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Apulian pottery
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: An important type of South Italian Pottery, mostly decorated in the red-figured technique. Production seems to have started in the late 5th century BC and may have been influenced by Athenian pottery. One of the early centers may have been Tarentum. In the middle of the 4th century the scenes became more ornate with additional figures inserted in the field and an increased use of added colors. Plain wares were also produced alongside.
Athenian pottery
CATEGORY: ceramics
DEFINITION: Pottery produced in Athens from the Late Geometric period of monumental craters and amphorae through the Hellenistic period. The best known is the figure-decorated pottery of the Archaic and Classical periods that was widely exported along with plain wares.
Banshan pottery
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: site of a Neolithic cemetery in the Tao River valley of china, the type site of the Banshan (or Pan-shan) culture which belongs to the western or Gansu branch of the Yangshao Neolithic. Banshan is best known for its painted pottery first found in a grave in 1923. Pan-shan ware is generally considered to date from between 2500-2000 BC, but it may extend as far back as 3000 BC or be as late as c 1500 BC (the Shang dynasty). Most are unglazed pottery urns or reddish brown with painted designs in black and brown, probably applied with a brush, consisting of geometric patterns or stylized figures of people, fish, or birds. The wares probably shaped on a slow or hand-turned wheel. The handles are set low on the body of the urns, and the lower part of the body is left undecorated - much like Greek Proto-geometric funerary ware. It was an important find because of the lack of Neolithic Chinese pottery up to 1923. A late stage of Banshan is named after the site of Machang.
Belgic pottery
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: General term, now almost obsolete, sometimes applied to the range of late Iron Age wheel-turned pottery vessels found in southeastern England, especially Aylesford-Swarling pottery, even though this is too late to be directly related to Belgic settlement from the continent.
Blue willow pottery
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Blue Willow, first made in England over 200 years ago, is said to be America's favorite patterned ware. Willow Ware is available in a wide range of patterns makers-most identifiable by mark styles and periods-running from 1780 to wares produced today.
Campanian pottery
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A type of South Italian pottery. Productions seems to have started before the middle of the 4th century BC, perhaps under the influence of Sicilian pottery. There seem to have been three main centers of production: two at Capua and one at Cumae. Late in its production it seems to draw inspiration from Apulian pottery.
Chiot pottery
CATEGORY: ceramics
DEFINITION: Archaic pottery of the Greek island of Chios, though it may also have been made at Naucratis. The pots and chalices had a cream slip and glazed interior. Decoration on the exterior was scenes with figures; inside were floral patterns.
Corinthian pottery
CATEGORY: ceramics
DEFINITION: A widely distributed pottery made at Corinth and found throughout the Mediterranean, from the late 7th century BC until the mid-6th century BC. This important stage of vase painting included naturalistic designs of animals maenads and satyrs and the invention of black-figure technique and some new shapes such as the aryballos and alabastron. Proto-Corinthian pottery most of which is miniature in size was the first to be decorated in the black-figure painting technique: figure silhouettes drawn in black and filled in with incised details.
East Greek pottery
CATEGORY: ceramics
DEFINITION: A type of pottery produced during the Archaic Period within the Greek islands an on the western coast of Turkey at Chios, Samos, Ephesus, Miletus, Clazomenae, and Rhodes.
Etruscan pottery
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Pottery produced at various centers in Etruria, especially during the Archaic and Classical periods. Although plain wares were particular common (Bucchero, Impasto), figure-decorated pottery was also produced (Caeretan ware, Pontic ware).
Farnham pottery
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Alice Holt ware
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Major Romano-British pottery industry based around Farnham in Surrey, England, producing a wide range of wares between the mid 1st century AD and the 4th century AD. Grey and cream-colored fabrics predominate.
Fine Orange Pottery
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: fine orange pottery
CATEGORY: ceramics
DEFINITION: A high-quality orange ware, often decorated with incised, molded, or black-painted patterns; a late Classic (and post-Classic) pottery type of the lowland Maya area of Mesoamerica. Found at sites under the influence of Teotihuacán, it comes from the Tabasco-Campeche region (Usumacinta drainage).
Geometric pottery
CATEGORY: ceramics
DEFINITION: The well-fired, stamp-impressed pottery characteristic of c 2000 BC-300 AD sites in south and southeastern China. The 'Geometric pottery cultures' seem to have grown out of local Neolithic predecessors and characterize the protohistoric Wucheng, Hushu, and Maqiao cultures of the region.
Hispano-Moresque pottery
CATEGORY: ceramics
DEFINITION: A tin-glazed, lustrous, highly decorated earthenware made by Moorish potters in Span in the late medieval period, chiefly at Málaga in the 15th century, and in the region of Manises, near Valencia, in the 16th century. They tend to be plates and jugs with bold semi-abstract designs painted on a creamy background and with a gold luster finish. These wares were much in demand throughout Europe and, judging from finds in northern Europe, they were widely traded. The tin glaze was applied over a design usually traced in cobalt blue; after the first firing, the luster, a metallic pigment, was applied by brush over the tin glaze, and the piece was fired again. Imitation of this pottery in Italy led to the development of Italian maiolica ware.
Laconian pottery
CATEGORY: ceramics
DEFINITION: Spartan pottery made in the 6th century BC, characterized as black-figured and black-glossed. The fabric was widely exported - to Cyrenaica, Etruria, and Greek colonies in Italy.
Lapita pottery
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Very extensive horizon or a long enduring tradition and as a major intrusive culture within western island Melanesia from Southeast Asia.) elaborate decorated pottery, especially characteristic of the early assemblages in each region. Historically, the pottery is best described as comprising a ceramic series, which begins with complex vessel shapes decorated by dentate stamping, incising, and appliqué techniques that everywhere form an easily recognizable design style, whose common geometric motifs can be analyzed and coded according to a limited set of rules. Over time the ceramic assemblages within the various island sequences change, usually independently of one another. Frequently this is by the loss of the more complex vessel shapes bearing the most elaborate decorations, until simpler vessels of largely plain ware predominate. These ceramic changes, traceable over spans of up to a thousand and more years, have caused some to speak of a Lapita tradition, as they provide a deep but variable set of time depths to the horizon concept. Thus terminal Lapita assemblages in the ceramic series end in different regions at various intervals from 500 B.C. to A.D. 200 or 300.
Linear Pottery culture
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Linearbandkeramik; LBK; Danubian I
CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: The earliest Neolithic culture of central Europe, western Ukraine to eastern France, between c 4500-3900 BC. It is so named after curvilinear incised patterns which make its pottery so recognizable. This was the first farming culture in central Europe, based on grain cultivation and domesticated livestock, lasting to 3200 BC on its periphery. The Linear Pottery core area stretches from eastern Hungary to the Netherlands, including settlement concentrations in the Pannonian Basin, Bohemia, Moravia, central Germany and the Rhineland. A second rapid expansion occurred eastwards round the northern rim of the Carpathians, from Poland to the Dnieper. Linear Pottery is characterized by incised and sometimes painted pottery (3/4 spherical bowl) with linear designs (curvilinear, zigzag, spiral, and meander patterns), polished stone shoe-last adzes, and a microlithic stone industry. Small cemeteries of individual inhumations are common as are longhouses with rectangular ground plans. The remarkable uniformity that characterized the Linear Pottery culture in its core area broke down after c 4000 BC and the cultures that emerged - Tisza, Lengyel, Stroke-Ornamented Ware, Rossen etc. - were more divergent in characteristics. It is most possible that it derived from the Körös culture of the northern Balkans.
Lucanian pottery
CATEGORY: ceramics
DEFINITION: Red-figured pottery made in Lucania from the late 5th and through the 4th century BC. There are links with Apulian pottery.
Matt-painted pottery
CATEGORY: ceramics
DEFINITION: Middle Helladic pottery with simple decoration in manganese-based purple-black paint on a pale ground. Matt-painted pottery has been found in the nearer islands and even as far as Crete and the Anatolian coast.
McKellar hypothesis
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: A principle stating that very small items, when no longer useful, will be discarded at their original location rather than disposed of elsewhere; thus such an item found at a specific site can be presumed to have been actually used at that site. The hypothesis was formulated by Judith McKellar, American archaeologist.
Mesopotamia
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Term meaning land "between the (two) rivers" the area between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in western Asia (modern Iraq) which encompasses various ancient kingdoms. This land was the home of the world's earliest civilization that of the Sumerians and of the later Babylonian Akkadian and Assyrian civilizations. The chronology of the prehistoric periods is based on radiocarbon dates; the historical periods' chronology is based on a combination of documentary sources and calendrical information. The area was the focus of the development of complex societies until the collapse of Mesopotamia at the end of the 1st millennium BC. The geography of the area allowed the development of husbandry agriculture and permanent settlements. Trade with other regions also flourished irrigation techniques were created as well as pottery and other crafts building methods based on clay bricks were developed and elaborate religious cults evolved. The birth of the city took place in the 4th millennium BC and the invention of writing occurred about 3000 BC - both in Sumer. Excavations of Sumerian cities (Eridu Kish Uruk Isin Lagash Ur) have yielded thousands of clay tablets inscribed with cuneiform writing. Sargon the king of Akkad fought wars of conquest from the Mediterranean to the Zagros and ruled over history's first empire. The Akkadians were a Semitic people and their Akkadian language became the common vocabulary. The Akkadian rule only about two centuries. After that Ur (c 2112-2004 BC) the parallel dynasties of Isin and Larsa (to c 1763 BC) and then Babylon were the powers. The outstanding ruler of Babylon was Hammurabi (c 1792-1750 BC) who is best known for the code of laws he had inscribed on a great stela. From about 1600-1450 BC Babylonian culture declined as the Hurrians and the Kassites migrated into Mesopotamia and established themselves as rulers. Some time after 1500 BC the Mitanni kingdom extended its rule over much of northern Mesopotamia. The language of the kingdom was Hurrian but its rulers may have been of Aryan origin. Toward the end of the 15th century BC the city of Ashur in northern Mesopotamia a region that came to be known as Assyria began its rise. By 1350 BC the Assyrian empire was well-established and its kings conquered large areas from the Mitanni kingdom the Kassites and the Hittites. Another Babylonian dynasty known as the 2nd dynasty of Isin revived the greatness of the Old Empire under Nebuchadrezzar I (c 1119-1098). Assyria reached new heights of power under Tiglath-pileser I (c 1115-1077) and Ashurnasirpal II (883-859). Between 746-727 BC the Neo-Assyrian empire formed and subdued the Aramaeans who had settled much of Babylonia and then conquered Urartu Syria Israel and other areas. The empire reached its after conquering Egypt in 671 and then the reign of Ashurbanipal (668-627) but its rapid decline came soon after attacks by the Medes Scythians and Babylonians. The Assyrian empire was crushed in 609. Babylon's Nebuchadrezzar II (605-561) is best known for his destruction of Jerusalem in 588/587 and his forcing of thousands of Jews into the "Babylonian exile." The Neo-Babylonian empire ended in 539 when Nabonidus surrendered to Cyrus II of Persia. Under the Persians and Alexander the Great Babylon was a rich capital. The Seleucid kings ruled Mesopotamia from about 312 BC until the middle of the 2nd century BC. In the 2nd century BC Mesopotamia became part of the Parthian empire. Human occupation of Mesopotamia began some time around 6000 BC. The prehistoric cultural stages of Hassuna-Samarra' and Halaf succeeded each other here before there is evidence of settlement in the south (Sumer). There the earliest settlements such as Eridu appear to have been founded around 5000 BC in the late Halaf period. From then on the cultures of the north and south move through a succession of major archaeological periods that in their southern forms are known as Ubaid Warka Protoliterate and Early Dynastic at the end of which - shortly after 3000 BC - recorded history begins. The historical periods of the 3rd millennium are in order: Akkad Gutium 3rd dynasty of Ur; those of the 2nd millennium: Isin-Larsa Old Babylonian Kassite and Middle Babylonian; and those of the 1st millennium: Assyrian Neo-Babylonian Achaemenian Seleucid and Parthian.
Ochre-Colored Pottery
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Ochre Colored Pottery; OCP
CATEGORY: ceramics
DEFINITION: An Indian pottery type, a distinctive ceramic of post-Harappan upper Ganges Valley. It is a thick and usually badly fired and badly preserved red ware with an ochre wash and its importance lies in the fact that it serves to bridge the gap in the later 2nd millennium between the Harappan material of the Indus Civilization and the black-and-red and painted-gray wares of the Iron Age. The earliest date for the ware comes from Jodhpura in Rajasthan c early 3rd millennium BC, but in the upper Ganges Valley it has early 2nd millennium BC dates. It has been found in association with a harpoon of Gangetichoard type at Saipai and with Gangetic hoards.
Paestan pottery
CATEGORY: ceramics
DEFINITION: South Italian pottery made at Paestum, some signed by the craftsmen, starting in the mid-4th century BC.
Potocka Cave
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Upper Palaeolithic site in Slovenia's mountains with artifacts and faunal remains of the Last Glacial. The assemblage includes sidescrapers, endscrapers, and retouched blades of the Aurignacian.
Pre-Pottery Neolithic
CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: Early phases of the Neolithic of the Near East/Levant, characterized by the practice of agriculture and permanent settlement prior to the use of pottery. Two phases of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic have been identified: the PPNA phase, with radiocarbon dates in the range 8500-7600 BC; and PPNB, dated c 7600-6000 BC. Recent work suggests a third phase, the PPNC, dated to 6200-5900 BC.
Pre-Pottery Neolithic A
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: PPNA
CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: Palestinian village-based culture dated 8500-7600 BC, first defined at Jericho. It is derived from the Natufian culture, making use of and developing Natufian architecture (round houses). It offers evidence of first attempts at agriculture in the near East, though still in a hunting context.
Pre-Pottery Neolithic B
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: PPNB
CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: Levantine culture pre-dating the use of pottery, dated 7600-6000 BC, and first defined at Jericho. It originated in Syria and is characterized by rectangular buildings with lime-coated or plastered floors, by the cultivation of cereal crops, and by the beginnings of small-animal husbandry. Toward the end, it saw the first expansion of agriculture and the spread of Neolithic culture beyond its semi-arid zone towards the temperature coastal regions of Syria (Ras Shamra) and the desert oases. Pottery began to appear sporadically.
Saxo-Norman pottery
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: General term for pottery produced in the period c. AD 850 through to AD 1150. During this time the use of the fast wheel became widespread and numerous local and regional industries emerged. The most distinctive pottery of the period is Thetford ware, Stamford ware, and Winchester ware.
Sicilian pottery
CATEGORY: ceramics
DEFINITION: South Italian pottery using the red-figured technique of the late 5th century BC. Production centers included Syracuse, Himera, and Centuripe.
Sopot-Lengyel
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Sopot Lengyel
CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: Eneolithic culture of the northwest Balkans (north Bosnia and east Slavonia, Yugoslavia) of c 4300-3700 BC. The pottery of this group shares affinities with the dark burnished ware tradition of the south Balkans and the incised and monochrome tradition of the north Balkans. Few cemeteries are known, but there is plenty of settlement evidence (tells, open sites). It is viewed as a regional variant of either the Lengyel or the Vinca culture.
South Italian pottery
CATEGORY: ceramics
DEFINITION: Pottery type made by the Greek colonies of southern Italy and Sicily, mainly from the late 5th century BC, with many centers of production.
Thin Orange Pottery
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Thin Orange ware
CATEGORY: ceramics
DEFINITION: A thin-walled, orange-fired ware with a distinctive mica schist temper and a decoration of incised and dotted patterns of Mesoamerica. It was introduced in the late Pre-Classic Period and widely traded in Mesoamerica during the Classic period. It has been found in Colima, Jalisco, Nayarit, Kaminaljuyú, Copán, Monte Albán, and Teotihuacán. It is regarded as evidence of central Mexican influence, although its probable point of origin is the Valley of Puebla. It should not be confused with the early Post-Classic Fine Orange ware.
Tres Zapotes
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Important Late Preclassic Olmec ceremonial site, located near Tuxtla Mountains in southern Veracruz, Mexico. The site has cut-stone facings on its rectangular pyramid and numerous unevenly scattered earthen mounds. It flourished long after the abandonment of La Venta or San Lorenzo and was partly contemporaneous with Middle Preclassic Olmec florescence. Occupied from 1000-600 BC, the pottery was flat-bottomed and white-rimmed and there were colossal stone heads. Later periods had the increasing presence of Izapan pottery forms and Maya-influenced stelae. The site's most important find is the epi-Olmec Stele C which has the earliest Maya Long Count date yet discovered, 31 BC.
Valdivia pottery
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Formative period culture dating to the later 4th millennium BC on the coast of Ecuador, South America, named after a site of the same name excavated by B. Meggars and C. Evans in the early 1960s. The culture is important in being amongst the earliest in the region to have a developed ceramics industry which used a variety of plastic techniques for decorative motifs. Artifacts suggest a marine-orientated subsistence pattern.
Western Style Neolithic pottery
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Western Neolithic ware
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Style of plain or little decorated early and middle Neolithic pottery found in the western parts of the British Isles, especially Ireland. In 1961 Humphrey Case defined Western Neolithic ware pottery as being round-based bowls, normally thin-walled, hard, generally dark-brown, and with a shouldered profile. Four substyles were recognized in Ireland: Dunmurry style; Ballymarlagh style, Limerick style, and the Lyles Hill style. The last mentioned was used by Isobel Smith in 1974 to help define a widespread class of early Neolithic pottery that she called the Grimston-Lyles Hill series; these vessels are now more commonly known as carinated bowls.
White pottery
CATEGORY: ceramics
DEFINITION: Soft white, fairly rare earthenware made only in the Shang period (dates given for the founding of the Shang dynasty vary from about 1760-1520 BC; dates for the dynasty's fall also vary from 1122-1030 BC). Found chiefly at Anyang, China, it was probably made for ritual or mortuary purposes and was decorated with incised geometric patterns. It is made of almost pure kaolin and is very brittle; few pots have survived unbroken.
Woodland pottery
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A general term for cultural groups living in the wooded eastern parts of North America during the Formative. Woodland subsumes many local adaptations, but in general these were hunter-gatherer communities whose subsistence base was augmented with some cultivation. Woodland communities used pottery and had elaborate toolmaking and artistic traditions. Burials were usually made in established cemeteries, often within large earthen mounds. Trade networks were extensive. Starting about 1000 BC, Woodland comprises a series of distinctive cultures including Adena, Hopewell, Mississippian, and Iroquoian. In some areas Woodland societies continued down to modern times.
Zapotec
CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: Mesoamerican cultural and linguistic group centered on the highlands of southern Oaxaca, Mexico, and the culture most clearly associated with Monte Albán and Mitla. Their origins are uncertain, but by c 300 AD a distinctively Zapotec culture can be recognized. The Early Formative ancestral Zapotec had lived in scattered villages and at least one center of some importance, San José Mogote. Elaborate funerary urns in gray ware are especially characteristic. The Zapotec abandoned their capital in c 950 and appear to have relocated at other centers, such as Mitla and Lambityeco. In the 14th century AD, the area was infiltrated by Mixtecs who came from the mountains to the north and west and occupied most of the Zapotec sites. Part of the region was never conquered by the Aztecs, and the Zapotecan language has persisted to the present.
apothecary jar
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A jar used to store medicines, drugs or the constituent parts of medicines and drugs.
apotropaic
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Of statues, etc., supposedly having the power to avert evil influences or bad luck
burned spot
CATEGORY: feature
DEFINITION: An area of localized fire-reddening and/or charring on a surface with no evidence of deliberate construciton. The burned spot may be accompanied by an accumulation of ash and/or charcoal on the surface or by soot-blackening on a wall face above the surface.
chamber pot
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A bowl kept in a bedroom and used as a toilet
climatic change hypothesis
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: The idea that environmental variables, as climate, influence the course of events. This hypothesis has been used to explain the extinction of megafauna and the origins of agriculture.
coil pot
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A type of ceramic vessel made using a technique whereby the pot is formed gradually by adding to a spiral of thin, sausage-like coils of clay, which are smoothed out afterwards to form the walls of the pot.
cooking pot
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A term usually used for jars or bowls which are known from soot encrustation to have been used for cooking.
cord-ornamented pottery
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: cord-marked pottery
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Ceramic vessels whose outer faces are decorated with motifs created by pressing twisted cord into the soft clay surface before the pot was fired. Sometimes short individual motifs are represented (also called ?maggot impressions') where a length of cord has been wrapped around a small stick and then used as a stamp. In other cases long pieces of cord have been closely coiled around the pot and then pressed into the surface.
edge hypothesis
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: The theory that the need for more food was initially felt at the margins of the natural habitat of the ancestors of domesticated animals and plants
entrepôt
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: An intermediary trading town or city, often a port, strategically situated for the redistribution of goods from a variety of sources.
experimental hypothesis
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: A specific hypothesis, deduced from a generalization or general law, which can then be directly tested against data.
fiber-tempered pottery
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: fiber tempering
CATEGORY: ceramics
DEFINITION: Any clay pottery to which grass or root fibers have been added as a tempering material. This ware is the earliest pottery in Caribbean South America and is the oldest pottery in the United States, making its appearance in Archaic shell mounds in Georgia and Florida before 2500 BC.
find-spot
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: find spot, find-place, find-site
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: The location where an archaeological find is discovered.
flowerpot
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A small container, typically with sloping sides and made from plastic or earthenware, used for growing a plant
grass-marked pottery
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: grass-tempered pottery
CATEGORY: ceramics
DEFINITION: Pottery either marked or tempered with grass. In western Britain, there are examples of pottery covered with 'grass' impressions from Ulster, the Hebrides, and Cornwall, especially around the 5th-6th centuries AD. The term also refers to crude handmade ware made in various parts of Frisia in the Migration Period and in certain parts of southern England in the Early Saxon period in which ferns and other organic material was used as tempering.
hypothesis
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: pl. hypotheses
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: A proposition or theory, often derived from a broader generalization or law, that postulates relationships between two or more variables, based on assumptions but not yet proven. It must be tested on independent evidence; discarded hypotheses are signs of growth and advance.
hypothesis testing
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: The process of examining how well various hypotheses explain the actual data, eliminating those that are invalid, and identifying those that best fit the observed phenomena. A successful hypothesis is found to be the best approximation of truth given the current state of knowledge. In archaeology, the primary standard for accepting a hypothesis is compatibility with available data and other criteria include predictability, parsimony, completeness, and symmetry.
hypotheticodeduction
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: hypothetico-deductive explanation, hypothetico-deductive reasoning
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: A type of scientific reasoning in which a hypothesis is made, predictions are deduced, and then the hypothesis tested for accuracy against archaeological data. Deductive reasoning is used to find and verify the logical consequences. Developed by Sir Isaac Newton in the late 17th century, it is a procedure for the construction of a scientific theory that will account for results obtained through direct observation and experimentation and that will, through inference, predict further effects that can then be verified or disproved by empirical (observed or experienced) evidence derived from other experiments.
law of evolutionary potential
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: The group with the more generalized adaptation which has more potential for change than does the group with the more highly specialized adaptation.
mica-dusted pottery
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Pottery coated with a slip containing mica particles to give a golden or bronze-like sheen. Also called mica-gilt pottery.
multiple working hypotheses
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: The simultaneous testing of alternative hypotheses to minimize bias and maximize the chances of finding the best available choice.
oasis hypothesis
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: A theory about the origins of agriculture that domestication began as a symbiotic relationship between humans, animals, and plants at oases during the drying of the Near East at the end of the Pleistocene; associated with V. Gordon Childe and others. Both humans and animals and plants would have gathered around the few oases or water sources, and humans would gradually come to control many other species.
polychrome pottery
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: sensu stricto
CATEGORY: ceramics
DEFINITION: Pottery that is decorated in more than two colors, but the term is also applied to pottery with more than one color.
population pressure hypothesis
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: A theory that population increase in the Near East/Southwest Aisa upset the balance between people and food, forcing people to turn to an agricultural way of life, credited to Lewis Binford.
pot
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A container, usually round and deep.
pot boiler
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: The name given to stones, often flint, which have been heated in a fire and have a white or grayish cracked appearance. They are thought to have been used to heat water for cooking purposes.
pot lid
CATEGORY: lithics
DEFINITION: A small portion (flake) of stone that may pop off a core during heat treatment due to rapid heating or excessive temperature creating many small flake scars on the surface.
pot-lid fracture
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A circular flake removed from cryptocrystalline materials by sudden heating. Leaves a small saucer-shaped depression in the surface of the stone.
potash-lead glass
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Glass based on potash as a flux with high concentrations of lead. It is heavy, lustrous, and more refractive than other forms of glass.
potash-lime glass
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Glass made using potash derived from burning wood.
potassium-argon dating
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: K-A dating; potassium argon dating; radiopotassium dating
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: An isotopic method of dating the age of a rock or mineral by measuring the rate at which potassium-40, a radioactive form of this element, decays into argon. It is used primarily on lava flows and tuffs and for ocean floor basalts. Potassium, which is present in most rocks and minerals, has a single radioactive isotope, K 40. This decays by two different processes into Calcium 40 and Argon 40. Though 89% decays to Calcium 40, it is not suitable for measurement since most rocks contain Calcium 40 as a primary element, and the amount caused by the decay of K 40 cannot be determined. The remaining 11% decays into the gas Argon 40, and this can be measured, along with the amount of potassium in the sample, to get a date. Dates produced by using this technique have been checked by fission track dating. The technique is best used on material more than 100,000 years old - such as the dating of layers associated with the earliest remains of hominids, notably in the Olduvai Gorge. Lava flows embedded with the deposits containing archaeological material have been dated.
potato
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: common potato, white potato, Irish potato
CATEGORY: flora
DEFINITION: One of some 150 tuber-bearing species of the genus Solanum (family Solanaceae). The potato is considered by most botanists a native of the Peruvian-Bolivian Andes and is one of the world's main food crops. At the time of the Spanish conquest, potatoes were grown all over the highlands from Colombia to Chile. Unlike maize, the potato flourishes at high altitudes and was the basic staple of many of the societies of the Altiplano, such as Tiahunaco.
pothole
CATEGORY: feature
DEFINITION: A depression or pit left by a pothunter.
pothunter
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: Any person who collects archaeological objects or excavates sites in an unscientific manner for personal gain, and whose actions result in the destruction of surrounding data. Pothunting is illegal artifact collecting.
pothunting
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Illegal artifact collecting
potin
CATEGORY: geology
DEFINITION: A bronze alloy with a high tin content, between standard bronze and speculum. It was used particularly for a type of coinage current in western Europe and in India in the first centuries BC and AD with a tin content between 7-27%.
potin coin
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 potin coin series back to the bronze coinage of Massalia some time in the 2nd century BC, the prototypes for the British series probably coming via Gaul. Also called Kentish cast bronze coins.
potlatch
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: The ceremonial distribution of property and gifts to affirm or reaffirm social status, unique to Native Americans of the Northwest Pacific coast in the 19th century.
potlid fracture
CATEGORY: lithics
DEFINITION: A crater-like pit that sometimes occurs on the surface of lithic raw material that has been heated or frozen and thawed.
potsherd
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: sherd, shard
CATEGORY: ceramics
DEFINITION: Any pottery fragment - piece of broken pot or other earthenware item - that has archaeological significance. Often abbreviated to sherd, potsherds are an invaluable part of the archaeological record because they are well-preserved. The analysis of ceramic changes recorded in potsherds has become one of the primary techniques used by archaeologists in assigning components and phases to times and cultures.
potter's comb
CATEGORY: ceramics
DEFINITION: An implement with serrated edge capable of producing an impressed decoration on pottery. A marbled effect was sometimes achieved (as in Chinese pottery of the T'ang dynasty by mingling, with a comb, slips of contrasting colors after they had been applied to the vessel. Potter's combs were made of stone, bone, shell, or wood.
potter's stamp
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A small block that the potter impresses into the base of a vessel he/she has made while still soft in order to give it a personalized mark. Some potter's stamps give the potter's name in the Latin or Greek alphabet; other stamps are so-called ?illiterate' and comprise only lines and signs. Especially common on Samian, Arretine, and Gallo-Belgic wares.
potter's wheel
CATEGORY: ceramics
DEFINITION: A wheel rotating horizontally which assists a potter in shaping clay into vessels. The development of the slow, or hand-turned, wheel as an adjunct to pottery manufacture led to the kick wheel, rotated by foot, which became the potter's principal tool. The potter throws the clay onto a rapidly rotating disk and shapes his pot by manipulating it with both hands. By the Uruk phase in Mesopotamia, c 3400 BC, the fast wheel was already in use. It spread slowly, reaching Europe with the Minoans c 2400 BC, and Britain with the Belgae in the 1st century BC. Its presence can be taken to imply an organized pottery industry, often also using an advanced type of kiln.
pottery
CATEGORY: ceramics
DEFINITION: One of the oldest of the decorative arts, consisting of objects made of clay and hardened with heat. The objects are commonly useful. Earthenware is the oldest and simplest form of pottery; stoneware is a pottery compound that is fired at a sufficiently high temperature to cause it to vitrify and become extremely hard; and porcelain, finer than stoneware and generally translucent, is made by adding feldspar to kaolin and then firing at a high temperature. Its raw material is common, shaping and baking it are simple, and it can be given an infinite variety of forms and decorations. Pottery sherds, almost indestructible, are one of the commonest finds and are very important to archaeologists. It is often one of the clearest indicators of cultural differences, relationships, and developments, and its techniques of manufacture can be comparatively easily recovered by ceramic analysis. It can be shown whether it was modeled, coil-built, or wheel-made. The nature of its fabric, ware, or body can be identified, as can any surface treatment such as slip, paint, or burnish. The wide range of methods of decoration can also be studied. As the date of manufacture can usually be fixed, pieces of pottery give clues to archaeologists as to the date of other finds at the site. Petrological analysis of inclusions has been used to trace the source of pot clays and thus reconstruct ancient trade in pottery. Archaeologists usually call fired pot clay the 'fabric' of a piece of pottery. Texture, mineralogy, and color of fabric may be used to describe and classify pottery.
social hypothesis
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: Theory that domestication allowed certain individuals to accumulate food surplus and to make that food into more valued items.
spot
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: An arbitrary sample unit defined by geographical coordinates.
spout and bridge pot
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: spout-and-bridge vessel
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A distinctive closed vessel with two spouts connected by a strap handle, popular in southern coastal Peruvian cultures with antecedents in the Initial Period ceramics of the Hacha complex. Typically it is a closed kettle-shaped vessel, but its defining characteristic is a pair of vertical tubular spouts joined to each other by a strip or bridge. Sometimes, however, one spout terminates as a whistle or as a modeled life figure. It was particularly popular with the Nasca and Chimu but has been found in many other New World contexts (e.g. Paracas).
square-mouthed pot
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: square-mouthed pottery, bocca quadrata
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A vessel type in which the circular mouth has been pinched into a squarish form while the clay was still soft, characteristic of the Middle Neolithic of northern Italy, especially at Arene Candide. It is thought to shown influence from the Danubian culture of central Europe. There are scattered examples from as far as Crete, Sicily, and Spain.
sweet potato
CATEGORY: flora
DEFINITION: Food plant native to tropical America and widely cultivated in tropical and the warmer temperate climates, not to be confused with the yam. It is reported from sites in Peru as early as 8000 BC. During the mid-1st millennium AD, the sweet potato was carried by prehistoric voyagers into eastern Polynesia and became important in the prehistoric economies of Easter Island, the Hawaiian Islands, and New Zealand. It spread further after Spanish settlement of the New World; since the 16th century it has been very important to the New Guinea Highlands.
teapot
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A pot with a handle, spout, and lid, in which tea is prepared.

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