CATEGORY: lithics DEFINITION: A platform with more than one plane of detachment, such as on the margins of some bifaces or multidirectional cores.
CATEGORY: lithics DEFINITION: The place on a core or flake where it was struck by a hammer.
CATEGORY: lithics DEFINITION: The angle between the plane of the platform and the exterior (dorsal) surface of a flake or core.
CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: The practice of placing a corpse on an artificial, above-ground structure; the body was sometimes retrieved at a later date for interment.
CATEGORY: feature DEFINITION: A platform of earth and stone, usually rectangular in shape and flat-topped, that forms a base for the construction of a building, such as a palace or temple. The buildings served as habitation and/or ceremonial structures.
CATEGORY: lithics DEFINITION: A platform on a biface or core with a single plane of detachment.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: platform CATEGORY: lithics DEFINITION: The area on a store core which is struck to remove a flake or blade in toolmaking. Part of the original platform is removed with the detached flake. The platform itself is prepared by the removal of one or more flakes, and in the latter case is described as a faceted striking platform.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A site in southwestern Iran including a large cemetery and platform from Susa's initial occupation, dating to the end of the 5th millennium BC. The site is divided into Acropole 1 and 2; Acropole 1 has provided a sequence of 27 levels up to the Akkadianperiod. Some levels contain evidence of the development of writing: tablets marked with numbers, tokens in envelopes, and tablets of the Proto-Elamite script.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: uh'-doh-bee CATEGORY: structure DEFINITION: Spanish term for sun-dried mud brick; also the name for a structure built out of this material. These claylike buff or brown mud bricks were not fired, but hardened and dried in the sun. The material was also used as mortar, plaster, and amorphous building for walls. Adobe structures are found in the southwestern US and Mexico where there is heavy-textured claysoil and a sunny climate. These structures were often houses, temples, and large solid platforms in the shape of truncated pyramids.
CATEGORY: structure DEFINITION: The name of a rectangular stoneplatform, the largest with stepped sides, which was a focus of court rituals in prehistoric Eastern Polynesian temples (marae). Most of these platforms are found in the Society Islands, and on Easter Island, where ahu were statue foundations.
CATEGORY: 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.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A Late Preceramic site on the north-central coast of Peru, dating to 4360-3950 BP. It is one of the largest Preceramic settlements known in the Andes and it had a complex social hierarchy. Six platform mounds and other structures include rooms with artifacts, textiles, plant material, clay figurines, and feathers.
axis of detachment
CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: The path of the force that removed a piece from the core of a stone tool, running from the point of impact on the platform of the artifact toward the distal end
CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: A phase in Ecuador's culture, dating c 500 BC - 500 AD that was discovered on La Plata Island (Manabi). Large pyramidal platform mounds, helmeted figurines, spouted jars, and incised pottery have been found and evidence of polychrome painting and metallurgy. Houses with saddle roofs (low, downward-curving roof ridges), pottery head/neck rests, figurines with one leg crossed over the other, Pan pipes graduated towards the center and ear plugs shaped like golf tees were unique to the culture -- but they have parallels in southeast Asia. It has been suggested that they were introduced into Ecuador by voyagers from across the Pacific. Particularly elaborate anthropomorphic vessels give information on dress and ornamentation (nose discs and tusk-like pendants). Bahia was a well-developed socio-political and religious unit. The La Plata Island site was probably a ceremonial center as there is little evidence of daily living. Unfortunately, many sites have already been lost to modern development.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A large architectural complexes of South America located in the Lambayeque valley of north coastal Peru. The site has more than 30 huge platform mounds with an estimated 750,000 burials -- most of them looted by treasure hunters who have taken immense quantities of gold, silver, copper, and bronze objects. Occupation at Batán Grande went from the Formative (Cupisnique) to the Incaperiod. The site was the capital of a powerful state between 850-1300 AD. With Batán Grande, Cerro de los Cementerios was a copper-processing area, linked to the Cerro Blanco mine by a prehistoricroad. Excavations have revealed metal artifacts, smelting furnaces, grinding slabs, crushed slag, and pottery blowtubes.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: wave-cut platform CATEGORY: geography; geology DEFINITION: An eroded terrace with an alluvial cut surface, on bedrock in a valley. The term also refers to an eroded landform with a wave-cut surface in coastal areas and in wave-swept sea cliffs (also called wave-cut platform).
CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: A detached piece produced by cracks initiated away from the point of applied force. These flakes usually have a pronounced lip, contractinglateral margins immediately below the striking platform, and no bulb of force.
CATEGORY: feature DEFINITION: The movable wooden framework or platform on which a corpse is laid, sometimes with grave goods, before burial. It is used to carry the body to the grave.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: bulb of force CATEGORY: lithics DEFINITION: In flint-making, a swelling or bulb left on the surface of a blade or flake directly below the point of impact on the striking platform. In other words, a swelling on a flake or blade at the point where it has been struck to detach it from a core. On the flake or blade struck off there is a rounded, slightly convex shape around this point called the bulb of percussion and on the core there is a corresponding concave bulb. The point and the bulb of percussion are rarely present if a flake has been struck off naturally, as by heat or frost. Thus the presence of a bulb of percussion makes it possible to distinguish human workmanship from natural breakage.
CATEGORY: lithics DEFINITION: The irregularly shaped scar on the bulb of percussion of a struck flintflake. It marks the place where a small piece of flint is dislodged during fracture. The bulbar surface is the surface upon which the bulb of percussion occurs. This fracture pattern is evident by a bruised striking platform at the point of impact with shock waves radiating from it and, on the resultant flake, a bulb of percussion and bulbar scar. When these features are present, it is possible to distinguish human workmanship from natural breakage caused by heat or frost.
CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: Inhumation or cremation -- the laying of a body in the ground, in a natural or artificial chamber, or in an urn after burning. In collective burial, a single chamber is used for more than one corpse. A primary burial is one for which a burial monument such as a barrow was erected. The term secondary burial is used for the practice of collecting the bones of a skeleton after the flesh has decayed, and placing them in some form of ossuary. In fractional burial, only some of the bones are so collected and interred. Archaeologists can learn a great deal about prehistoric societies by studying skeletons and the way they were buried. In some cultures, bodies were buried stretched out; in others they were placed in the ground in a fetal, or flexed position. In still other societies, the dead were exposed on platforms or in charnel houses, then when the flesh had decayed or been scavenged, the disarticulated bones were made into a bundle and buried. Sometimes bodies were cremated and the remains buried. Goods interred with a burial give many clues to the social position of the person and their culture and the study of bones can reveal sex, age, and information about nutrition and disease. The earliest deliberate burial of their dead was that of Neanderthal man of Palaeolithic times 100,000 years ago. They were buried in the cave in which the family continued to live. Food and tools were buried with them, proof of the belief in an afterlife. Neolithic man buried his dead in the long barrow, a communal tomb. Inhumation was followed by cremation in the Late Bronze Age.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: modern Tlaxcala CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A group of platforms, palaces, and ceremonial buildings occupied between 400- 1100 AD in the area of modern Tlaxcala, Mexico. Some structures have well-preserved frescoes, painted murals, and plaster reliefs from the 8th and 9th centuries depicting dancers and elaborately dressed warriors, with day glyphs and numbers associated with Mexican gods such as Quetzalcóatl and Tlaloc. The style of painting shows a strong influence from both Maya and Teotihuacán art. In the pottery, Teotihuacán wares predominate, though there are also links with the Gulf Coast and the Puebla-Oaxaca.
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 decorated wooden platform upon which a sarcophagus was temporarily placed before burial. These ornate funereal structures were often mounted on a stage to support a coffin for a lying-in-state.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Çatal Hüyük CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: One of the world's earliest towns, a huge Neolithicsite in south central Turkey's Konya plain. At least 14 levels have been excavated so far with radiocarbon dates from 6500 BC to 5400 BC, without undisturbed deposits being reached. Cereals were cultivated, cattle and sheep were bred, and hunting took place. Pottery had apparently only just been introduced. Trade in such materials as obsidian and seashells was extensive. There were flaked stone tools and polished obsidian mirrors. The mud-brick buildings were rectangular with access only possible through the roofs. Built-in furniture included benches and platforms. The earliest evidence of religious beliefs have been found at the mound of Çatal Hüyük. Shrines were very frequent, with huge figures of goddesses in the posture of giving birth, leopards, and the heads of bulls and rams modeled in high relief on the walls. Other shrines contain elaborate frescoes of the hunting of deer and aurochs, or vultures devouring headless human corpses. Stone and terra-cotta statuettes found in these shrines represent a female figure, sometimes accompanied by leopards and, from the earlier levels of excavation, a male either bearded and seated on a bull or youthful and riding a leopard. The main deity of these people was evidently a goddess. The dead were buried beneath plastered platforms within the shrines or under the floors of the buildings. Evidence suggests both craft specialization and social stratification.
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.
CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: A phase of the Lowland Maya Pre-Classic, the Late Formativeculture of Petén, dating from 300 BC to 150 AD. It was characterized by architectural and ceramic traits which convey the rise of the Classic Mayacivilization: temple-pyramids, corbelled arches, and painted murals. Their sites are quite uniform and there was a variety of ceramic forms. Chicanelpottery includes dishes with wide, grooved rims, bowls, and vessels resembling ice buckets. Figurines are absent. Temple platforms (e.g. Uaxactún) were built by facing a cemented-rubble core with thick layers of plaster. At Tikal, a huge Maya ceremonial center, the Acropolis was begun in Chicanel times, and white-stuccoed platforms and stairways with polychromed masks were much like Uaxactún. There is also a huge site, El Mirador, in the northern part of Petén. The El Mirador construction dwarfs even that of Tikal, although El Mirador only flourished through the Chicanelphase. Chicanel-like civilization is also known in Yucatán, where some temple pyramids of enormous size are datable to the Late Formative. Another important site is the cave of Loltún in Yucatán.
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."
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A powerful ancient state on the southern coast of Peru which is known primarily from the study of historical sources, which flourished during the Late Intermediate Period, c 1000-1478. Chincha reached the height of its power in the early 15th century when it also controlled part of the Pisco valley, and it retained a certain prestige under the Inca after their conquest of the area in 1476. The main city was La Centinela, which included pyramids, platforms, and courts surrounded by storerooms and dwellings of the nobility. Chincha prospered through trade (black warepottery and some polychromes) with adjacent highlands and northern coastal areas and there were about 30,000 households. Other sites include the administrative complex at Tambo de Mora (probably the capital) and La Cumbe. The Chincha vanished within the first three decades of the Spanish invasion.
CATEGORY: structure DEFINITION: Large rectangular enclosures (literally, 'citadels') found in Mesoamerica and thought to have been the dwellings of the ruling classes and their retainers. The enclosures, surrounded by tapering adobe walls, contained courts, storerooms, administrative structures, and platform burials. Some may have been the palaces of the Chimu kings; the number of recognizable ciudadelas agrees with the number (10) of known Chimú rulers. Ciudadelas have been found in the ancient Andean city of Chan Chan and it has even been suggested that they were the palaces of successive rulers, maintained by their descendants in the way that those of deceased Inca were maintained in Cuzco.
CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: A type of spall resulting from the fracture of fine-grained, or glassy rocks. Characterized by a bulb of percussion, striking platform remnant, and extremely sharp edges. A predictable fracture pattern that allows the manufacture of Pre-determined tools from these materials.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A ruined ancient Mayan city, in extreme western Honduras near the Guatemalan border, one of the largest and most impressive sites of that civilization. Copán was an important Maya city during the Classic Period (c 300-900 AD), peaking in the 8th century with as many as 20,000 people. The site has stone temples, two large pyramids, several stairways and plazas, and a ball court for tlachtli. Most of these structures center on a raised platform called the Acropolis and are constructed in a locally available greenish volcanic tuff. Copán is particularly known for the ornate stonecarving on the buildings and the portrait sculptures on its many stelae. The Hieroglyphic Stairway, which leads to one of the temples, is beautifully carved with 2500 hieroglyphics total on the risers of each of its 63 steps. During the Classic Period, there is evidence that astronomers in Copán calculated the most accurate solar calendar produced by the Maya up to that time. The site's ruins were discovered by Spanish explorers in the early 16th century and rediscovered by American traveler John Lloyd Stephens in 1839, who purchased" the site for $50. Since then much of the beautiful carving has deteriorated but the highly detailed pen-and-ink drawings of his colleague Frederick Catherwood still survive and are a great source of iconographic detail. Restoration work revealed much of Copán's political and dynastic history through the decipherment of hieroglyphic inscriptions on its monuments. A dynasty of at least 16 kings ruled Copán from about 426-822 AD; the Maya had completely abandoned the site by about 1200. Finds date from the Late Prehistoric period (c 300 BC-AD 250."
CATEGORY: structure DEFINITION: In Roman antiquity, a kind of base or stand upon which another object rests, and by analogy the embankment of a quay, a dike, or jetty. Also used for the raised causeway for foot passengers at the side of a road or street (as in Pompeii) or for the platforms or stages around a great altar.
CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: A flintblade with negative impressions of removals on one side of the dorsal surface, creating a crest. These constitute part of a previously worked striking platform or result from preparing the flaked surface on a core before detaching flakes or blades.
CATEGORY: site; culture DEFINITION: A Late Pre-Classic ceremonial site, at the southern end of ancient Lake Texcoco near Mexico City, that has the first stone monument (pyramid) on the Mexican plateau. Cuicuilco was one of the largest and most important centers of the period -- possibly an early rival of Teotihuacan. Early large-scale construction in the form of adobe and stone-faced platforms took place around 600-200 BC. The pyramid is a truncated cone, with a clay-and-rubble core; the rest is made of sun-dried brick with a stonefacing. Rising up in four tiers, the Cuicuilcopyramid is faced with broken lava blocks and the summit was reached by ramps on two sides. The site was covered by volcano lava around 300-400 AD, forcing total abandonment. Lava from the volcano covers all of Cuicuilco, including the lower part of the round pyramid. The Cuicuilco-Ticomán culture succeeded the Middle Formative villages of the valley but retained many of their traits, such as the manufacture of solid handmade figurines.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Danangombe CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A later Iron Age site located northeast of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe and the 17th-19th century AD capital of the Torwa state. Occupation probably began during the 16th century, marked by elaborately decorate dry-stoneterrace-retaining walls surrounding extensive house platforms. The foundation of the site is comparable to stone structures at Khami and Naletale. Dhlo Dhlo appears to have had access to imported luxury goods from coastal trade.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A large Maya ceremonial site in northwest Yucatan Peninsula, one of the largest Mayan cities ever built, covering 50 square miles and having a maximum population of over 50,000 around 1000 AD. Its occupation was continuous from 500 BC to the late Classic and Early Post-Classic, from 600-1000 AD, but the population dropped to less than 10% of its former size form 1000-1200 AD. Its earliest occupation is denoted by Mamonceramics and Chicanel structures. The site centers around the Cenote Xlacah, with major plazas, the Temple of Seven Dolls, pyramids, platforms, and numerous causeways (sache) converge in the middle of the site. It may have been the capital of the Mayacivilization.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Rapa Nui CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: The easternmost inhabited island of Polynesia, a small volcanic one, about 2500 miles from South America and 1250 miles from Pitcairn Island, its nearest inhabited Polynesian neighbors. It was settled by the Polynesians early in 1st millennium AD and developed a horticultural economy. By 700 AD, the inhabitants built large stone platforms (ahu), some of cut stone, and between 1000-1700 AD these platforms supported rows of huge stone statues (moai), some with separate top knots. Shaped by stone tools, as there is no metal on the island, from quarries in volcanic craters, there are about 300 platforms and about 600 statues. By about 1700, the warrior chiefdoms were fighting and all the statues were toppled from their pedestals. The platforms were used for human burial in stone chambers inserted into the stonework. There is a village of stone houses and many petroglyphs. The Europeans discovered Easter Island in 1722, after which the culture and population. The islanders also carved on wooden boards in an undeciphered script, Rongorongo. Easter Island culture represents the cultural development an isolated human community.
CATEGORY: lithics DEFINITION: The small flake scar on the dorsal side of a flake next to the platform. It is the result of rebounding force during percussion flaking.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: flake-blade CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: An imprecisely defined elongated flaked stone artifact with dorsal ridges associated with sub-Saharan African Middle Stone Age collections. Unlike true blades, flake-blades do not necessarily have parallel sides, nor are they necessarily at least twice as long as they are wide. They were usually end-struck off cores, frequently taper to a point to form artifacts termed convergent or pointed flake-blades, and often have faceted platforms. Some examples were retouched to form knives or denticulate or notched tools.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Kao-ch'eng CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Area in southern Hebei province, China, with widely scattered Shang remains. At Taixicun, the main occupation postdates the Erligang Phase and has one radiocarbon date of c 1500 BC. The site is dominated by three large rectangular Hangtu platforms and a large house foundation with sacrificial burials. Other graves yielded bronzeritual vessels, fragments of lacquer, and a bronze ax with a blade of meteoritic iron. Evidence suggests that it may be the location of a Shangcapital occupied after Zhengzhou but before Anyang.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A lake village in Somerset, England, which has yielded more data than any other site about life in the British Iron Age. The village was built on a wooden platform keyed to the underlying peat and was enclosed by a timber palisade. Inside were more than 90 round huts with clay and plank floors. They had central hearths for the fires. Cobbled paths and alleyways ran between the huts. Preservation was so good that the excavators recovered baskets, iron objects (including currency bars and tools with their original hafts), dugout canoes, fragments of spoked wheels, lathe-turned bowls, basins and tubs decorated with La Tène art motifs, farming and fishing gear, basketry and wickerwork, and evidence of potting, weaving, and metalworking from the village. Occupation started from the 3rd/2nd to the 1st century AD, just before the Roman conquest. On the high ground nearby is an Iron Age earthwork, Roman pottery, and a Dark Age structure dated to the 6th century AD. Glastonbury, like Cadbury Castle, is linked in folklore with King Arthur. A rotary quern was invented here and eventually became universal. The Benedictine Abbey of St. Mary at Glastonbury was perhaps the oldest (c 166 AD) and certainly one of the richest in England.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A Viking ship unearthed in Sandefjord in 1880 under a large tumulus on the Oslo Fjord, Norway. Much of its original timber was preserved by the clay in which it was set. In the middle of the ship, a special platform had been constructed to hold the funerary chamber, which contained the skeleton of a man (possibly King Olaf of Vestfold who died in 890) surrounded by weapons, slaughtered animals, and other objects. The ship is the ultimate Viking war machine -- a slender oak-built vessel made for strength and speed, propelled by a large square sail and 16 pairs of oars. It would have been equally navigable in open seas or in shallow inland waters; in 1893 a replica successfully crossed the Atlantic.
Great Tombs period
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Kofun CATEGORY: chronology DEFINITION: A period in Japanese history, 4th-7th century AD, known for round tombs covered by a mound with a square platform off to the side, making a keyhole shape. Towards end of period, tombs were very large and surrounded by a moat, and earthenware figures and models (Haniwa) were placed in a series of concentric rings around the tomb. Inside was a chamber of stone slabs, probably adopted from cist tomb of northeast Asia. Burial goods included bronze mirrors, Chinese-type swords, magatama (fine polished stone ornaments), and Sue Ware pottery.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: hangtu CATEGORY: structure DEFINITION: A type of rammed-earth construction of walls and foundation platforms for buildings developed by the Chinese from Late Neolithic (Longshan) period and Shang Dynasty (c 1600-1027 BC), notably at An-Yang. It was also used for shaft tombs in the Shang and Zhou (Chou) periods. Earth was packed between wooden forms in successive thin layers, each layer being pounded down before the next was added. Hangtu walls have been found at only two Late Neolithic sites, Chengziyai and Hougang. Much of the Great Wall of China was originally built of rammed earth.
CATEGORY: structure DEFINITION: A prehistoric Hawaiian stonetemple, akin to the Marae of Eastern Polynesia. Most heiau are complex arrangements of walls, terraces, and platforms. Holo-Holo-Ku Heiau is one of the oldest examples.
CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: A prehistorictradition of southern Arizona which began as a sedentary farming culture around 300 BC and existed until 1400/1450 AD. It was a cultural unit within the Cochise subculture and it had large villages, canal irrigation, and pottery-making. The finest craft products were shelljewelry and objects of carved stone. Diagnostic traits include small villages of shallow, oblong pit-houses with no formalized community plan, cremation of the dead, plain grey or brown paddle and anvil smoothed pottery (or sometimes painted red on buff). The tradition is divided into: Pioneer (150-550 AD), Colonial (550-900 AD), Sedentary (900-1100 AD), Classic (1100-1450 AD), and Post-Classic (1450-1700 AD). Between 550-1200 AD, renewed Mexican contacts brought foreign elements to the Hohokam: courts for the ball-game, platform mounds, new types of maize, slab metates, mosaic mirrors, exotic symbolism from Mexican religion, and the use of copper bells. From about 1100, certain groups began to construct pueblos under Anasazi influence. After 1400/1450, the Hohokam territory along the Gila and Salt Rivers seems to have been partially abandoned. Their cultural heirs are the Pima and Papago Indians. Snaketown is an important Hohokamsite.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Hopewellian culture CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: An agricultural subculture of the Woodland Stage Complex settling in Ohio and Illinois around 100 BC and lasting to 500 AD. It was one of the most advanced Indian cultures of North America, with conical or dome-shaped burial mounds, large enclosures with earthen walls, and fine pottery with corded or stamped decoration. Farming was practiced and trade brought exotic raw materials from many parts of the continent. Hopewell is noted for its minor art objects, such as carved platform pipes, ornaments cut out of sheet copper or mica, Yellowstone obsidian, distinctive broad-bladed points, and ceremonial obsidian knives -- often found in rich burials of the Hopewell rulers. Between 200 BC-600 AD, the Hopewell Interaction Sphere" flourished in the Midwest which constituted Hopewell religious cults and distinctive burial customs associated with a widespread (through trading) art tradition. The culture which had both agriculture and hunting-gathering succeeded the Adenaculture."
CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: A steep-edged, often large, domed core with flat based striking platforms, heavily step-flanked around their margins. Both very large and smaller varieties are found commonly on Pleistocene sites in most areas of Australia and on some mid-Holocene sites and they are considered characteristic of the Australian CoreTool and Scraper tradition. They were chopping tools mainly used in wood-working. The step-flaking could have resulted from repeated striking to remove flakes.
CATEGORY: lithics DEFINITION: A steep-edged, often large, domed core with flat based striking platforms, heavily step-flanked around their margins. Both very large and smaller varieties are found commonly on Pleistocene sites in most areas of Australia and on some mid-Holocene sites and they are considered characteristic of the Australian CoreTool and Scraper tradition. They were chopping tools mainly used in wood-working. The step-flaking could have resulted from repeated striking to remove flakes.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A site in Yemen, southwestern Arabia, with a temple to the god Sin. The temple of dressed stone blocks on a plastered rubble platform has a tentative date of 7th-6th century BC.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A site in Ecuador with a unique oval platform faced with cut stone. On its summit was a gable-roofed building. It may have had a religious use or could have been a castle or guardhouse.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Large multi-moundsite in southern Georgia, US, that includes burial mounds and a platform mound from the latter half of the 1st century AD. It seems to have thrived in the period between the decline of the Woodland Tradition and the emergence of the Mississippian. Elaborately worked funerary vessels and grave goods such as copper ornaments and shell beads attest to ceremonial burial practice. There are indications of a chiefdom organization.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Major pre-Columbian ceremonial site in the north-central highlands of Peru, near Huánuco, coming into use during the Late Preceramic Period and continuing until after the end of the Chavín culture during the Early Horizon, c 1 AD. It is known for its temple structures, the earliest of which have interior wall niches and mud-relief decorative friezes, and date to the end of the Late Preceramic Period (c 2000-1800 BC). In the earliest levels (Mito) are remains of a platform on which stood the Temple of the Crossed Hands. Stone tools, some similar to Laurichocha II and III, and other artifacts appropriate to an Archaic subsistencepattern also occur in this phase. The next (Wairajirca) period has a radiocarbon date of 2305 +/- 110 BC and saw the introduction of the first pottery, a gray ware with incised designs and post-fired painting in red, white, or yellow. In the following (Kotosh) stage, there is evidence of maizecultivation, and the pottery, with grooved designs, graphite painting, and stirrup spouts, has Chavín-like features. Radiocarbon dates suggest that this period is centered on c 1200 BC and was closely followed by a pure Chavín stage with the typical pottery and ornament. Next in sequencecame levels (Sajarapatac and San Blas phases) with white-on-red pottery, and the uppermost strata (Hiqueras period) were characterized by red vessels, rare negative painting, and copper tools.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: The most important Olmec ceremonial center, located in Tabasco, Mexico, and built around 1000 BC. The site occupies a small island, entirely surrounded by swamps, and lacking both farmland and building stone. The principal monument is a huge lobed pyramid of clay, the tallest of the Olmec sites, and subsidiary structure include platforms and courtyards. La Venta is famous for its Preclassic stonesculpture, buried pavements of serpentine blocks brought from about 100-160 km away, and offerings of carved jade including six jadeite axes. The important buildings were constructed from c 1000-600 BC; the site grew in importance after the abandonment of San Lorenzo, especially during the Middle Formativeperiod c 850-750 BC. The end of La Venta was violent, possibly caused by a conflict between the carrying capacity of the area and the large number of workers needed to construct the site's structures.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: lake village CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: A type of Neolithicsettlement found common in prehistoric Europe in areas with many lakes, such as Switzerland, Germany, and north Italy. Such a settlement was formerly on the edge of a lake but is now buried by lakeshore sediment or underwater. They should properly be labeled lakeside villages, since in most cases they were constructed on the shore and not on stilts over the water, as was formerly believed. They were, however, frequently constructed on timber platforms and subsequently rising water levels in the lakes have preserved these platforms and much other wooden material, as well as artifacts of other organic substances. Cultures in which lake villages were common include Chassey, Cortaillod, Horgen, and Polada.
CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: The initial, usually short flutes that were removed from either side of the midportion of the basal edge to form a striking platform for the removal of the medianflute.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: malae CATEGORY: structure DEFINITION: A stonetemple of Eastern Polynesia, comprised of courtyards and stoneplatform or ahu, where ceremonies took place. The court was walled, paved, or terraced. Marae are among the important remains on Easter Island, the Hawaiian Islands (especially Heiau), and the Tuamoto, Society, Cook, Austral, and Marquesas Islands. Ancestral forms probably go back to Early Eastern Polynesian settlement, c 500 AD. Figures of the gods were kept at the marae, often in special wooden containers housed in portable shelters. Large numbers of thin, tall wooden slabs were set up on the marae; they were carved with openwork geometric designs and topped with figures of birds, human beings, or spiked projections. Marae are especially characteristic of 1200-1800 AD. The term 'marae' also refers to an open space within a village in Tonga, Samoa, or New Zealand.
Marajó Island, Marajoara
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Marajó CATEGORY: culture; artifact; site DEFINITION: A large island at the mouth of the Amazon River in Brazil with numerous artificial mound sites. Small one served as house platforms and larger ones contain urn burials. The pottery has sophisticated polychrome designs and is similar to that of pre-Columbian Andean cultures. Radiocarbon dates suggest that the Marajoara style began no later than the 5th century AD and lasted until 1300 AD. The largest center, Os Camutins, has 40 mounds. It is the world's largest fluvial island (one produced by sediments deposited by a stream or river) and half of it is flooded during the rainy season.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Area on Raratonga, Southern Cook Islands, with a well-preserved Polynesian settlement. The marae and paved house platforms were arranged in four places and dated between c 1600-1823 AD.
CATEGORY: structure DEFINITION: A ceremonial structure of the southern Marquesas Islands, Polynesia, comprising complex, irregular groups of terraces with platforms (pa'epa'e). Mortuary me'ae were built in secluded places and used stone-lined pits for burials. Public me'ae were associated with tohua.
CATEGORY: chronology DEFINITION: A division of time in Andean/Peruvian South America, c 600-1000 AD, used to refer to the first imperialistic domination of area under the unifying forces of Tiahuanaco and Huari (Wari) cultures. It was the time of the first large-scale imperial expansions. During the first half of the Middle Horizon, in central Peru, the Huaricame to control the highlands and possibly the coast. The remains of large groups of food-storage buildings in the Huari strongholds suggest military activity like that of the late Inca. Huari is closely linked in its art style to the monuments of the great site of Tiahuanaco, located on Lake Titicaca, Bolivia. Tiahuanaco expanded over the altiplano and adjacent regions of Bolivia, southern Peru, and northern Chile. The principal buildings of Tiahuanaco include the Akapana Pyramid, a huge platform mound or stepped pyramid of earth faced with cut andesite; a rectangular enclosure known as the Kalasasaya, constructed of alternating tall stone columns and smaller rectangular blocks; and another enclosure known as the Palacio. They practiced the raised-fieldsystem of agriculture. Some Tiahuanacoeffigy vessels have been discovered at Huari, but otherwise they seem to have been independent entities. In the second half of the Middle Horizon, the political and economic systems slowly collapsed. The decline of these two states was followed by a period of more localized political power. The Late Intermediate Period began about 1000 AD.
Middle Mississippi culture
CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: A part of the Woodland culture in the central Mississippi valley and its tributaries that came into existence around 700 AD and lasted until the historical 16th-17th centuries. The most notable features are elaborate pottery, large and often fortified villages, and ceremonial centers with temple platforms and courtyards. From its origin, these cultures spread outwards until they had overrun most of the eastern United States. In the north, the Mississippi culture encroached on and blended with the Woodland cultural tradition. Important sites are Etowah (Georgia), Moundville (Alabama), Spiro (Oklahoma), and Cahokia (Illinois).
CATEGORY: chronology DEFINITION: The intermediate part of the Paleolithicperiod, from about 100,000 years ago to about 35,000 years ago. It was characterized by the development of a variety of stone tools and the first symbolic use of artifacts and sites. It ended with the extinction of the Neanderthals. The Middle Paleolithic is equivalent to the Middle Stone Age in sub-Saharan Africa. The Middle Paleolithic comprises the Mousterian, a portion of the Levalloisian, and the Tayacian, all of which are complexes based on the production of flakes, although the hand-ax tradition survived in many instances. Middle Paleolithic assemblages first appear in deposits of the third interglacial and persist during the first major oscillation of the Fourth Glacial (Würm) stage. Associated with the Tayacian, in which the artifacts consist of very crude flakes, remains of modern man (Homo sapiens) have been found. Mousterian man, on the other hand, is of the Neanderthal race. It is in the Mousterian levels of the caves and rock shelters of central and southern France that the earliest evidence of the use of fire and the first definite burials have been discovered in western Europe. The artifacts consist of (1) the prepared striking-platform-tortoise-core (Levalloisian) tradition; (2) the plain striking-platform-discoidal-core technique of Clactoniantradition; and (3) a persistence of the bifacial core tool, or Acheulean tradition.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Ceremonial platform mound site in the Lurín Valley of Peru, dated to the early Initial Period.
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: site DEFINITION: A major ceremonial center of the Zapotec people in Oaxaca, Mexico, built around 900 BC on top of an artificially flattened mountain. Monte Albán (I = 900-300 BC) was probably created to serve as the capital of the entire valley, which had previously been divided among several states. It was an immense complex of monumental construction, with a huge plaza (300 x 200 m) dominated by three central mounds. The plaza was flanked on the east and west by temples, pyramids, and platform mounds; on the northern and southern extremities are more complexes of monumental building, including a ball court. There are also underground passageways. By the end of Period I, the city had between 10,000- 20,000 inhabitants living in houses on hill slope terraces around a nucleus of ceremonial and governmental buildings. Hieroglyphicwriting was in use, with bar-and-dot numerals, and dates were expressed in terms of the calendar round. More than 300 carved slabs ('danzantes') depict naked and contorted figures who may be captives, and inscriptions definitely recording conquests occur soon afterwards. In Late I/Early II, the city was surrounded by a defense wall. Period I includes the appearance of Grey Ware and Olmec-influenced monumental art. Period II is characterized by contact with Maya lowland centers and later, by the increasing influence of Teotihuacán. Period IIIA (the 3rd-5th centuries AD) is marked by increased contact with Teotihuacán, reflected in pottery (thin orange ware, cylindrical tripod vases), tomb frescoes, Talud-Tablero architecture, and stela inscriptions. Monte Albán reached the height of its power in Period IIIB, 500-900 AD, during which elaborate funerary urns in Grey Ware make their appearance and when the site reached its peak population of 50-60,000 people. Most of the surviving buildings belong to this time. During Monte Albán IV, 900-1521 AD, building ceased. After 900, the centers of power moved elsewhere and Monte Albán was considerably depopulated. It was essentially abandoned. In Period V, Monte Albán was of only secondary importance as a city and a political force. Mixtec art styles make their appearance in the valley and Monte Albán was used as a cemetery, with earlier Zapotec tombs reused for the Mixtec dead. One of the richest discoveries in ancient Mexico was Tomb 7, with over 500 precious offerings in Mixtecstylegold and silver ornaments, fine stonework, and a series of bones carved with hieroglyphic and calendrical inscriptions.
CATEGORY: site; culture DEFINITION: A fortified hilltop near Bucharest which is the type site of a Middle to Late Bronze Age culture, c 2000-1600 BC, covering much of eastern Romania. This culture of the Sub-Carpathian zone was of local origin, but absorbed influences from both the south (notably faience in trade) and the steppes. It had a rich, varied collection of pot and metal forms. The site had a citadel with a long occupation and four large grave groupings in an adjoining cemetery. The citadel was fortified by box-like ramparts and stone walls, with house platforms in the interior. The burial rite is predominantly contracted inhumation, with pottery, bronzejewelry, and stone or faience beads as grave goods.
CATEGORY: structure DEFINITION: The use of elevated mounds of earth or stone as the foundation for buildings, platforms, temples, and pyramids, which were often made of adobe (mudbrick).
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Mississippiansite in Alabama comprised of 20, mostly platform, mounds, with over 3000 burials. The site reached its peak c 1250 and it was probably part of a chiefdom. There is much evidence for the Southern Cult.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: The main ceremonial and residential center of the ruling dynasties of Tongatapu, Tonga, held by tradition to have been in use from the 11th century AD. The site has a corearea of 400 x 500 meters defended by an earthwork, and contains numerous house platforms and tombs (Langi). According to tradition, it became the residence of the Tui Tongadynasty about 1200 AD and the defenses were built about 1400 AD.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A site occupied in the PPNB phase, located on a high terrace of the River Jordan in Israel, with a radiocarbon date of c 7200 BC. Several different building phases are documented and the architecture is characterized by plastered areas and raised stone platforms; earlier rectangular buildings were later replaced by round ones. Sickle blades, querns, grindstones, and pestles suggest that wild cereals were harvested. After a hiatus in occupation, there were three ceramic phases: the Yarmukian, with semi-sunken round huts; the Munhataphase with similar structures, and the Wadi Rabah phase with rectangular houses.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Urban center of the Maya in the dense tropical forest of northern Guatemala, 13 km away from El Mirador, to which it was joined by a causeway. It was one of the earliest ceremonial centers of the Maya. There are two main clusters of platforms and mounds, including a 50 meter high pyramid. Thought to have been typical of the architecture of the period known as the Late Formative, or Late Pre-classic (300 BC-AD 100), the huge stone pyramids, temples, and other relatively tall buildings characteristic of the construction at Nakbe have been carbon-dated to 600-400 BC (corresponding to the Middle Formative). Although remains have been unearthed from almost every period of Mayan culture at Nakbe, it was not important after the beginning of the Late Formativeperiod.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Town and ceremonial center built in a shallow tidal lagoon off the shore of Ponape in the Caroline Islands; it is the largest single complex of ancient stonework in Oceania, comprising about 70 hectares with 92 rectilinear basalt and coral platforms. The most famous structure is the burialplatform of Nan Douwas, which contains four pit-tombs with prismaticbasalt enclosure walls up to 8.5 meters high. The whole complex is traditionally associated with the Sau Deleur rulers of Ponape, and was presumably constructed several centuries ago.
negative bulb of percussion
CATEGORY: lithics DEFINITION: A small depression on a core below the striking platform, produced by the force that detached a flake.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Site in the Alban Hills, near Rome, Italy, where the remains of two ships were found which belonged to the emperor Caligula. These two Roman galleys rested on the lake bottom on the west side and were raided continually, with the ships finally raised in the 1920s. They were pleasure ships of the period of the emperor Caligula, one measuring 210 x 66 ft, the other 233 x 80 ft. Many of the objects found on the ships are in museums in Rome, but the ships unfortunately were burned by the retreating German army on May 31, 1944. Other excavations led to the discovery of the temple, one of the richest in Latium. The remains of the temple precinct -- a large platform, the back of which is formed by a wall of concrete, with niches, resting against the cliffs -- are situated a little above the level of the lake, on the northeast.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A Maori pa (hillfort) on a small island in Kaipara Harbor, North Island, New Zealand. The site has three defensive phases from the 14th-18th centuries AD, and after 1500 its inner citadel was defended by palisades and large raised fighting platforms. Cultural affiliations are Classic Maori.
CATEGORY: structure DEFINITION: In the Marquesas Islands of Polynesia, elaborate, well-built, rectangular house platforms.
Pacific Littoral tradition
CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: A tradition developed c 4000-1800 BC on Peruvian coast. Settled communities lived off maritime resources and cultivated cotton and gourds for materials for fishingindustry. Bone, wood, shell, stone were worked. There were textiles, an early art style, and temple platforms in ceremonial centers.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Middle Horizon, Moche V site in Lambayeque Valley, northern Peru, dated c 1000 BC and occupied for relatively short time. It was a large urban center and probably the relocated capital, after the abandonment of Huacas del Sol and Luna, of the Mochepolity in its closing phases. Highly differentiated architecture is scattered over the area and structures include masonry platforms, truncated adobe pyramids, small agglutinated rooms, and extensive network of corridors and large storage rooms. A variety of human face motifs on molded and handmade neck-jars may have socio-economic significance in identifying either the contents or the owner. Stone tools were used in metalworking and small utilitarian artifacts in copper have also been found.
CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: A Middle Pleistocenechopper-chopping toolculture from Java characterized by coarse flakes in the shape of cleavers, known from a very prolific site in south central Java. In the Patjitanian, the main types of implements consist of single-edged choppers and chopping tools that occur in association with primitive flakes with unprepared, high-angle striking platforms. There are also pointed, bifacial implements that have been described as crude hand axes.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: modern Takht-i Jamshid; Parsa CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: The capital of the Achaemenid empire, in the Zagros Mountains of Iran, founded by Darius shortly after 518 BC; it was destroyed by Alexander the Great in 330 BC. The ceremonial palace was built by teams of workers and craftspeople from all parts of the empire. It replaced the earlier capital, Pasargadae, and was in many ways modeled on it, although incorporating many architectural and artistic innovations. It consists of a stoneterraceplatform on which were erected a series of monumental palaces and audience halls, as well as other buildings, constructed over a period of some 60 years. It is the showpiece of Achaemenid art, consisting of a series of great palaces and columned reception halls (apadana). Monumental stairways are flanked by lines or reliefs showing Median and Persian nobles, tribute bearers from all quarters of the empire, servants preparing banquets, as well as the enthroned rulers themselves. The records and stylistic details attest the employment of Medes, Syrians, Urartians, and Ionian Greeks among others. The two largest buildings, the Apadana of Darius and the Throne Hall of Xerxes, occupied the center of the terrace and divided it into two functional halves. The northern area was military and mainly the work of Artaxerxes I, while the southern area contained the Palaces of Darius and Xerxes, the harem and treasury areas. Just north of Persepolis is Naqsh-i Rustam, where four monumental tombs were carved in the cliff face; these are the tombs of Darius I and three of his successors (probably those of Xerxes I, Artaxerxes I, and Darius II). They are also decorated with relief carvings and bear trilingual inscriptions in Elamite, Babylonian (Akkadian), and Old Persian. There are also late 2nd millennium BC Middle Elamite and early 1st millennium AD Sassanian inscriptions.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: lake dwelling CATEGORY: structure DEFINITION: Platforms raised on posts above open water or on damp ground at water's edge; a type of Neolithicsettlement found common in prehistoric Europe in areas with many lakes, such as Switzerland, Germany, and north Italy. Such a settlement was formerly on the edge of a lake but is now buried by lakeshore sediment or underwater. They should properly be labeled lakeside villages, since in most cases they were constructed on the shore and not on stilts over the water, as was formerly believed. They were, however, frequently constructed on timber platforms and subsequently rising water levels in the lakes have preserved these platforms and much other wooden material, as well as artifacts of other organic substances. Cultures in which lake villages were common include Chassey, Cortaillod, Horgen, and Polada.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Pirri culture, pirri point CATEGORY: lithics; culture DEFINITION: An Australian stone tool type, a symmetrical leaf-shaped point, up to 7 cm long, unifacially flaked all over its dorsal surface. The striking platform and bulb of percussion are sometimes removed to produce a rounded, thinned butt. Pirri points have been found distributed widely in inland Australia from South Australia to the Northern Territory and northwestern Australia. A component of the Australian Small Tool Tradition, the Pirri point dates from about 3000 BC. The aboriginal term pirri" means 'wood-engraving tool'."
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: One of the isolated islands of eastern Polynesia, settled by Polynesians c 1100 AD, but abandoned when mutineers from HMS Bounty arrived in 1790. Pitcairn is one of many isolated Polynesian islands with a 'lost' population. Their is evidence of occupation in stone platforms with anthropomorphous statues, petroglyphs, and stone fishhooks and adzes -- resembling New Zealand Archaic assemblages. Its current population is descended from the mutineers of the British ship HMS Bounty and their Tahitian Polynesian consorts
CATEGORY: structure; feature DEFINITION: An open square in ancient cities of the New World, similar to the Roman forum, which was the focus for meetings and events. It is usually an unroofed, but architecturally enclosed, space, around or within which are placed platform mounds and their associated buildings, such as palaces and temples.
Pnyx or pnyx
CATEGORY: structure DEFINITION: An ancient Greek open-air auditorium for public (popular) assemblies; the site in Athens (a hill to the west of the Acropolis) where the Ecclesiae were held. It was a semicircular rising ground, with an area of 12,000 square yards, leveled with a pavement of large stones, and surrounded by a wall, behind which was the bema or platform from which speakers addressed the people. It was used from the 6th century BC and remodeled in the 4th century BC.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: plural podiums, podia CATEGORY: structure DEFINITION: In architecture, any of various elements that form the foot or base, of a structure, such as a raised pedestal or base, a low wall supporting columns, or the structurally or decoratively emphasized lowest portion of a wall. The podium formed a sort of shelf or seat around a wall. The term podium is also used for raised platforms in general, as for speakers, and for a low basement. The architectural podium is usually designed with a modeled base and plinth at the bottom; a central surface known as a die, or dado; and a projecting cornice, or cap. Major Roman examples can be seen in the Maison Carrée (c 12 BC) in Nîmes, France, and the Temple of Fortuna Virilis (c 40 BC) in the Forum Boarium at Rome.
CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: A roughly rectangular block of flint prepared for the effective removal of long narrow blades by creating a striking platform at either end so that blades could be removed in alternate directions.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: proskenion CATEGORY: structure DEFINITION: A single-story structure located in front of the skene and protruding into the orchestra of a Classical theater. It was often faced with half-columns and was probably used as a raised stage. It was the frame or arch separating the stage from the auditorium, through which the action of a play was viewed. In the ancient Greek theater, the proscenium originally referred to a row of colonnades, supporting a raised acting platform (logeion), and afterward to the entire acting area.
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: structure DEFINITION: A monumentaltomb in the shape of a pentahedron, a square base and four straight sides converging to an apex, built by the ancient Egyptians in stone or brick to cover or contain the burial chamber of a pharaoh. Its origin lay in the mudbrickmastaba of the Archaic Period, which in the Old Kingdom became more elaborate with the use of stone, regularity of shape, and larger size. It evolved from the step pyramid as seen at Sakkara, Dahshur, and Meidum. The pyramid is the central monument in a pyramid complex and was the preferred tomb in the Old and Middle Kingdoms (3rd-12th Dynasties). The largest and most famous is the Giza group and Khufu's is the biggest with a 230 meter long base and original height of 146 meters. The elaborateness of the funerary ritual, witnessed by the mortuary temples attached to all pyramids, had the same purpose, of guaranteeing the eternal well-being of the deceased. This sepulchral chamber having been connected with the upper world by a passage sloping downwards from the north, the graduated structure was regularly built over it, the proportions of the base to the sides being constantly preserved. The building was continued during the lifetime of its destined tenant, and covered and closed immediately upon his death. The construction of the pyramids as early as the 26th century BC was an extraordinary achievement of engineering and architecture. The tradition of the pyramid as a royal tomb was revived by the kings of Napata and Meroe. In Mesopotamia, Mesoamerica, and South America, pyramids were used as temple-platforms. There are over 80 pyramids in Egypt and ancient Nubia (Sudan).
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Ch'i-shan CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A site in Shaanxi province, China, where the Zhou people established their dynasty and capital before they overthrew the Shangdynasty in 1027 BC. A large palacecomplex included inscribed oracle bones antedating the founding of the dynasty. The tiled roofs of the buildings are the earliest known (11th century BC) of this standard feature of later Chinese architecture. There are also hangtu foundation platforms for palace buildings. Many bronzeritual vessels have been found in the Qishanarea, mostly Western Zhou in date.
CATEGORY: lithics DEFINITION: A core that has been given a new platform once it has become difficult or impossible to remove flakes or blades from the previous one.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: terrace CATEGORY: geography; geology DEFINITION: A bench or step that extends along the side of a valley and represents a former level of the valley floor. They are the result of alternating period of erosion and aggradation (silting) within a river valley, brought about by oscillations of sea level relative to land. When sea level is low, the gradient of the river is increased, the water flows more quickly, and cuts away the river bed. During a period of high sea level the gradient is less, the river flows sluggishly, and gravel is deposited on the valley floor. A second period of erosion will carry away most of this gravel, except at the edge of the valley where a residualplatform, or terrace, may remain. It is often possible to correlate cycles of erosion and aggradation with the fluctuations of Pleistoceneclimate, and thus to work out the relative dating of artifacts incorporated in the gravels of the terraces. Another type of terrace is cut into bedrock and may have a thin veneer of alluvium, or sedimentary deposits.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: The site of a Late Vincacopper mine, in the limestone hills of northeastern Serbia. The mine, dated to the early 4th millennium BC, employed a mining technique involving the construction of platforms on the steep hillside and follow the vertical veins of malachite down, thereby creating empty 'shafts'. Sealed deposits of miners' lamps, antler picks, and gabbro mauls have been found at the bottom of abandoned mineshafts, of which there are over 25.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A major island group in the south-central Pacific Ocean about 1,600 miles (2,600 km) northeast of New Zealand. American Samoa, a dependency of the United States, consists of the six islands. Western Samoa, an independent nation, consists of the nine islands. The islands were settled by Lapita colonists in the late 2nd millennium BC. There is a potterysequence through the 1st millennium BC, after which potterymanufacture ceases. On the evidence of adzetypology, Samoa may have been the source of the first settlers to penetrate eastern Polynesia, perhaps to the Marquesas, in the early 1st millennium AD. The last 1500 years of Samoan prehistory are associated with above-ground monuments, including earthwork forts, earth or stone houses, god-house platforms, and agricultural terraces.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A locality in the south Colombian Andes highland, with a number of cemeteries, house platforms, ancient fields, stone-built chambers underneath mounds, and also a series of more than 300 stone statues representing mythological personages, some of them with jaguar fangs. The mounds commonly have internal stone-lined passageways and chambers, some of which contain sculpture, suggesting their use as places of worship as well as burial. Sculptures are rendered in a variety of techniques but are usually freestanding stelae and can be up to four meters high. Though stylistic comparisons are often made with Chavin, these themes have strong parallels in Olmeciconography. Occupation extends from about 700 BC almost to the Spanish conquest. The spectacular stonework falls somewhere between 500 BC and 1500 AD. There is also incised and modeled pottery and gold ornaments from the underground burial chambers.
San Lorenzo Tenochtitlan / San Lorenzo
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: The oldest-known Olmec center, located in Veracruz, Mexico, and revealing information on Olmec origins. It was a large nucleated village flourishing during the Early Formative. The first phase of occupation (Ojochi, c 1800-1650 BC) left no architectural traces, but during the next period (Bajío, 1650-1550 BC) a start was made on the artificial plateau with lateral ridges forming the base of most subsequent structures. The Chicharras phase (1550-1450 BC) foreshadows true Olmec in its pottery, figurines, and perhaps also in stone-carving. The San Lorenzo phase (1450-1100 BC) marks the Olmec climax at the site, whose layout then resembled that of La Venta. The principal features of the site are a large platform mound and a cluster of smaller mounds surrounding what may be the earliest ball court in Mesoamerica; more than 200 house mounds are clustered around these central features. A system of carved stone drains underlying the site is a unique structural feature. Around 900 BC, the stone monuments were mutilated and buried upon the center's collapse. La Venta then came to power. The monuments weighed as much as 44 tons and were carved from basalt from the Cerro Cintepec, a volcanic flow in the Tuxtla Mountains about 50 air miles to the northwest. It is believed that the stones were somehow dragged down to the nearest navigable stream and from there transported on rafts up the Coatzacoalcos River to the San Lorenzo area. The amount of labor involved must have been enormous, indicating a complex social system to ensure the task's completion. Most striking are the colossal heads human portraits on a stupendous scale, the largest of which is 9 feet high. After a short hiatus, the site was reoccupied by a group whose culture still shows late Olmec affinities (Palangana phase, 800-450 BC), but was again abandoned until 900 AD when it was settled by early post-Classic (Villa Alta) people who used plumbate and fine orange pottery. The collapse of San Lorenzo c 1150/1100 BC was abrupt and violent. The population was forced to do its agricultural work well outside the site, which may have contributed to the center's collapse.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Large Initial Period ceremonial site on the north-central coast of Peru, possibly the largest site of that time. There are a series of platform mounds and plazas.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Large, important Hohokamsite in the lower Gila River valley of Arizona with 1400 years of continuous occupation beginning c 300 BC. It is the best documented of all Hohokam villages, with 60 mounds (some rubbish heaps, others platforms) and a ball court, as well as fields, irrigation canals, and more than 200 excavated pithouses. The pottery and shell show craft specialization and contact with Mesoamerican cultures. At its peak, c 1100, the village had about 1,000 inhabitants, but was abandoned then or soon after. Snaketown followed the standard sequence of Hohokam development, with Mexican influence becoming marked during the final centuries.
CATEGORY: geography DEFINITION: The shallow submarine continental shelf, or platform, that is a southward extension of mainland Southeast Asia. Borneo and parts of Java, Sumatra, Bali, Palawan, and associated islands are eroded metamorphic sections of the shelf left above sea level. These were joined to the Asian continent at times of low Pleistocene sea-level. The eastern edge of the shelf (Huxley's Line) may have been the eastern limit of settlement by Homo erectus.
CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: The earliest known stage of lowland Mayaculture, dated 2500-1300 BC. Most Swasey sites cluster in north Belize. The site at Cuello, a village of hunters and farmers, provides reasonably complete information. Maize, squash, root crops, and cacao were grown and timber structures were built on low platform foundations plastered with stucco. The dead were buried with imported seashells and jadeite beads. Swaseypottery developed into the Mamonstyle of the Maya Middle Pre-Classic period.
CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: Late prehistoricculture of northeast Colombia in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. The Taironas were organized into small political states (chiefdoms) and had one of the most advanced cultures of the Caribbean mainland. Their crafts were ceramicware (black and red painted with zoomorphicdesign and appliqué); stone utensils (metates); bone and shell ornaments; and beads, buttons, and jewelry made of gold, copper, and gold-copperalloy (tumbaga). Most sites, like Pueblito and Buritaca-200, have hundreds of stone foundations for circular houses. There are also remains of tombs, stone-built retaining walls, bridges, stairways, roads, agricultural terraces, and irrigation canals. A central feature of most villages was a ceremonial building, usually on a platform-mound, and often of dressed masonry. The town site at Pueblito had all these features and, in addition, paved streets, the remains of large irrigation projects, and urn burials. Specialized funerary vessels are often modeled with life forms which are similar to Mesoamerican motifs. Populations in the thousands occupied Tairona towns and villages at the time of the Spanish conquest.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Traditionally, the most sacredmarae of eastern Polynesia, on Raiatea, Society Islands. It is associated with the worship of the god Oro. The surviving platform (ahu) is 40 meters by 7 meters and is faced with coral slabs. The platform's shell is dated to the 17th century AD.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Tarascans, Purépecha CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: An independent state of the Late Post-Classic Period centered in the mountains of the Michoacán province of Mexico, one of the very few to successfully resistAztec incursions. It is also the name of the people there, who were linguistically unrelated to any other Mesoamerican group. Their capital, Tzinzunzan, was built overlooking Lake Patzcuaro, and appears to be a ceremonial center consisting of a huge platform mound surmounted by five pyramids. Fine gold and tumbagajewelry and well-made copper and bronze tools have been found. The Tarascanstate, with its later capital of Pátzcuaro, survived into historic times. They reached a level of social and political organization comparable to that of the Aztec and the Maya.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: temple-mountain CATEGORY: structure DEFINITION: A form of monument which occurred only in Cambodia from the 9th-13th centuries AD. They are a series of artificial mountains on the Cambodian plain at Angkor, each crowned by shrines containing images of gods and of Khmer kings, their family, and their ancestors. The huge platforms of earth on which these buildings were founded are oriented east to west, the main gates facing east. Each king tried to outdo his predecessor in the height, size, and splendor of his temple mountain. The earlier ones are relatively small, though beautiful, while the later ones, such as Angkor Wat and the Bayon, are of stupendous size. It originated from the belief that the main temple of the king, which is the ritual center of the kingdom and eventually becomes his mausoleum, must be situated on a mountain or at least a hill. The architecture of the shrines themselves is relatively simple; it is based upon patterns invented in India, though the ornament of the shrines is often highly developed and characteristically Cambodian. On some of the temple mountains there are also relief panels illustrating various aspects of the royal mythology. The earliest surviving temple mountain at Angkor itself is the Bakong, probably finished in 881.
CATEGORY: geography DEFINITION: A bench or step that extends along the side of a valley and represents a former level of the valley floor. Terraces are flat surfaces preserved in valleys that represent floodplains developed when the river flowed at a higher elevation than at present. Another type of terrace is cut into bedrock and may have a thin veneer of alluvium, or sedimentary deposits. In paired terraces, the terrace features on each side of a valley correspond. A marine terrace is a rock terrace formed where a sea cliff, with a wave-cut platform, is raised above sea level. Any terrace consists of two parts: 1) a tread, which is the flat surface of the former floodplain, and 2) a scarp, which is the steep slope that connects the tread to any surface standing lower in the valley. A simple definition is the previous location of the shore of a body of water or a valley floor on which a stream once flowed. Archaeological deposits associated with terraces are equal in age or younger than the terrace.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Iron Age site in southern Bactria, Afghanistan, dating to the first half of the 1st millennium BC. There was a central fortified architectural platform and a group of Kushan royal tombs" dug after abandonment. The graves were very rich with gold vessels and jewelry and were dated to the late 1st millennium BC. Afghanistan's archaeological discoveries are recounted by Viktor Sarianidi in "The Golden Hoard of Bactria: From the Tillya-tepe Excavations in Northern Afghanistan" (1985) an illustrated account of grave goods excavated from an early Kushan princedom cemetery."
CATEGORY: feature DEFINITION: In the Marquesas Islands, Polynesia, the large rectangular ceremonial plaza -- flat areas surrounded by raised platforms. The grounds were used for ceremonies and daily social gatherings. This complex of structures, often 600 feet (200 meters) or more in length, was generally built upon a huge artificial terrace carved out of a slope. Surrounding the plaza atop the terrace were the houses of the tribal chiefs and priests, temples and other sacred structures, and long sheds for spectators. At one end, there was usually a temple with a sacred banyan tree in which were suspended the packaged bones of the illustrious dead of the tribe. A large example is Vahangeku'a in Taipivai Valley.
CATEGORY: structure; artifact DEFINITION: In Roman architecture, a raised platform in a basilica on which the magistrates' seats were placed. It was also the rostrum, or raised platform, from which the commander of a fort spoke to his assembled men, or dealt out justice.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: tula CATEGORY: lithics DEFINITION: In Australia, a hafted chisel made to work hardwoods. It is a thick, round stoneflake, usually about 5 cm long, with a steeply trimmed working edge opposite an obtuse-angled striking platform. They usually have a prominent bulb and convex bulbar surface. Ethnographic examples are set in gum on the end of a wooden handle or spearthrower. The edge would be resharpened until the flake became elliptical, when it is discarded. In this form, with a heavily step-flaked edge opposite the striking platform, it is termed a 'tulaadze slug'. Tula adzes are restricted to more arid regions and the oldest examples come from Puntutjarpa (c 8000-5000 BC) and are exactly like those still used by desert Aborigines.
CATEGORY: structure DEFINITION: On Inca sites, a platform or small mound where the emperor held court.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Site in Upolu, Samoa, with assemblages from the terminal ceramicphase of Samoan pre-history c 300 BC-200 AD stratified beneath later aceramic mounds. The large earthen mounds were built as house platforms and contained plain pottery and stone adzes.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Late Mesolithicfishing-hunting site located in the Iron Gates gorge of the River Danube in Serbia with occupation dates of 6000-5500 BC. Small circular tents are arranged near stone hearths around a central space or platform. Large numbers of Mesolithic burials are known from the site, mostly Cro-Magnon physical type with few grave goods.
Zawi Chemi Shanidar
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Village site in northern Iraq near Shanidar Cave with a terminal epi-Palaeolithic under Iron Age levels. Storage pits and a circular stonestructure are dated to the 9th millennium BC. Large numbers of sheep bones are claimed to show signs of domestication at that time. Sickles, grinding stones, and querns testify to the gathering of vegetable products. Occupation was probably seasonal. Other artifacts include stone axes and non-utilitarian objects such as workedbone with incised or notched decoration. Obsidian from the Lake Van area of Anatolia indicates far-ranging contacts. Burials were associated with a stoneplatform.