CATEGORY: related field DEFINITION: Sciences concerned with the study of formation processes that affect the earth's surface.
CATEGORY: related field DEFINITION: The search for universals in nature by means of established scientific methods of inquiry. Scientific method is an operational series of systematic procedures by which investigators examine natural phenomena and reach reasoned conclusions. Science is a way of acquiring knowledge and understanding about the parts of the natural world that can be observed; any disciplined and highly ordered search for knowledge carried out systematically. A continually self-correcting method of testing and refining the conclusions resulting from observation constitutes the scientific method.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Greek Academeia, Latin Academia CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: In ancient Greece, the academy or college of philosophy developed by Socrates and Plato, located just northwest of Athens. Plato acquired property there about 387 BC and used it as a training ground and to teach. At the site had been a park and gymnasiumsacred to the legendary Attic hero Academus. The term Academy was not applied during Plato's time but rather to his successors till the time of Cicero (106-43 BC). It was organized for worshipping the muses and instruction included mathematics, dialectics, natural science, and political science. It was closed by the emperor Justinian in 529 AD.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: analytical archaeology CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A stage in archaeological research design that involves isolating, describing, and structuring data, usually by typological classification, along with chronological, functional, technological, and constituent determinations. The research involves artifactual and nonartifactual data. The method evolved from the tendency to formalize the archaeologicalprocess, especially through the work of LR Binford, DL Clarke, and JC Gardin. Computer science and mathematics are used to elaborate the means for transforming simple descriptions of archaeologicaldata into cultural, economic, and social reconstructions of earlier societies. This type of research is attempts to provide archaeology with a theoretical framework based on scientific method.
CATEGORY: related field DEFINITION: The study of humankind, its culture and evolution, both extant and extinct. It consists of the subdisciplines physical anthropology, archaeology, anthropological linguistics, cultural anthropology, and social anthropology. Archaeology is sometimes regarded as a separate science rather than as a branch of anthropology. Social anthropology concentrates on patterns of behavior and institutions. Physical anthropology studies the physical (biological) characteristics as animals.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: archeology (from archaia" CATEGORY: and "logos" DEFINITION: science knowledge or theory)" branch The scientific study and reconstruction of the human past through the systematic recovery of the physical remains of man's life and cultures. Artifacts, structures, settlements, materials, and features of prehistoric or ancient peoples are surveyed and / or excavated to uncover history in times before written records. Archaeology also supplements the study of recorded history. From the end of the 18th century onwards, archaeology has come to mean the branch of learning which studies the material remains of man's past. Its scope is, therefore, enormous, ranging from the first stone tools made and fashioned by man over 3 million years ago in Africa, to the garbage thrown into our trash cans and taken to city dumps and incinerators yesterday. The objectives of archaeology are to construct cultural history by ordering and describing the events of the past, study cultural process to explain the meaning of those events and what underlies and conditions human behavior, and reconstruct past lifeways. Among the specialties in the field are: archaeobiology, archaeobotany, archaeozoology, and social archaeology. Modern archaeology, often considered a subdiscipline of anthropology, has become increasingly scientific and relies on a wide variety of experts such as biologists, geologists, physicists, sociologists, anthropologists, and historians. The methods appropriate to different periods vary, leading to specialized branches of the subject, e.g. classical, medieval, industrial, etc., archaeology.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: archaeometry, archeometry CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: Relating or referring to the use of scientific techniques from fields such as chemistry, geology, physics, and other sciences for the analysis of archaeological data.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: archaeological science CATEGORY: branch DEFINITION: The large field of work that entails the physical and/or chemical analyses (measurement) of archaeological substances, their constituents, ages, residues, etc.
Ashurbanipal (fl. 7th century BC)
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Assurbanipal, Asurbanipal, Assurnasirpal CATEGORY: person DEFINITION: The last of the great kings of Assyria (668-627 BC), who established the first systematically organized library in the ancient Middle East, a huge collection of Assyrianclay tablets in his palace and that of his grandfather, Sennacherib. The library has been extremely valuable in revealing the art, science, and religion of ancient Mesopotamia. Approximately 20,720 tablets and fragments have been preserved in the British Museum. This collection was assembled by royal command, whereby scribes searched for and collected or copied texts of every genre from temple libraries. Theses were added to a core collection of tablets from Ashur, Calah, and Nineveh itself. The major group includes omen texts based on observations of events; on the behavior and features of men, animals, and plants; and on the motions of the Sun, Moon, planets, and stars. There were dictionaries of Sumerian, Akkadian, and other words, all important to the scribal educational system. Ashurbanipal also collected many incantations, prayers, rituals, fables, proverbs, and other canonical" and "extracanonical" texts. The traditional Mesopotamian epics -- such as the stories of Creation Gilgamesh Irra Etana and Anzu -- have survived mainly due to their preservation in Ashurbanipal's library. Handbooks scientific texts and some folk tales show that this library of which only a fraction of the clay tablets has survived was more than a mere reference library. His many brilliant military campaigns served only to hold what had been already won by previous kings though Egypt regained its independence and Elam was only retained by complete devastation."
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Arabic Al-Basrah CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: The second-largest city and principal port of Iraq, which from ancient times was a center of commerce, finance, letters, poetry, and science. It was founded as a military encampment by the second caliph, 'Umar I, in 638 about 8 miles (13 km) from the modern town of az-Zubayr, southeastern Iraq. Its proximity to the Persian Gulf on the west bank of the Shatt al-Arab gives it easy access to both the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and eastern frontiers. The first architecturally significant mosque in Islam was constructed there in 665. From the late 9th century Basra suffered a series of disasters and gradually declined. The Zanj (Negro slaves who worked in the fields and plantations of southern Iraq) revolted in 869-873 and sacked the city, and in 923 it was plundered by the Qarmarthians. In 1050, parts of the city were in ruins.
CATEGORY: related field DEFINITION: The science or study of shells and shellfish; also the collection of shells.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Critical Theory CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: A theoretical approach which was an attempt to adapt Karl Marx's ideas to an understanding of events and circumstances of 20th-century life. The relations between the assumptions and discoveries of a scholarly discipline and its ties to modern life are subject to examination, automatically relating the questions, methods, and discoveries of a science such as anthropology to those of the anthropologist's own culture. The theory claims that all knowledge is historical.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A research strategy that assumes that technological, economic, and ecological processes are the components of every sociocultural system. Developed by Marvin Harris, an anthropological historian, who saw functionalism in the social sciences as being similar to adaptation" in biology. His work on the surplus controversy and ethnoenergetic exchange in primitive cultures led him to comparisons with medieval European economies in which he saw two distinct types feudalism and manorialism."
Cuvier, Georges (1769-1832)
CATEGORY: person DEFINITION: French zoologist who was the founder of comparative anatomy and paleontology. He was an expert on fossil bones and one of the most influential proponents of catastrophism". Although Cuvier's theory of catastrophism did not last he based the science of palaeontology on a firm empiricalfoundation. He introduced fossils into zoological classification showing the progressive relation between rockstrata and their fossil remains and by demonstrated in his comparative anatomy and his reconstruction of fossil skeletons the importance of functional and anatomical relationships."
CATEGORY: branch DEFINITION: A subfield of archaeology which is the study of the environment in archaeological contexts. It includes not only the study of past flora (pollen analysis, palaeobotany, palaeoethnobotany, archaeobotany), and fauna (archaeozoology), but also that of insects (insect analysis), fish (fish bone analysis), and snail shells (molluscan analysis). All are studied in an attempt to recover the total environment of a past society and to understand man's impact on, and changes to, that environment. It is a field in which interdisciplinary research, involving archaeologists and natural scientists. Many disciplines are involved in this study: climatology, Quaternarygeology, soilscience, palaeobotany, zoology, and human biology.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: epigrapher CATEGORY: branch DEFINITION: The study of ancient inscriptions and letter forms on buildings, statuary, tablets, and other durable materials and objects (such as wood, bone, pottery, stone). An expert in such studies is an epigrapher or epigraphist. Such texts are often the only surviving records of extinct cultures and chronicle ancient events, beliefs, and lists of kings. Epigraphy encompasses inscriptions from the earliest complex societies to those of modern states. Epigraphy sometimes does not include the study of texts painted on ceramics or written on papyrus or wood, which are regarded as within the studies of ceramics and papyrology, respectively. Epigraphy deals both with the form of the inscriptions, and with their content: study of the form enables assessment of the development of language and the alphabet; their content is, however, usually more important for the light thrown on the social, political, religious, and economic life of the ancient world. The science includes decipherment, translation, explanation, and evaluation of the inscriptions.
CATEGORY: geography; related field DEFINITION: One of the oldest sciences; the descriptive study of the earth's surface and of its exploitation by lifeforms. From Greek geo, earth" and graphein "to write" geography describes and analyzes the spatial variations in physical biological and human phenomena that occur on the surface of the globe and their interrelationships and patterns."
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: lexicostatistics CATEGORY: related field DEFINITION: The science of the comparative study of the vocabularies of languages for measuring linguistic change through absolute time. By studying the rate of change, the length of time (time depth) during which two related languages developed independently may be calculated. Glottochronology relies on statistical comparison of the basic vocabulary shared by two or more related languages and on the assumption that the rate of vocabulary replacement is constant over sufficiently long periods of time. It is a way of arriving at a date of separation between two languages that have a common origin by studying the extent to which they have diverged from each other and provides archaeologists with approximate dates for the origination of subcultures diverging from each other. For instance, in Alaska the great difference between the Aleut language and the other Eskimo languages is thought to have been the result of the cultural isolation of the Aleuts from the 3rd millennium BC onwards. It is a controversial method.
Guo Moruo (1892-1978)
CATEGORY: person DEFINITION: Important person in Chinese archaeology who used a Marxist interpretation of history in all his work. He produced a monumental study of inscriptions on oracle bones and bronze vessels, Liang Chou chin wen tz'u ta hsi t'u lu k'ao shi"h (1935 new ed. 1957; "Corpus of Inscriptions on Bronzes from the Two Chou Dynasties"). He was the leading authority on Shang bone inscriptions and on bronze from Chouperiod using these first written texts as a basis for his study of Chinese society. In this work he attempts to demonstrate according to Communist doctrine the "slave society" nature of ancient China. His research work on bronzes from the Chouperiod carried out at the same time as B. Karlgren's consisted of making a chronological classification of the bronzes based on their inscriptions and used their typology as a secondary procedure. He reconstructed the development of these bronzes and defined the basis on which research being carried out today still rests. After 1949 Guo held many important positions in the People's Republic of China including the presidency of the Chinese Academy of Sciences."
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: horizon style CATEGORY: term; artifact DEFINITION: Any artifact, art style, or other cultural trait that has extensive geographical distribution but a limited time span. The term, in anthropology, refers to the spread of certain levels of cultural development and, in geology, the layers of natural features in a region; in soilscience a horizon is a layer formed in a soil profile by soil-forming processes. The main meaning, however, refers to a phase, characterized by a particular artifact or artistic style that is introduced to a wide area and which may cross cultural boundaries. Provided that these 'horizon markers' were diffused rapidly and remained in use for only a short time, the local regional cultures in which they occur will be roughly contemporary. The term is less commonly used now that chronometric dating techniques allow accurate local chronologies to be built. Examples of art styles which fulfill these conditions is called a 'horizon style' -- such as Tiahuanaco or Chavín.
Lévi-Strauss, Claude (1908- )
CATEGORY: person DEFINITION: French anthropologist and founder of structuralism, a name applied to the analysis of cultures, viewed as systems, in terms of the structural relations among their elements. Structuralism has influenced social science, philosophy, comparative religion, literature, and film. According to Lévi-Strauss's theories, universal patterns in cultural systems are products of the invariant structure of the human mind. Structure referred exclusively to mental structure, although he found evidence of such structure in his far-ranging analyses of kinship, patterns in mythology, art, religion, ritual, and culinary traditions.
Lartet, Edouard (1801-1871)
CATEGORY: person DEFINITION: A French scholar, one of the pioneers of Palaeolithicarchaeology, known as the founder of the science of palaeontology. He proposed a classification scheme for the Palaeolithicperiod based on animal bones: the Cave Bear period; the Woolly Mammoth and Rhinoceros period; the Reindeer period and the Aurochs or Bison period. He collaborated with Henry Christy in excavating many of the well-known rock shelter sites of southern France and was one of the first to recognize in situ mobiliary art; the publication of these objects from well-excavated contexts made it easier for scholars to accept the authenticity of cave art. With Christy, he carried out the first systematic study of south French caves, and excavated many of the most famous sites in the Dordogne (Laugerie-Haute, Le Moustier, La Madeleine). Their results appeared in several important articles, and also, during the decade 1865-1875, in the volumes of Reliquiae Aquitanicae"."
Leakey, Richard (1944- )
CATEGORY: person DEFINITION: Kenyan physical anthropologist and paleontologist, son of Louis and Mary Leakey, responsible for extensive fossil finds of human ancestral forms in East Africa. His investigations suggested that relatively intelligent, tool-using ancestors of true man lived in eastern Africa as early as 3,000,000 years ago, or almost twice the time span of previous estimates. Leakey uncovered some 400 hominid fossils, making Koobi Fora the site of the richest and most varied assemblage of early human remains found to date in the world. Leakey proposed controversial interpretations of his fossil finds. In two books written with science writer Roger Lewin, Origins" (1977) and "People of the Lake" (1978) Leakey said that about 3 million years ago three hominid forms coexisted with each other: Homo habilis Australopithecus africanus and Australopithecus boisei. Leakey contended that a relatively large-brained upright bipedal form of the species Homo lived in eastern Africa c 2.5-3.5 million years ago. He also wrote "The Making of Mankind" (1981)."
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: glottochronology CATEGORY: related field DEFINITION: A method for estimating the approximate date when two or more languages separated from a common parent language, using statistics to compare similarities and differences in vocabulary. The study of linguistic divergence between two languages, based on changes in a list of common vocabulary terms and the sharing of common root words. This science comparatively studies the vocabularies of languages and measures linguistic change through absolute time. By studying the rate of change, the length of time (time depth) during which two related languages developed independently may be calculated. Lexicostatistics relies on statistical comparison of the basic vocabulary shared by two or more related languages and on the assumption that the rate of vocabulary replacement is constant over sufficiently long periods of time. It is a way of arriving at a date of separation between two languages that have a common origin by studying the extent to which they have diverged from each other and provides archaeologists with approximate dates for the origination of subcultures diverging from each other. For instance, in Alaska the great difference between the Aleut language and the other Eskimo languages is thought to have been the result of the cultural isolation of the Aleuts from the 3rd millennium BC onwards. It is a controversial method.
CATEGORY: related field DEFINITION: The study and science of temples.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: palaeo-, pale-, palae- CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: A combining form meaning old, ancient, or prehistoric; involved or dealing with ancient forms or conditions and former geologic time periods. Special sciences are devoted to paleoastronomy, paleobotany, paleoecology, paleoethnobotany, paleozoology, etc.
CATEGORY: related field DEFINITION: Ethnology is a science that deals with the division of human beings into races and their origin, distribution, relations, and characteristics. It is anthropology dealing chiefly with the comparative and analytical study of cultures -- more commonly called cultural anthropology. Paleoethnology is the study of the behavior of vanished peoples. Now renamed, it is the ethnological study of prehistoric peoples based solely on archaeological evidence.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: palaeontology CATEGORY: related field DEFINITION: The study of the forms of life existing in former geologic periods, as represented by their fossils. It is the science of life of the geologic past that involves examination of the remains, origin, and evolution of plant and animal fossils. Fossils may provide palaeoenvironmental information. Human paleontology is the study of the origins of man himself.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Pergamon CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Capital of a Hellenistic kingdom of the same name in Anatolia (Turkey) dating to 283-133 BC. The site is fine example of Hellenistic town planning with buildings terraced up to the palace and the acropolis. There was monumental planning and design and sculpture in baroque style culminating in frieze of Altar of Zeus. In 133 BC, Attalus III bequeathed his kingdom to Rome, who made it the province of Asia. The Attalid kings had invested much of their wealth in Pergamum, making it a center for literature, the arts, and the sciences; their library rivaled Alexandria with 200,000 volumes (many written on parchment). The Attalid dynasty fortress and palace stood on the peak of the hill, while the town itself occupied the lower slopes. Under the Roman Empire the city was situated on the plain below. In the Roman period there was extensive new building and rebuilding. Hadrian restyled the round, domed Temple of Asklepios and built a temple of Trajan.
CATEGORY: flora DEFINITION: A weed of cultivation, which appears strongly in the pollenrecord as a result of the clearing of previously wooded land. There are several varieties and their presence is taken by archaeologists to imply cereal cultivation. The greater plantain (Plantago major) provides seed spikes for bird food. Ribwort and hoary plantain (P. lanceolata and P. media, respectively) are troublesome weeds. Psyllium and P. ovata have been useful in medical science.
Putnam, Frederic Ward (1839-1915)
CATEGORY: person DEFINITION: Curator of the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University, from 1875-1909. He was a leader in the founding of anthropological science in the US. He was important as an archaeologist who classified and described finds and as an administrator and archaeological sponsor. In fieldwork, he depended on scientific techniques for surveying, excavating, drawing cross-sections of excavations, and plotting finds. He did studies of the mounds of the Midwest US and on the antiquity of humans on the continent, which he believed to predate the end of the last glaciation. In 1891, Putnam began organizing the anthropological section of the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago. That collection became the basis of Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History. He was the curator of anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History following that and in 1903 he went to the University of California, Berkeley, to organize both the new department of anthropology and the anthropological museum. Putnam published more than 400 zoological and anthropological articles, reports, and notes and was also a founder and the editor of the periodical American Naturalist"."
CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: A belief that science consists of theories about the empirical world, that its goal is to develop better theories (achieved by finding mistakes in existing theories), and that theories should be vulnerable to error and open to testing.
CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: The belief that there is only one method of science and that it confers legitimacy upon the conduct of research.
Smith, William (1769-1839)
CATEGORY: person DEFINITION: British engineer and geologist known for his development of the science of stratigraphy. He collected fossils throughout England and discovered that different exposures of the same stratum contained comparable fossils, eventually leading to the formulation of the index fossil concept. Smith's great geologic map of England and Wales (1815) set the style for modern geologic maps, and many of the names he applied to the strata are still in use today.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: The science of making valid inferences about the characteristics of a group of persons or objects on the basis of numerical information obtained from a randomly selected sample of the group. Artifacts, ecofacts, features, sites, etc. can be reduced to a series of measurements, analytically determined values, or systematic observations which can be represented as numbers. The distributions of items with respect to these variables can then be studied. A wide variety of quantities summarizing the distributions may be calculated and compared, possibly determining the degree of similarity between distributions. The use of statistics procedures in archaeology most often involves assumption because archaeologists are dealing with remains which are only representative of the original population of artifacts, ecofacts, features, sites, etc.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: uniformitarianism CATEGORY: geology DEFINITION: A fundamental philosophy of geologic science, the principle that the earth was formed by the same natural geological processes that are still going on today. This principle -- that existing processes acting in the same manner and with essentially the same intensity as at present are sufficient to account for all geologic change -- provided the cornerstone of modern geology. William Whewell introduced the term in 1832.