(View exact match)synthesisSYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: pl. syntheses
DEFINITION: In archaeology, the assemblage and analysis of data before interpretation. Also, an attempt to pull together a broad range of knowledge about a particular topic or geographical area into a comprehensive document or statement.
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Kidder, Alfred Vincent (1885-1963)CATEGORY: person
DEFINITION: A pioneering American archaeologist working in the US southwest. He carried out stratigraphical and seriation excavations, notably of the Pueblo at Pecos, New Mexico, and combined stratigraphy with pottery typology to produce the first synthesis of southwestern prehistory. It has since been refined by dendrochronology, but it still provides the framework. Kidder's research forms the basis of nearly all later studies in the area. He later did archaeological surveys and excavations for the Maya program of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. He worked at Kaminaljuyú and Uaxactún. He was hailed for his multidisciplinary approach to archaeology and for changing American archaeology from antiquarianism to scientific discipline.carbon-14SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: radiocarbon, C14
DEFINITION: A naturally occurring radioactive isotope of carbon with a half-life of 5,730-year (+/- 40 years) years and a mass number of 14, commonly used in radiocarbon dating archaeological materials and in demonstrating the metabolic path of carbon in photosynthesis. Its known rate of decay is the basis of radiocarbon dating. Willard Libby discovered natural carbon-14. Libby showed the essential uniformity of carbon-14 in living material and went on to measure the radiocarbon level in organic samples dated historically - materials as old as 5,000 years from sources such as Egyptian tombs. Libby's conclusion, with allowance for radioactive decay, was that over the past 5,000 years the carbon-14 level in living materials has remained constant within 5 percent precision of measurement. His work made this dating method available to scientists.geneCATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: The basic unit of hereditary information that occupies a fixed position on a chromosome, i.e. governed by the specific sequence of the genetic markers within the DNA of the individual concerned. Genes achieve their effects by directing the synthesis of proteins.historiographyCATEGORY: related field
DEFINITION: The writing of history, with particular reference to the examination and evaluation of primary source material. Historiography is also the study of the development of historical method. The study is based on the critical examination of sources, the selection of facts from the authentic materials, and the synthesis of facts into a narrative.research designCATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: A carefully formulated and systematic plan for executing archaeological research. Systematic planning of archaeological research, usually including 1) the formulation of a strategy to resolve a particular question; 2) the collection and recording of the evidence; 3) the processing and analysis of these data and its interpretation; and 4) the publication of results. It begins as a statement outlining these four key elements as a blueprint of archaeological research: statement of perspective, synthesis of the existing database, research domains, and relevant research strategy. Research design is carried out to ensure the efficient use of resources and to guide the research according to the scientific method.