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Fertile Crescent
DEFINITION: The region in the Middle East where the civilizations of the Middle East and the Mediterranean basin began. The term was invented by the American Orientalist James Henry Breasted in 1916. It applied to the crescent-shaped area of cultivable land between the highland zones and the West Asian desert, stretching from Egypt through the Levant to southern Anatolia and northern Mesopotamia, and eastwards to the flanks of the Zagros Mountains. Conditions in this area were favorable for the early development of farming, and all the earliest farming communities were thought to lie within it. The Fertile Crescent in its wider extension corresponds exactly to the region described in the Hebrew traditions of Genesis; it also contains the ancient countries - Babylonia, Assyria, Egypt, Phoenicia - from which the Greek and Roman civilizations evolved. The belief that the earliest culture known to mankind originated in the Fertile Crescent has been confirmed by radiocarbon dating since 1948. It is now known that incipient agriculture and village agglomerations there must be dated back to about 8000 BC, if not earlier, and that irrigation was used almost immediately.
Levanna projectile point
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Levanna projectile points are usually associated with Late Woodland and Contact Period occupations in southern New England (ca. 700-300 Years B.P.). Common material types associated with this point include quartz, quartzite, hornfels, and basalt. Non-local cherts were also used in the manufacture of this point type. The Levanna point type is characterized by the equilateral triangular form and concave base.
Poverty Point projectile point
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Projectile points, especially types with narrow stem-body junctures, from Poverty Point, a site is located just west of the Mississippi River in northeastern Louisiana. The site is significant because its earthworks are the oldest large aboriginal constructions known in mainland North America. They were built between 1730 and 1350 B.C. by Terminal Archaic hunter-gatherers
Tilemsi valley
DEFINITION: A tributary valley of the River Niger that ends at Gao in Mali, Africa. The Tilemsi valley may have been an area where domestic animals were introduced into West Africa by pastoralists who moved south after the desiccation of the Sahara after 4500 BP.
box tile
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A baked clay tile shaped like a rectangular box, open at both ends; often used for flues and occasionally for voussoirs.
flue tile
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Open-ended, box-shaped tile built into the thickness of the walls of a room heated by hypocaust
fluted lanceolate projectile point
CATEGORY: lithics
DEFINITION: A stemless point with rounded edges, a channel chipped into the spine, and no differently shaped projection at the base.
interquartile range
CATEGORY: measure
DEFINITION: The range of values that include the middle 50% of a distribution.
opus sectile
CATEGORY: structure
DEFINITION: A Roman construction technique using thin pieces marble of different colors in geometric, floral, or figured designs as part of floors or wall surfaces. Latin for "sectioned work" this technical term was used by Vitruvius c 30 BC. Shell or mother-of-pearl was sometimes used instead of marble. Opus sectile began in the Hellenistic world perhaps first in Italy and continued as a European decorative tradition. Opus sectile first appeared in Rome in Republican times as pavement in simple geometrical and floral designs. From the 1st century AD there was also a regular production of small pictures of the opus sectile type. The technique was most popular in Rome c 200 BC-400 AD. Geometrical opus sectile continued to be the major form of floor decoration in Italian churches throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Curved, interlocking roof tile of S-shaped section usually made of clay or concrete.
pre-projectile point complex
CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: A term applied to a complex consisting of the earliest archaeological evidence of humans on the North American continent. It is characterized by the lack of stone projectile points, which can be dated.
projectile point
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: The general term for the stone, bone, or wooden tip of a projectile - the point that is attached to a weapon such as an arrow, dart, lance, or spear. Among such points are arrowheads, which are usually of small size, and dart and spearpoints, which may be quite large. This tool is valuable in reconstruction of culture history.
ridge tile
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Stone or ceramic tile used along the ridgeline of a roof, usually shaped to sit over the ridge itself to provide a water-tight seal with the roof sections on either side.
DEFINITION: Fabric produced by spinning and weaving fibers, whether of animal or vegetable origin. Fragments may be preserved by waterlogging and tanning, by desiccation, or by corrosion of copper or bronze lying alongside. More commonly, items such as spindle whorls, weaving combs, and loom weights attest their existence.
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Thin, flat slab or block used structurally or decoratively in building.

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