 936-1024 AD. As inheritors of the Carolingiantradition of the Holy Roman Empire, the German emperors also assumed the Carolingian artistic heritage, the conscientious revival of late antique and Early Christian art forms. Ottonian art later developed a style of its own, particularly in painting, ivorycarving, and sculpture; there was a hieratic quality in some art, especially manuscript painting. Their architecture consisted of fortress-like basilicas with massive walls, groups of towers, and tiny windows. The achievements of Ottonian artists provided background and impetus for the Romanesquestyle.
oxygen isotope analysis
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: oxygen isotope examination CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: Isotopeanalysis looking at the O18/O16 ratio in materials. The method can be used to classify glass types and to analyze mollusk shells in order to try and reconstruct their original environment and thus the source. It is also used to interpret deep sea cores. The basis for this technique is the fact that the ratio of two of the stable isotopes of oxygen varies according to the material in which it is found. The oxygen is released from the sample, and is converted to carbon dioxide; the oxygen isotopic ratio is determined after ionization in a mass spectrometer. Variations in the isotopic ratios for the raw materials can lead to a classification of types and even, in some cases, the suggestion of a source for the raw materials. The technique is also used to analyze mollusk shells in an attempt to reconstruct the original aquatic environment. Because temperature variations are correlated with changes in atmospheric O18/O16 ratios, oxygen isotopeanalysis has also been used to identify seasonal changes in ice cores, interpret temperature variations during speleothem precipitation, and examine isotopic variations in tree ring climates. Foraminifera sampled from deep sea cores have revealed fluctuations in the O18/O16 ratio. These present evidence for glacial-interglacial cycles in the form of continental ice volume change.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A Maya center in Chiapas, Mexico, which reached its height during the Late Classic, coming into power when Teotihuacán declined. There are inscribed monuments erected between 630-810 AD, after which the site was abandoned. The buildings have fine reliefdecoration modeled in stucco or carved on limestone panels and they are know for unusual features (pillar and lintel doorways, mansard roofing). A richly furnished tomb of the Classic period was found underneath the pyramid of the Temple of the Inscriptions, equally important to Tutankhamun's in Egypt (jade ornaments, a number of sacrificed retainers, and a massive, elaborately carved sarcophagus). A subterranean vaulted aqueduct joins the central palacecomplex, with its unique four-story tower, to the eastern terraces where the Temples of the Foliated Cross, the Cross, and the Sun are situated. Palenque was the westernmost of the great Classic Maya sites. Palenque was among the first major centers to suffer in the general Mayan collapse; it was abandoned in 810.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Palaeozoic CATEGORY: chronology DEFINITION: Major interval of geologic time extending from 540-245 million years ago. It is the first era of the Phanerozoic Eon. It is a geological era in the earth's history before the Mesozoic and after the Precambrian, marked by the development of fishes, land plants, insects, reptiles, and fernlike trees. The early Paleozoic (probably the first 130 million years) was characterized by widespread ups and downs of the Earth's crust, which resulted in mountain building and geosynclines (downward flexing) in parts of North America, Europe, and Asia. Great seas were formed in the southern areas of the emergent landmasses. Much of North America was covered by a warm shallow sea with many coral reefs. The late Paleozoic, which extended from about 410 to 245 million years ago, saw tremendous changes wrought in the Earth. Both plant and animal life flourished in the great, warm, shallow seas, and the various convolutions of the Earth laid down extensive mineral deposits. Much of the copper, gold, lead, zinc, and other minerals mined today derive from Devonian times in the late Paleozoic. Huge swampy forest regions covered much of the northern continents, and these were repeatedly and suddenly invaded by the seas, which buried the vegetation, then covered it with silt. When the sea subsequently withdrew, the forests revived and were again buried in rhythmic cycles that are now evident in deposits called cyclothems. Heat and pressure transformed the buried vegetation into the oil and coal. During the Devonian Period animal life emerged from the ocean, and various species adapted themselves to breathing air and moving about on land. This happened by way of the amphibians, which evolved in the Carboniferous and Permian periods, and were succeeded by reptiles. The late Paleozoic also saw the beginning of insect life -- and fishes and land plants underwent rapid development.
CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: A collection of archaeological artifacts, ecofacts, and material that may not be related -- that are together through accident or natural forces rather than human activity. Also used to describe a site with a mass of intercut features of different periods.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Pasemah CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A plateau in southern Sumatra with a series of impressive prehistoric megalithic monuments -- massive slab graves and a rich collection of life-sized anthropomorphic carvings. The large stones are roughly carved into the shape of animals, such as the buffalo and elephant, and human figures -- some with swords, helmets, and ornaments and some apparently carrying drums. They are stylistically similar to those of Iron Age burials of the last centuries BC, and remote connections with the Dong Son culture of northern Vietnam and the megalithic cultures of south India are likely.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Pekin man, Sinanthropus CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: An obsolete name for a variety of Homo erectus found at Zhoukoudian cave (Choukoutien), southwest of Beijing (Peking). The braincase was thick, with a massive basal and occipital torus structure and heavy browridges. The remains of over 40 fossil humans were found there. These Chou-k'ou-tien fossils are dated to the Middle Pleistocene, about 900,000-130,000 years ago. Peking man postdates Java man and is considered more advanced in having a larger cranial capacity, a forehead, and nonoverlapping canines.
CATEGORY: chronology DEFINITION: A term describing cold-climate processes and landforms, an environment with severe frost in non-glacial conditions and have much ground ice, mass movements, and strong winds. It applies to the region surrounding a glacialarea and regions immediately beyond the ice-front during a glaciation. In a periglacial zone, part of the ground is perennially frozen. This so-called permafrostlayer is covered by a layer which thaws and freezes seasonally, the active layer. Such seasonal changes give rise to several processes, some of which sort the constituents of the active layer and are collectively known as cryoturbation. A variety of landforms, including involutions, ice wedges, and pingos, are formed in the active layer and permafrost. Hillslopes become mantled with frost-shattered rubble that move downslope during cycles of freezing and thawing. Rivers are usually seasonal in the periglacial zone, and erosion by frost action is dominant. Wind erosion and deposition is often an important factor, and caused the formation of the huge deposits of loess and cover-sands in Europe and Asia. The periglacial zone is of interest because it would have been the environment in which man lived for long periods of time during the Devensian/Weichselian cold stage. During the coldest periods of the Quaternary (the last 1,600,000 years), the periglacial zone was enlarged to approximately twice its present size.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: pl. petraria CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: A type of heavy siege engine which hurled stones at castles with the effect of modern shrapnel. Trebuchet was the largest of the petrariae, or siege engines. It consisted of a long beam, up to 50 ft long, with massive weights of 8-9 tons at one end. It rested on a crossbeam and the long arm was hauled down by a rope attached to the end and wound on to the windlass.
CATEGORY: feature DEFINITION: The order of the layers as they appear in a mass of stratification, not to be confused with stratigraphic sequence, which is extrapolated from the physical sequence.
Piette, Edouard (1827-1906)
CATEGORY: person DEFINITION: French prehistorian who excavated many caves in the Pyrenees and was the first to recognize the Azilianculture, bridging the gap between the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic. He was a pioneer in accepting the authenticity of Altamira's art and worked at Le Mas D'Azil and Brassempouy. He amassed the greatest collection of Palaeolithic portable art for the French government. He was the author of various classificatory schemes for prehistory, subdividing the Palaeolithicperiod into three, the Amydgalithic, Niphetic and Glyptic periods (approximately equivalent to the Lower, Middle and Upper Palaeolithic), but this system was never very widely adopted.
CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: The range in the amount of water that may be added to a dry clay in order to develop a satisfactorily plastic mass
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: ice age, Ice Age, Oiluvium; Quaternary; Great Ice Age; Pleistocene Epoch CATEGORY: chronology DEFINITION: A geochronological division of geological time, an epoch of the Quaternaryperiod following the Pliocene. During the Pleistocene, large areas of the northern hemisphere were covered with ice and there were successive glacial advances and retreats. The Lower Pleistocene began c 1.8 million years ago, the Middle Pleistocene c 730,000 years ago, and the Upper Pleistocene c 127,000 years ago; it ended about 10,000 years ago. Most present-day mammals appeared during the Pleistocene. The onset of the Pleistocene was marked by an increasingly cold climate, by the appearance of Calabrian mollusca and Villafranchianfauna with elephant, ox, and horsespecies, and by changes in foraminifera. The oldest form of man had evolved by the Early Pleistocene (Australopithecus), and in archaeological terms the cultures classed as Palaeolithic all fall within this period. By the mid-Pleistocene, Homo sapiens evolved in Africa and Europe. Homo sapiens spread to Asia and the Americas before the end of the epoch. There were mass extinctions of large and small fauna during the Pleistocene. In North America more than 30 genera of large mammals became extinct within a span of roughly 2,000 years during the late Pleistocene. Of the many causes that have been proposed by scientists for these faunal extinctions, the two most likely are changing environment with changing climate, and the disruption of the ecological pattern by early humans. The Pleistocene was succeeded by the Holocene or present epoch.
CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: Type of British or Gaulish coin made from potin from the early 1st century BC onwards. Potin coins are unusual in that they are cast rather than struck. The earliest examples are the first kinds of coin made in Britain and are found mostly in southeastern counties. Derek Allen has traced the origins of the potincoinseries back to the bronzecoinage of Massalia some time in the 2nd century BC, the prototypes for the British series probably coming via Gaul. Also called Kentish castbronze coins.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: pressure-flaking; pressure technique, pressure method CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: A method for the secondary working of flint tools involving the use of a hard object against a stonecore or mass to remove flakes. The roughed-out form of the tool is sharpened and finished by exerting pressure with a bone, antler, stone, or stick on the edge in order to remove small thin chips. By using a short, pointed instrument to pry, not strike, the tiny flakes leave only the smallest scars. As the least violent and most advanced of the methods of working stone, it gave the craftsman the ultimate in control for the removal of materials in the shaping of an implement. Fine-edged weapons, such as daggers, arrowheads, and spear heads, can be produced using this technique. This technique was first widely used in the Solutrean c 18,000 BC and is associated with some New World points.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Site of a massive stoneplatform, 50 x 60 meters x 12 meters high, on Savai'i Island, Samoa. The Pulemelei is perhaps the largest surviving man-made stonestructure in Polynesia and it may once have supported a large community house or temple. The site is undated, but probably postdates 1000 AD.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Late Cypriotsettlement in south Cyprus, occupied in the late 13th century BC possibly by the Sea Peoples. Massive fortifications were built, but the site was abandoned for Kition (Citium). Ancient Kition was founded by the Mycenaeans in the 13th century BC.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: bekhenet CATEGORY: structure DEFINITION: A monumental gateway to Egyptian temples or palaces built in stone and usually decorated with relief figures and hieroglyphs. It was the usual entrance from the Middle Kingdom to the Roman period (c 2055 BC-395 AD). The Egyptians made frequent use of them, usually in the form of foreshortened pyramids to mark the entrances of tombs. A pylon consisted of a pair of massifs (massive towers) flanked by a smaller gateway. All the wall faces were inclined; the corners completed with a torus molding and the top with torus and cavettocornice. The interior of a pylon contained staircases and chambers. Pairs of colossal statues and obelisks were often erected in front of the pylon. Pylons are the largest and least essential parts of a temple; some temples have series of them (e.g. 10 at Karnak). Rituals relating to the sun god were evidently carried out on top of the gateway.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Al-Qayrawan CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Important caravan city in north-central Tunisia on the east-west route between Egypt and the Maghreb. Founded in 670 on the site of the Byzantine fortress of Kamouinia, it has four major 9th-century structures: the Great Mosque, the Mosque of Three Doors, and two massive cisterns. The Great Mosque bears the name of Uqba b. Nafi, the conqueror of North Africa, who built the first mosque at Qairawan in 670. The mosque was rebuilt again by the Aghlabid ruler, Ziyadat Allah, and his successors, beginning in 836. The 9th-century mosque, much of which survives influenced Islamic architecture in the Maghreb. The Mosque of Three Doors (Jami Tleta Biban) has a square sanctuary with nine domes and was built in 866. As a result of Bedouin incursions in the 11th century, the decline of steppecultivation in favor of nomadic life, and the rise of Tunis as capital, Qairawan declined into an isolated market town for nomads.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Ch'üan-chou CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Late 13th century AD Songdynastyshipwreck at Houzhou, China. It was a 24-meter-long keeled ship with 13 compartments. The acquisition and preservation of this massive artifact was spectacular; it is on display in a Chinese museum.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: radioisotope CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: Any of several species of the same chemical element, such as carbon, with different masses whose nuclei are unstable and dissipate excess energy by spontaneously emitting radiation in the form of alpha, beta, and gamma rays.
CATEGORY: geology DEFINITION: An unstable (radioactive) isotope of carbon with atomic mass 14 that is produced in the atmosphere by cosmic radiation. It is the basis for radiocarbon dating, the method most frequently used in archaeology. It acts like C12, being taken into the organic compounds of all living matter. The proportions of radioactive and inert carbon are identical throughout the vegetable and animal kingdoms' carbon cycle. When organic matter dies it ceases to exchange its carbon, as carbon dioxide, with the atmosphere, so its C14 dwindles by decay and is not replenished. Determination of the radioactivity of carbon from a sample will reveal the proportion of C14 to C12, and this will in turn, through the known rate of decay of C14, give the age of, or more accurately the time elapsed since the death of, the sample.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Old Banaras CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: City of the Ganges Civilization, India, in Uttar Pradesh with the earliest occupation characterized by Black and Red Ware and the beginnings of irontechnology. There are eight phases starting with that in c 800 BC. The settlement of this period was surrounded by a massive brickrampart. After c 700-600 BC, Northern Black Polished Ware and copper coins appear.
CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: A South American Indian settlement directed by Jesuit missionaries, existing as a Spanish colonial policy that brought dispersed Indian populations into mission settlements. The term also means the removal of mass from a stone.
Roy Mata (b ?-c 1265)
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Roymata CATEGORY: person DEFINITION: A great chief of central Vanuatu, especially on the island of Efate and Retoka, who arrived around 1200 AD and set up a highly stratified society. His death was marked by an elaborate ritual that included the burying alive of one man and one woman from each of the clans under his influence. His grave, on Retoka, has been excavated and it was surrounded by evidence for the mass-sacrifice of 35 retainers, including 11 male-female pairs. Many bodies had ankle, wrist and neck ornaments of shells and pig tusks.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: The process of selecting part of a site for excavation or an area for fieldwork, preferably according to a strategy which allows statistical estimates and generalizations of the relation of the sample to the unexplored parts of the whole site or area. In a way, all archaeologicalfieldwork and excavation is sampling, since it is impossible to collect all the data from the complexmass of an archaeologicalsite. Selection may be arbitrary or nonarbitrary -- perhaps by the need for particular evidence for a specific question (a 'judgment sample'); the question itself will be determined by the existing framework of archaeological thought. In a more specific sense, sampling or probabilistic or random sampling, uses the theory of probability to make estimates of how closely the observations obtained from the part examined ('sample') represent the characteristics of the whole group being studied ('population'), by using fixed rules of random selection so that each unit is given a known chance of selection. The area under study may be divided into sub-zones (strata) and each stratum can be sampled separately to give a more precise estimate of the whole population. The choice of sampledesign, the size of the sample units, and the proportion of the population sampled (the sampling fraction) will all affect the result, but even with quite small fractions accurate estimates of the entire population of sites within an area can be obtained. The method is particularly good at estimating the number of different types of site within the area. Methods are also being developed for the sampling of large groups of artifacts; excavations frequently produce very large quantities of bone or flint, and it has been shown that often it is necessary to study only a small sample of the whole population to obtain a reliable estimate of its character.
CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: Any of various forms of glassware manufactured at Sandwich, Mass., from 1825 to c1890.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Sakkara, Saqqarah CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: The site of the principal necropolis of the ancient city of Memphis, near Cairo, Egypt, used from the 2nd Dynasty to the Christian period. There are 15 royal pyramids, mainly of the Old Kingdom (c 2575-2130 BC), the most being the Step Pyramid erected by Imhotep for Djoser, pharaoh of the 3rd dynasty, c 2630 BC. The royal mastaba tombs of the nobility making up most of the cemetery have yielded much evidence on the Archaic Period. Also buried here, at the Serapeum, were the sacredApis bulls. With the passage of time burial chambers were more massively constructed of stone, and eventually hewn from solid rock. There are a large number of important private tombs of the Archaic through the Graeco-Roman period.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Latin Iitus saxonicum CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: A system for defending the coasts of southeast England against raiding Saxon pirates, begun between 287-296 AD and was later (367 AD) constituted a separate command under the Count of the Saxon Shore. It consisted of a series of forts at strategic sites from the Wash to Southhampton, usually at the mouth of estuaries which served as harbors for attached naval units. Burgh Castle near Yarmouth, Richborough in Kent, and Porchester near Portsmouth are the best preserved of these forts. The forts were massive stone structures, defended by projecting bastions, and characterized by narrow gateways. It was a comprehensive coastal command developed with communications and administration.
CATEGORY: geology DEFINITION: A layer of soil, organic material, or rock particles which are no longer in the place where they were formed geologically but which have been redeposited away from their source. The agents of redeposition can be weathering, erosion, decay, soil-forming processes, and man himself. The material is carried by, suspended in, or dropped by air, water, or ice; or a mass that is accumulated by any other natural agent and that forms in layers on the earth's surface such as sand, gravel, silt, mud, fill, or loess. Thus an archaeological site is a complicated sequence of various sediments and soils. The study of such sequences is called stratigraphy.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Greek Egesta CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Ancient city of Sicily, north of modern Calatafimi, which was the chief city of the Elymi. The Elymi may have been of Trojan origin; they are archaeologically indistinguishable in the Early Iron Age (c 1000-500 BC) from their Sicanian neighbors. Segesta had a Greek culture, but it often sided with the Carthaginians against its Greek neighbors (mainly Selinus). Early in the First Punic War, Segesta massacred the Carthaginian garrison and allied themselves with Rome. It became a free city under Roman rule. Segesta ruins include an unfinished 5th-century BC temple and a Hellenistic theater. The city site is on the plateau adjacent to the theater. The surviving 5th-century temple, which stood outside the original city, is usually seen as a distinguished, but unfinished example; it has a colonnade, but no interior cella.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: modern Balatah, Balata CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Palestinian site and biblical city with its most important period of occupation in the Middle Bronze Age c 17th century BC, when it was given a great insloping wall of Cyclopean masonry. To the same period belongs a stone plaque bearing one of the earliest known alphabetic inscriptions. The town was destroyed at the end of the Middle Bronze Age and not reoccupied until the 16th century BC. The site included a glacis of the HyksosPeriod, when it probably controlled the territory from Megiddo to Gezer. It was clearly an important city in the Late Bronze Age and it figures prominently in the Amarna letters. It that time, fortifications and a temple with a massebah were erected. The town was destroyed in the 12th century BC and there was another break in occupation until the 10th century BC, when it became an Israelite city and the short-lived capital of the Kingdom of Israel. This was destroyed by the Assyrians in 720 BC, after which there was intermittent occupation until its final destruction in 101 BC. The site was replaced by Nablus (Neapolis) in 67 AD. There was also some occupation in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Late Cypriot settlement site first occupied in the 13th century BC. In eastern Cyprus, its was massively fortified but suffered two major destructions -- possibly by the Sea Peoples. It was abandoned early in the 12th century BC.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: ancient Izmir CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: City on the Aegean coast of Asia Minor in western Turkey on trade routes to Persia, one of the largest late Classical and early Byzantine sea ports. Izmir is one of the oldest cities of the Mediterranean world and of almost continuous historical importance during the last 5,000 years. Excavations indicate settlement contemporary with that of the first city of Troy, dating from the 3rd millennium BC. Greek settlement is first clearly attested by the presence of potterydating from c 1000 BC. According to the Greek historian Herodotus, the Greek city was founded by Aeolians but soon was seized by Ionians. By the 7th century BC it had massive fortifications and blocks of two-storied houses. Captured by Lydia (Persians) c 600 BC, it was refounded by either Alexander the Great or his lieutenants in the 4th century BC at a new site on and around Mount Pagus. It soon emerged as one of the principal cities of Asia Minor throughout the Hellenistic and Roman periods. Izmir was celebrated for its wealth, beauty, library, school of medicine, and rhetorical tradition and it was one of the early seats of Christianity.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: solifluxion, sludging, soil flow, soil fluction, soil flowage CATEGORY: geology DEFINITION: The slippage of soil and rock particles due to the freezing and subsequent thawing of the earth; the process of mass movement of soil and sediment upon the thawing of water-laden ground. Many deposits in valleys and on the lower part of hills are due to the land having been glaciated, with the top level thawing in the spring and the water, unable to permeate the still-frozen subsoil, flowing downhill, taking with it chunks of loose material. Full glaciation is not necessary to cause solifluxion; hard winters with frozen earth and occasional thaws can cause minor solifluxion that may add to the accumulation of material. Solifluction can cause artifactual material to be moved from one deposit to another; sometimes whole areas of archaeological sites may be covered with solifluction material. When solifluction can be recognized geologically, it is a valuable indicator of glacial conditions in areas which remained free of ice.
CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: The extrusion of liquid fiber-forming material, followed by hardening to form filaments; a technical process by which fibers are twisted together to make continuous threads. The wool was fixed as a mass on the distaff. A thread was drawn out by one hand and fixed on the spindle. Attached to this last was a stone spindle whorl. As the spindle was spun around the whorl gave momentum on the flywheel principle. The thread from the distaff was twisted and then wound on to the spindle. Rarely are the threads, or cloth woven from them, are found in archaeological contexts, unless preserved by desiccation, waterlogging, or metal corrosion products. Proof of spinning comes more commonly from the discovery of a spindle whorl, loomweight, or comb. Spinning was engaged in during Neolithic times.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: soapstone CATEGORY: geology DEFINITION: A soft magnesian mineral, white to green massive rock composed mainly of talc. The softness of the stone made it very popular for the carving of artifacts: figurines, vessels, jewelry, decorative stone works, and stamp seals. Its resistance to high temperatures made it particularly suitable for mold-making for metal casting. In the Indus Civilization seals of this material were whitened by heating with lime, a process called 'glazing'.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Ancient monument on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire, England, the remains of four massive trilithons surrounded by concentric circles of megaliths, probably constructed since c 3200 BC. It was a major Neolithic and Early Bronze Age ritual monument, architecturally unique, surrounded by a whole complex of barrow cemeteries and ritual sites. It had many phases of reconstruction. Apart from a cursus, the oldest structure was a circular earthwork about 100 meters in diameter, consisting of a ditch with an inner bank broken by a single entrance. Just inside the bank was a ring of 56 Aubrey holes (pits), some of which contained cremations. There were further cremations in the ditch and on the inner plateau. The presence of groovedwarepottery, together with radiocarbon dates from a cremation suggest that Stonehenge I belongs to the end of the Neolithic. Phase II occurred in c 2200-2000 when two concentric rings of sockets were dug at the center of the site for the erection of 80 bluestones imported from the Preseli Hills of southwest Wales. To this period belongs the Avenue, two parallel banks and ditches which run from the entrance to the river Avon 3 km away. In Stonehenge's third phase, the bluestones were removed, and Sarsen stones, some weighing over 50 tons, were brought from the Downs 38 km away to the north. These blocks, unlike those of any other henge or megalithic tomb, were dressed to shape before erection, and were then set up as a circle of uprights with a continuous curving lintel, enclosing a U-shaped arrangement of five trilithons. This phase has been dated 2120 +/- 150 BC and its work was carried out by the bearers of the Wessex culture. At a later stage (phase IIIc) the bluestones were re-erected in their present positions, duplicating the sarsen structure. There is a radiocarbon date of 1540 +/- 105 BC for the early part of this final stage, and the whole of Stonehenge III probably falls within the Early Bronze Age. The final stagecame in the Middle or Late Bronze Age when the Avenue was extended 2000 meters east. The function of the monument is usually held to be religious, though it had no connection with the Druids. Theories are that the northeast-southwest axis may suggest some form of sun cult, the stone settings may have been used for astronomical observations in connection with the calendar, and the Aubrey holes for calculating the occurrence of eclipses. It has also been interpreted as the temple of a sun or sky cult. Archaeologists have long been fascinated by this monument, with its evidence of massive manpower input (one calculation suggests 30 million man-hours would have been required for the phase IIIA structure), its architectural sophistication, and astronomical alignments.
CATEGORY: ceramics DEFINITION: Bluish-gray high-fired pottery of the Kofun, Nara, and Heian periods in Japan (5th-14th centuries AD), derived from Kayapottery of the Old Sillaperiod in Korea. A large number of vessels were made on a mechanical wheel, and fired in a kiln at about 1100 degrees C; the blue-gray color resulting from the oxygen-reduced atmosphere in the kiln towards the end of the firingprocess. By the 6th century, Sue pottery was mass-produced at many centers, with the emphasis on specialized ceremonial vessels, then on utilitarian pots and dishes for the elite, and finally on storage and cooking pots for the general population. When it was first imported from Korea, it was deposited in mounded tombs of the Kofunperiod.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: The westernmost site of the Indus (Harappan) civilization near the shore of the Arabian Sea, west of Karachi, probably a port or trading post supporting the sea trade with the Persian Gulf. It was defended by a massive semi-dressed stone wall and was divided into a citadel and a lower town; the lower town shows connections with the local Kulliculture.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Talayotic culture CATEGORY: structure; culture DEFINITION: Massive dry-stone towers of the Bronze and Iron Age of the Balearic Islands, mainly Majorca and Minorca, c 1000-300 BC. In its oldest and most simple form, a talayot is a round tower built of large stone blocks. It may be solid, or enclose a single cell or chamber roofed by corbelling; there may niches in the wall. In other examples the roof is of flat slabs supported by a central pillar. From c 850 BC, square talayots were also built and some of these have a second chamber above the one on the ground floor. Many later became the center of a small village of dry-stone houses and enclosed by walls of Cyclopean masonry. The architecture shows resemblances to contemporary structures in Sardinia (the nuraghe) and in Corsica. The precise function of talayots is unknown, but they could have been used as lookout towers or as refuges in times of trouble. The tower has also given its name to the local Bronze age culture.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: ancient Djanet; biblical Zoan; modern San al-Hajar al-Qibliyah CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Most important archaeological site in the northeastern NileDelta of Egypt and capital of 14th nome of Lower Egypt in the Late Period (747-332 BC) and, at one time, of the entire country. There are massive mud-bricktemple enclosure walls built by Ramesside and the 21st-Dynasty pharaohs. The site is best known for the rich royal tombs of the 21st and 22nd Dynasties of c 1070-715 BC, built near the great temple of Amon. Silver coffins, gold masks, and jewelry in gold and silver have been found and the tombs and some sarcophagi were reused from earlier periods. The Tanite Dynasty is the 21st dynasty of Egypt (1075-945 BC). The pharaohs of the 22nd Dynasty continued to reside at Tanis until the collapse of their shrinking domain in 712 BC.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: eddo, dasheen CATEGORY: flora DEFINITION: Large herbaceous plant of tropical Asian origin, rich in starch and a staple food in the Pacific Islands and Oceania. The tubers are consumed as cooked vegetable and made into puddings and breads, and also made into the Polynesian poi, a thin, pasty, highly digestible mass of fermented taro starch.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: templum CATEGORY: structure DEFINITION: A building with a religious function, of various shapes and sizes. For the ancient Egyptians, it was the 'house' of a deity or deities and the most important component was the innermost cult-chamber or shrine, where the image of the deity was kept. Temples were not originally intended for worshippers, but as shrines for the gods. They consisted of the following elements: the pylon, an open courtyard with colonnades, the hypostyle hall, and the sanctuary. The sacred precinct of a town, including the temple and associated buildings, was often surrounded by a massive mud-brick wall. In the Classical world, many great temples were built. Because of the importance of temples in a society, temple architecture often represents the best of a culture's design and craftsmanship.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Very important site north of Mexico City, at its peak c 450-650 AD the largest and most powerful city in Mesoamerica. It had its beginnings as one of a number of small agricultural settlements around the shores of ancient Lake Texcoco. Teotihuacán flourished by c 300/200 BC and by 100 AD, it had about 40,000 inhabitants. Archaeological work has provided more information about Teotihuacán than about any comparable Mexican site. Teotihuacán maintained extensive political and trade contacts with lowland Mexico, and is famed for its enormous public buildings and pyramids. At its heart is a complex of magnificent architecture including the massive Pyramid of the Sun and Pyramid of the Moon, the Cuidadela (probably an administrative center), and the Great Compound (probably a market place); there are no ball courts. The structures are distributed along a central roadway known as the Street of the Dead. After the destruction of Cuicuilco, Teotihuacan expanded and people were housed in apartment compounds which exhibit some social differentiation. Many of the inhabitants were craftsmen, and some 500 workshop sites have been identified. Four-fifths of those sites were devoted to obsidian working. Teotihuacán controlled the central highlands of Mexico, and was in contact with all the principal centers of civilization (Monte Albán, Tikal, etc.) as far as Belize. The influence of Teotihuacán during the Early Classic was considerable and most major centers have some Teotihuacán forms. Characteristic of Teotihuacán influence are Talud-Tablero architecture, images of Tlaloc, cylindrical tripod vases, Thin Orange Ware, murals, and stylized human face masks. There is very little massive stonesculpture except as architectural embellishments. The end of Teotihuacan came fairly suddenly. A decline in its influence at other sites was evident by c 600, but the city itself was not destroyed until 750. There is much evidence of burning from that time, indicating that the city may have been sacked --possibly by the Chichimecs. The city was never rebuilt, but a small population remained in the ruined city for more than a hundred years.
CATEGORY: ceramics DEFINITION: A type of fine, mass-produced Roman pottery of the imperial period, usually red-glazed or -glossed and moldmade, to which stamps bearing the name of the potter were applied. Made in several centers, it was exported through western Europe and the Mediterranean; it can be a very accurate chronological indicator. The best-known is the plain and relief-decorated pottery of 1st-3rd century AD from southern, central, and eastern Gaul (called Samian ware) and also in Italy and Germany. Another type is the Arretine of c 30 BC-50 AD. Generically related or derivative of terra sigillata are the late Roman Argonne or Marne ware, and North African (African Red Slip) and eastern red wares.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Town in Norfolk, England, which was a Burhs created by King Alfred in the 9th century. There are well-preserved Saxon defenses, traces of narrow cobbled streets bordered by large and smaller buildings, substantial rectangular timber buildings, industrial workshops. Metalworking was carried out and Late Saxonwheel-made pottery (Thetford ware) was mass-produced.
CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: Mass-produced wheel-turned late Saxonpottery manufactured in workshops near Thetford in Norfolk, England, from the late 9th century through to the early 12th century. The fabric is hard and sandy, grey to buff in color. The products are mainly cooking pits and jars with limited rouletting and applied thumb-strip decoration.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A fortified citadel of the Mycenaeans in the Argolid, Greece, an important Bronze Age center. The palace of its rulers, a megaron opening onto a porticoed court, was decorated with frescoes after the style of the Minoans. They include one of the best surviving representations of the bull-leaping rite and the fresco of a court lady carrying an ornamental casket. The walls of cyclopean masonry contain corbelled galleries, whose construction was attributed by the ancients to the Cyclopes from Lycia. The settlement was occupied from the Early Bronze Age, but the palace and the massive defensive wall were constructed c1400 BC. Excavation also revealed an Early Helladicstructure. Tiryns was destroyed c1200 BC, like other Mycenaean sites.
CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: Important Mesoamerican people of composite origin -- a mixture of Chichimec tribes and more advanced groups from Puebla and the Gulf Coast -- which controlled central Mexico from 900-1100 AD. After absorbing civilized peoples in the Valley of Mexico, the Toltecs produced a warrior-dominated society, worshipped of tribal god Tezcatlipoca, and put emphasis on human sacrifice. In the 10th century, they established their capital at Tula, north of modern Mexico City. The Toltecstate ended in the departure of the Quetzalcoatl faction in 987 AD. After conquering many Maya cities, this faction established itself at Chichen Itza and transported its architectural style but incorporated Maya features. This group of Toltecs was ousted about 300 years later. Evidence of Toltec influence (e.g. Mazapan ware, metallurgy, imported Plumbate ware, massive architectonic decoration) has been found at many sites, including Chichen Itza, Xochicalco, and Cholula. Numerous fragmented Toltec groups seem to have survived in central Mexico after the destruction of their capital and their prestige caused many Post-Classic groups to claim them as ancestors, most notably the Aztec.
CATEGORY: structure DEFINITION: Tall commemorative column erected in Rome in honor of the emperor Trajan (reigned 98-117 AD) and dedicated on May 18th 113 (erected 106-113). The column marks the center of what was once the fabulous Trajan's Forum. Composed of 18 massive drums of marble, the column stands 38 meters, including the statueplinth. The decoration is a continuousspiralrelieffrieze commemorating the emperor's triumphs in Dacia (101-102, 105-106) and the column contains an internal spiral staircase. The ashes of the emperor and his wife, Plotina, were in its base at one time. The frieze is an invaluable source of information on the Roman and Dacian military.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: transfer printing, transferprint CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: A mass-production method of applying an image to a curved or uneven surface, most commonly used for printing on porcelain and other hard surfaced pottery
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: trilith CATEGORY: structure DEFINITION: A stonestructure consisting of two standing stones with a third (the lintel) placed across the top of them, forming an arch or doorway, as at Stonehenge. Trilithons appear in megalithic monuments of various types, but the most impressive examples are Stonehenge's five huge ones of sarsen stones, skillfully joined together with mortice and tenon joints. The island of Tonga has a massive coral trilithon of c 1200 AD.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: biblical Erech, modern Warka; Uruk period CATEGORY: site; culture DEFINITION: One of the greatest city-states of Sumer, northwest of Ur, which flourished at the beginning of the 3rd millennium BC. It is 250 km south of Bagdad, Iraq. Potterydating from around 5000 BC has been found there, but the civilization is traditionally dated to c 3800-3100 BC. Uruk's rulers tried to lead Sumer until Ur became more powerful, but Uruk still remained important as a holy city. It was one of the great Sumerian city-states, developing from the 'Ubaidperiod. It was the site of numerous innovations, the most important being the invention of writing. It lost importance with the rise of Ur, c 2100 BC, but remained occupied till the Parthianperiod. Archaeologists have found very important structures and deposits of the 4th millennium BC and the site has given its name to the period that succeeded the Ubaid and preceded the Jemdet Nasr period. Uruk was Mesopotamia's -- and the world's -- first true city. There are two large temple complexes -- the Anu sanctuary and the Eanna sanctuary -- both with several successive temple-structures during the Urukperiod, including the White Temple in the Anu sanctuary and the Limestone and Pillar Temples in the Eanna sanctuary. A characteristic form of decoration is claycones with painted tops pressed into the mud plaster -- known as clay cone mosaic. A ziggurat laid out by Ur-Nammu in the Ur III period (late 3rd millennium BC) is by the Eanna sanctuary. The earliest clay tablets appear in late Uruk levels; they are simple labels and lists with pictographic symbols. Tablets from slightly later levels, of the Jemdet Nasr phase, show further developments towards the cuneiformscript of the Early Dynastic period. There was also mass-produced wheelmade pottery, cylinder seals, and sophisticated art. Uruk was the home of the epic hero Gilgamesh, now thought to be a real king of the city's first dynasty.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Site of one of the largest tohua in the Taipivai Valley of Marquesas, Polynesia. The artificial terrace is surrounded by massive pa'epa'e.
CATEGORY: structure DEFINITION: A type of Iron Age hillfort where the external walls of stone have become smooth by the heat of the sun or by burning, combined with windy conditions. The walls fuse into a slaggy or glassy mass, becoming vitrified. Dry-stone timber-laced ramparts, especially in Scotland, have timber-lacing that has been fired causing the stonecore of the rampart to fuse. They are dated roughly in the last few centuries BC and early centuries AD.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Iron Age burial mound in Côte-d'Or, France, a rich Celtic burial of the Hallstatt D period (late 6th century BC). In a mortuary house under a barrow, the body of a woman was accompanied by a four-wheeled cart with bronze fittings and by rich offerings, including a golddiadem, bronze and silver bowls, brooches, Etruscan wine flagons, and a Attic Black Figure cup dated c 520 BC. the most spectacular object is a massive bronzecrater with a capacity of nearly 1300 liters (1.64 m high) and of Greek workmanship. The burial at Vix is associated with the nearby hillfort of Mont Lassois.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: mass method CATEGORY: measure DEFINITION: A method for quantifying archaeological remains by their mass (grams, kilograms).
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: The earliest-known massburial ground in the U.S., located in Florida and dating to c 7400 bp. The waterlogged site has 168 individuals, many with preserved brain tissue that is being used in DNA studies.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A palisaded colonial settlement that is part of the tract of land on the James River, Virginia, that includes Jamestown and Williamsburg -- Martin's Hundred. It is the earliest palisaded settlement found in North America, dating to 1619. Artifact assemblages have many European imports and a variety of local pottery. The settlement was attacked by Native Americans in 1622 and there is evidence of a massacre.
Xerxes (c 519-465 BC)
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Khshayarsha, Xerxes the Great CATEGORY: person DEFINITION: The last of the great Persian kings of the Achaemenid empire, who ruled 486-465 BC, and was the son and successor of Darius I. He is remembered chiefly for his savage destruction of Babylon after a revolt, and for his massive invasion of Greece from across the Hellespont (480 BC), with battles at Thermopylae, Salamis, and Plataea. His ultimate defeat spelled the beginning of the decline of the Achaemenid Empire.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: [Hsi-pei-kang] CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Site in Hebei Province, China, of the Royal Cemetery of the Late Shang, with seven shaft tombs with wooden-chamber burials and human sacrifices. There are also over 2000 small pit-graves with human sacrifices. The hierarchy of burials at this and other cemeteries in the area reflected the social organization of the living. The large pit tombs, some nearly 42 feet deep, were furnished with four ramps and massive grave chambers for the kings. Only a few undisturbed elite burials have been unearthed, the most notable being that of Fu Hao, a consort of Wu-ting. Her relatively small grave contained 468 bronze objects of the Anyangstyle, 775 jades, carved bone objects, and more than 6,880 cowries -- suggesting how great the wealth placed in the far larger royal tombs must have been.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Tell site near Tabriz, Iran, with evidence of the Neolithic, Chalcolithic, Early Bronze Age, and Iron Age occupations. It is one of the earliest permanent settlement sites in the area, dating from the late-7th millennium BC. The earliest pottery was undecorated, but painted wares appeared in the higher levels. The site was occupied until the beginning of the Islamic period. In the 3rd millennium BC, it was a town surrounded by a stone wall and contained round houses and granaries built of mud-brick. The latest structure on the mound is massive, perhaps a citadel, built of mud-brick and probably of the Sassanianperiod. The Early Bronze Age settlement consists of a long sequence of Kura-Araxes occupations and many materials of this culture complex.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Australopithecus boisei CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: Name originally given to a robust Australopithecus found in Bed I at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania by Louis Leakey, characterized by unusually massive jaws. Potassium-argon dating suggests that he lived about 1.75 million years ago. This fossil is now classified as Australopithecus boisei or Australopithecus robustus.