CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: Any physical characteristic of an artifact that can be described.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: accessory element, guest element CATEGORY: geology DEFINITION: Elements present in a mineral in minor proportions (between 0.1-2.0%) but which are frequently characteristic of the original source of the material. Trace elements occur naturally in minerals in soils and sediment and are not added deliberately to a substance. Minute amounts of chemical elements found in minerals emit characteristic wavelengths of light when heated to incandescence. Quantitative analyses of metal, clay, obsidian, etc. can show the amounts of the trace elements present and may suggest a source. Source identification can lead to further interpretations of trade and economic systems.
trace element analysis
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: The use of quantitative chemical techniques, such as neutron activation analysis or X-ray fluorescence spectrometry, for determining the elements present in a mineral in minor proportions. These methods are widely used in the identification of raw material sources for metal, clay, obsidian, etc. Trace elements emit characteristic wavelengths of light when heated to incandescence.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: The study of the traces left by use on the cutting edges of stone tools, with the aid of a microscope.
CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: A tool for marking out or engraving designs, used to outline the raised areas on a surface. In metalworking, a tracer was frequently used to outline the raised areas on the surface of repoussé metalwork. A tracer is worked by hammering.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: A Horizon, A-Group CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: A term created by American archaeologist George Reisner to refer to a semi-nomadic Nubian Neolithicculture of the mid-fourth to early third millennium BC. The term has evolved into a horizon" because there was also a C Group and the term was misleading that there were two separate ethnic groups rather than two phases of Nubian material culture. Traces of the A group which may have evolved from the Abkanculture survive throughout Lower Nubia. An important site is Afyeh near Aswan Sayala and Qustul. There is evidence among the grave goods that the A Group was engaged in regular trade with the Egyptians of the Predynastic and Early Dynastic periods. The A Group was eventually replaced by the C Group during the Old Kingdom. The existence of a B Group has now been rejected."
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Tadrat Acacus CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A region of the central Sahara (now southwestern Libya) known for rock shelters with occupation deposits and rock paintings. Pottery was made from about 7000 BC, the earliest of the so-called Aquatic Civilization typified by wavy-line decoration. The skull of a shorthorn ox and traces of sheep/goat supply evidence for animal domestication as early as c 4000 BC. Rock paintings of oxen predate c 2700 BC.
CATEGORY: feature DEFINITION: A technical term of ancient Roman roadwork for an earthen mound, embankment, or rampart of a camp, formed by the earth dug out of a ditch. Most Roman roads were built on a slightly raised causeway, mainly to provide drainage. This bank of earth was used for protection from flooding, as the foundation for a road, or for warfare purposes. Agger is also a general term for a mound formed by a dike, quay, roadwork, or earthwork. An agger can often be traced even if the surfacing material has been covered or laid bare.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Raqote CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: The Greek city founded by Alexander the Great in 332 BC, capital of the Ptolemydynasty, located on a narrow strip of land in the NileDelta of Egypt. Alexandria was placed on the earlier Egyptian settlement of Raqote of which pre-Ptolemaic seawalls are the only archaeological traces. The great city soon replaced Memphis as the capital of Egypt and is famed for its lighthouse (Pharos, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, built by Sostratos of Knidos between 299-279 BC; destroyed in 1326 AD by an earthquake), the jetty of Heptastadion, the royal palaces; and the Museion, a library and institution of scientific and philological research. It was composed of quarters: Egyptian, Greek, Jewish, and Kings. The city became the center of trade and culture in the eastern Mediterranean. The Ptolemys ruled over Egypt until 30 BC.
CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: The name of the combined cultures, the Angles and the Saxons, who left their North Sea coastal homelands in the 5th century AD and moved to eastern England after the breakdown of Roman Rule. The name derives from two specific groups --- the Angles of Jutland and the Saxons from northern Germany. Some other Germanic peoples took part in the migrations, such as the Jutes and the Frisians, and they are sometimes included under this name. The language, culture, and settlement pattern of medieval and later England can be traced directly to the Anglo-Saxons. The movement to the area probably began in the 4th century when barbarian Foederati went to serve in the Roman army in Britain. The main immigration began in the middle of the 5th century. Bede, writing in the early 8th century, gives the only reliable historical record for this period, though incidental information can be found in the Old English literature, particularly the poem of Beowulf. The English kingdoms took shape by the late 6th century. Archaeologically, there are three periods: the Early or PaganSaxonperiod went until the general acceptance of Christianity in the mid-7th century; the Middle Saxonperiod until the 9th century, and the Late Saxonperiod which went up till the Norman invasion of 1066. The earliest period's remains are mainly burial deposits, often cremation in urns or by inhumation in cemeteries of trench graves or under barrows. Grave goods often include knives, sword or spear, shieldboss, and brooches, buckles, beads, girdle-hangers, and pottery -- depending on the gender. Most archaeological evidence comes from the cemeteries, including the exceptional ship burial at Sutton Hoo. Churches were built and in the Middle and Late Saxon periods, including Bradford-Upon-Avon and Deerhurst. Important monuments of the Middle and Late Saxon periods are the royal palaces at Yeavering and Cheddar. The Late Saxonperiod, after the Viking invasions, saw the growth of the first towns in Britain since the Roman period, following the establishment of Burhs in response to the Scandinavian threat. There was wide-ranging trade, developed coinage, and improved potterymanufacture and metal-working. The separate British kingdoms (most important: Mercia, Northumbria and Wessex) eventually became a unified England with a capital at Winchester in Wessex. The Anglo-Saxons were responsible for the introduction of the English language and for the establishment of the settlement patterns of medieval England.
Anse au Meadow, L'
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A site on the northern peninsula of Newfoundland that is the only known Vikingsettlement in the New World. The Norse explorers were the first Europeans to reach what is now Canadian explorers, c 1000 AD, as is recorded in the Icelandic sagas and recently confirmed by the archaeological discovery of the site at L' Anse-aux-Meadows. Excavations revealed traces of turf-walled houses similar to those at Viking sites in Greenland and Iceland. Also found was a spindle whorl, iron nails, and a smithy with pieces of bog-iron and several pounds of slag -- all of Norse origin. Radiocarbon dates range from AD 700-1080 with a concentration around 1000, which is the period when, according to the sagas, Norsemen led by Leif Eriksson sailed west from Greenland and explored the coast of America, which they named Vinland.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A defensive fortification on the frontier of the Roman Empire in Scotland, built by the governor Lollius Urbicus for the emperor Antoninus Pius c 142-145 AD. It spans the distance between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde in Scotland, running for 36.5 miles (58.5 km) with 19 forts on its line and others forward and to the rear. The wall, mainly turf-built, was 14-16 ft (4.5 m) wide and probably 10 ft (3 m) high with a ditch of 40 ft (12 m) wide and 12 ft (4 m) deep in front of the wall and a military road behind it. The forts are 2 miles (3 km) apart. The wall was probably a last attempt to secure the Scottish Lowlands by the Romans and it provided defense beyond Hadrian's Wall, which was around 100 miles (160 km) south. The work was carried out by men from the legions stationed in Britain, and was probably completed section by section by different work groups who marked their handiwork with decorative plaques. Crop marks reveal some evidence for the temporary camps for the builders. The wall was abandoned temporarily in c 155-158 AD during the northern revolt and permanently before the end of the century when the garrison withdrew to Hadrian's Wall. Rough Castle is a well-preserved fortsite and other traces of the wall remain.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: extensive excavation, open excavation, open-area excavation CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A method of excavation in which the full horizontal extent of a site is cleared and large areas are open while preserving a stratigraphic record in the balks between large squares. A gradual vertical probe may then take place. This method is often used to uncover houses and prehistoricsettlement patterns. Areaexcavation involves the opening up of large horizontal areas for excavation, used especially where single period deposits lie close to the surface. It is the excavation of as large an area as possible without the intervention of balks and a gridsystem. This technique allows the recognition of much slighter traces of ancient structures than other methods. On multi-period sites, however, it calls for much more meticulous recording since the stratigraphy is revealed one layer at a time.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Breton dagger CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: Type of bronzedagger found in the ESSEX I Phase of the early Bronze Age (c.1700-1500 BC) in southern Britain which has similarities with examples from Brittany. It has a flat triangularblade, lateral grooves, and six rivets for attaching the blade to the hilt. Sometimes a small tang or languette is present to assist securing the blade to the hilt. Traces of wooden and leather sheaths have been found with some blades; the hilts were probably of wood and in the case of an example found in the Bush Barrow, Wiltshire, were inlaid with gold tacks.
atomic absorption spectrometry
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: AAS CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A method of analysis used to determine the chemical composition of metal artifacts -- especially copper -- and non-metallic substances such as flint. It measures energy in the form of visible light waves and is capable of measuring up to 40 different elements with an error rate of around 1 percent. It is not a completely nondestructive technique, since a small sample must be removed from the artifact (between 10 mg. and 1 g., depending on the concentration of the elements). The sample is first dissolved and then atomized in a flame. A beam of light, of carefully controlled wavelength, is shone through the flame to a detector on the other side. The light takes a defined wavelength corresponding to the emission wavelength of the chosen element. The atoms of that element in the sample therefore absorbs a proportion of the light, measured with a photomultiplier, and a comparison of the intensity of the light with that which has not gone through the sample shows the extent of the absorption, thus providing an estimate of the amount of the chosen element in the specimen. One of the method's drawbacks is that a separate measurement (and a different hollow cathode lamp) is necessary for each element, so that analysis for a large number of elements is time-consuming. There are also problems of contamination with the high dilutions necessary for elements present in high concentrations, so that the method is used for the analysis of minor elements and trace elements rather than for major elements. The results are generally more accurate than those obtained using optical emission spectrometry and the technique's use will probably increase, especially for the identification of sources of metal ores through the recognition and quantification of the trace elements.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A site in Wiltshire, England, at which stands one of Britain's finest megalithic monuments (known as henges) and one of the largest ceremonial structures in Europe. It was built c 2000 BC in the Neolithic, where the ridgeways of southern England meet, a natural site for tribal gatherings. It consists of a large bank with internal ditch (1.2 km long) with four equally spaced entrances. Inside the ditch was set a circle of 98 sarsen stones, weighing as much as 40 tons each. In the center were two smaller stone circles, each c 100 meters in diameter. The northern circle contains a U-shaped setting of three large stones, and the southern inner circle once had a complexarrangement of stones at its center. The RingStone, a huge stone perforated by a natural hole, stood within the earthworks and main stonecircle at the southern entrance. The southern entrance leads out to two parallel rows of sarsens forming an avenue 15 m wide and 2.5 km long which ends at a ritual building (the so-called Sanctuary) on Overton Hill. Traces of a second avenue remain on the opposite side of the monument. From the bottom of the ditchcame sherds of Neolithic Windmill Hill, Peterborough, and Grooved Ware styles, while higher up were fragments of South British (Long Necked) Beaker and Bronze Age pottery. Burials with Beaker and Rinyo-Clacton wares have been excavated at the bases of some of the stones. Near the southern end of the Avenue was an occupation site with Neolithic and Beaker sherds. The complex geometry of the site is studied, especially the possible astronomical alignments built into it. The circles at Avebury and the wooden structure on Overton Hill were all probably built at the same time by Neolithic communities.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Bastis, Bast, Ubasti CATEGORY: deity DEFINITION: The ancient Lower Egyptian goddess worshipped in the form of a lioness, and later a cat. Bastet's form was often changed after the domestication of the cat around 1500 BC. Her principal cult center was Bubastis in the Nile River delta but she also had an important cult at Memphis. In the Late and Ptolemaic periods large cemeteries of mummified cats were created at both sites, and thousands of bronze statuettes of the goddess were put there as votive offerings. Her cult was carried to Italy by the Romans, and traces have been found in Rome, Ostia, Nemi, and Pompeii.
CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: Any of the inhabitants of Gaul north of the Sequana and Matrona (Seine and Marne) rivers of mixed Celtic and Germanic origin, first described by Julius Caesar in mid-first century BC. Their origins on the continent can be traced back to the La Tène period in the 5th century BC and evidence suggests that the Romans penetrated into those areas about 150 BC. In Caesar's day, they held much of Belgium and parts of northern France and southeast England. The Belgae of Gaul formed a coalition against Caesar after his first Gallic campaign but were subdued the following year (57 BC). During the first half of the 1st century BC, Belgae from the Marne district had crossed to Britain and had formed the kingdom that in 55 BC was ruled by Cassivellaunus. After further Gallic victories (54-51 BC) by Caesar, other settlers took refuge across the Channel, and Belgic culture spread to most of lowland Britain. The three most important Belgic kingdoms, identified by their coinage, were centered at Colchester, St. Albans, and Silchester. Archaeologically, the Belgae can be identified with the bearers of the Aylesford-Swarling culture, otherwise known as Iron Age C. Coinage, the heavy plow, and the potter's wheel were introduced by the Belgae. They lived in large fortified settlements called oppida and amphorae and Italian bronze vessels have been found in their richly furnished tombs.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Edo CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Capital and largest city of Edo state, Nigeria, which rose to prominence in the 13th century. A series of massive city wall, over 100 km in length, was constructed. The Portuguese first visited in 1485 and it was burned down and ransacked for nearly 2,500 of its famous bronzes in 1897 when the British occupied the city. Benin City is known for the fine practice the ancient method of cire perdue (lost-wax") bronze castings mostly relief plaques and near life-size human heads produced over a long period. Traces of the old wall and moat remain."
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: The part of the continental shelf that connects Northeast Asia with present-day Alaska. These were the polar continental shelves that escaped glaciation during the ice ages but which were exposed during periods of low sea level, which facilitated migration of people to North America from Asia, and in the Laptev and East Siberian seas. When exposed at the time of the last glacial maximum, it was a large, flat, vegetated landmass. In 1993, investigations on the climatic interstadial of 11,000-12,000 years ago in Beringia (now submerged under the Bering Strait) and the way it provided for the peopling of the New World from Asia were reported. Traces of starch from an apparently domesticated variety of the taro plant on flint tools from the Solomon Islands suggested that conscious planting was being done in the Pacific as long ago as 28,000 years before the present.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Bononia; Felsina CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A city in the Po valley of northern Italy, originally the Etruscan Felsina, which was occupied by Gauls in the 4th century BC and became a Roman colony and municipium (Bononia) c 190 BC. Traces of street plans survive, as do cemeteries with trench-typeinhumation and cremation. Finds include sandstone grave stelae and many grave goods. Prior to the Etruscan inhabitation, there were villages of the Apennine culture, which were succeeded by Villanovans. During that time it was a bronzeworking and trade center. It was then subject to the Greeks, then the papacy, then occupied by the Visigoths, Huns, Goths, and Lombards after the barbarian invasions. After a feudal period, Bologna became free in the early 12th century.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: The largest island of Southeast Asia, first mentioned in Ptolemy's Guide to Geography" of c 150 AD. Joined to mainland Southeast Asia during the low sea-levelPleistoceneperiodarchaeological sequences have been found in the Niah Caves of Sarawak and the Madai-Tingkayu region of Sabah. The Niah Great Cave sequence suggests the presence of a population of early Australoids from about 40 000 years ago and evidence from all sites indicate that the ancestors of present-day Borneans arrived around 3000 BC possibly from the Philippines. Though traces of Homo erectus from 2 million years ago were found on neighboring Java so far no evidence has been found of Homo erectus in Borneo. Roman trade beads and Indo-Javanese artifacts give evidence of a flourishing civilizationdating to the 2nd or 3rd century BC. A Sanskritinscription dated to c 400 AD is the earliest historical document on the island. Three rough foundation stones with an inscription recording a gift to a Brahman priest date from the early 5th century AD found at Kutai provide evidence of a Hindu kingdom. The first recorded European visitor was Franciscan friar Odoric of Pordenone who visited on his way from India to China in 1330."
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A settlement site and cemeterydating from at least the 2nd millennium BC in southern India. Wheeler found a Chalcolithiclevel (c 2800-1250 BC) with abundant microliths, polished stone axes, and crude burnished gray pottery, an Iron Age level (1st millennium BC) with black-and-red ware, 300 tombs, stone circles, and ossuaries for bones, and a level from the 1st century AD with rouletted ware and traces of Roman contact. Bone points and some evidence of a stone-bladeindustry have also been found. There are many cattle bones, but also sheep and goats. The culture seemed to continue with little change for many centuries.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: The traditional capital of Moravia in the southeastern Czech Republic, which was inhabited in prehistoric times according to archaeological evidence. Important sites surround and are in the town, including a burial covered in red ochre, mammoth tusks, and ornaments, which has proven to be one of the earliest Upper Palaeolithic burials known. Traces of Neanderthal man were found in a cave called Svéduv stul (Swedish Table") and a camping ground of the Cro-Magnon mammoth hunters (30 000 BC) was discovered at Dolní Vestonice 20 miles (30 km) south. There are also traces of Celts and other tribes and many Slav settlements from the 5th and 6th centuries."
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: calendrics CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: A cyclical system of measuring the passage of time. The day is the fundamental unit of computation in any calendar. Most ancient civilizations (and perhaps some non-literate prehistoric societies) developed calendrical systems to mark the passage of time and various methods have been employed by different peoples. Where these were both carefully calculated and written down, as in Egypt, Mesopotamia and Mesoamerica, they are of considerable assistance to archaeologists for dating purposes. In the Americas, the origins of calendrics are still obscure, but evidence from Monte Albán suggests that the 52-year Calendar Round was known by the 6th century BC. The Long Count system was in use by c 1st century BC if not before. Ancient Near Eastern calendars varied from city to city and from period to period. In most cities the year started in the spring and was divided into 12 or 13 months. In some places the months were of fixed length; in others they were lunar months starting at the first sighting of the crescent of the new moon. As there are more than 12 lunar months in a solar year additional, or intercalary, months were included so that every third year contained 13 months. The earliest Egyptian calendars were based on lunar observations combined with the annual cycle of the Nileinundation, measured with nilometers. On this basis, the Egyptians divided the year into 12 months and three seasons: akhet (inundation), peret (spring/ crops), and shemu (harvest). The Egyptians had 30-day months and 5 intercalary days in their solar or civil calendar. For agricultural purposes and for determining religious festivals, they used a different calendar based on observations of Sirius, the dog star. The calendar in use in ancient Mesopotamia and the Levant was lunar, based on 12 months of 30 days each. This produced a year of only 354 days, about 11-1/4 days short of the true solar year; the necessary correction was made by the addition of seven months over a period of 19 years. This type of calendar is still used in both Judaism and Islam for religious purposes, though many countries now also employ the Gregorian solar calendar for secular purposes. The origin of the calendric system in general use today -- the Gregorian calendar -- can be traced back to the Roman republican calendar, which is thought to have been introduced by the fifth king of Rome, Tarquinius Priscus (616-579 BC). This calendar was likely derived from an earlier Roman calendar -- a lunar system of 10 months -- that was supposedly devised about 738 BC by Romulus, the founder of Rome. In the year 46 BC, Julius Caesar corrected the calendar by having a year of 445 days (known as the ultimus annus confusionis' or 'the last year of the muddled reckoning'). He then adapted the Egyptian solar calendar for Roman use, inserting extra days in the shorter months to bring the total up to 365, with the addition of a single day between the 23rd and 24th February in leap years. This calendar, known as the Julian Calendar, remained in use until the time of Gregory XIII in 1582, who made a further correction (of eleven days) and instituted the calendar which is in general use today. Very useful to Mesoamerican archaeologists is the Maya Long Count or Initial Series, which was a means of recording absolute time. Its starting date of 3113 BC (using the Goodman-Thompson-Martinex correlation) marks some mythical event in Mayahistory and itself stands at the beginning of a cycle 13 Baktuns long. A Baktun at 144,000 days in the largest unit of time in the calendar and is further divided into smaller units: the Katun (7200 days); the Tun (360 days); the Uninal (20 days) and the Kin (a single days). Thus Long Count dates are expressed in terms of these units in a five place notation. Therefore the date 184.108.40.206.0. indicates the passage of 9 x 144,000 plus 18 x 7200 days since the initial date of 3113 BC. In cultural contexts, however, the dates are inscribed as a series of hieroglyphs which incorporate numeration via bars (units of five) and dots (units of one). Short count dating replaced the Long Count after 900 AD and the Katun replaced the Baktun as the largest unit. It is less precise, however.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Durovernum Cantiacorum CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A site on the River Stour in southeast England occupied since pre-Roman times. Lying at the intersection of important land routes, Canterbury already had a sizable Belgic settlement before the arrival of the Romans in 43 AD. The town was refounded soon after the invasion as Durovernum, the tribal capital of the Cantiaci, around 49 AD. Traces have been found of a theater (c 210-220), a forum, houses, streets, and a stone wall with earth bank added as fortification c 270-290. There is some evidence of Christian occupation from the 4th century, but the settlement declined sharply after 400, probably following the withdrawal of Roman forces. Archaeological investigations in Canterbury have contributed to an understanding of the secular occupation in Roman towns after the imperial withdrawal from Britain. Excavations have also been carried out on a group of churches which may date to the late 6th or 7th century: St. Augustine's Abbey, St. Martins's, and St. Pancras. Canterbury was an important medieval town and from that time there is a medieval cathedral, an impressive circuit of town walls, a large 12th-century castle, and some of the best preserved timber-framed buildings in England.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: pl. caryatides; korai CATEGORY: structure DEFINITION: A supporting base or column of a structure shaped in the form of a woman. Most often, a caryatid supported a porch, entablature, or a colonnade and was in the form of a draped woman bearing it on her head. The best known are of the Erechtheum at Athens (420-415 BC) and other examples part of three small buildings (treasuries) at Delphi in Greece (550-530 BC). The figures' origin can be traced to mirror handles of nude figures carved from ivory in Phoenicia and draped figures cast from bronze in archaic Greece. Caryatids were used in the Roman emperor Hadrian's Villa at Tivoli, the Villa Albani at Rome, two colossal figures at Eleusis, in Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa's Pantheon, and in the colonnade surrounding the Forum of Augustus at Rome. The male counterparts of caryatids are called 'atlantes'.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Sulawesi CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: An Indonesian island east of Borneo which has produced the oldest Buddhist image known in the archipelago, dated to the 4th century. Celebes lies between the two shelves of the Australian and Asian continents. A broad central area is made up of igneous rocks with a band of volcanic detritus (tuff) that is more than 65 million years old. The earliest traces of human habitation on Celebes are stone implements of the Toalian culture.
CATEGORY: feature DEFINITION: A term used for small plots with low earthen banks formed around them, which were field systems of pre-Roman times in Britain and northwest Europe. These date to the Early Bronze Age (1800 BC), so it is a misnomer to attach 'Celtic' to them. Traces of these systems may still be visible where later agriculture has not removed them. The oldest examples in Britain are blocks of arable land (sometimes associated with farmsteads, hollow ways, stockades, and enclosures) divided into a patchwork of more or less square units. They are defined by lynchets at the upper and lower edges, and by slightly raised ridges at the sides. Similar fields are known from Scandinavia and the Netherlands.
CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: A technique for the decoration of metalwork by engraving on the outside of the raised surface. The metal is worked from the front by hammering with tools that raise, depress, or push aside the metal without removing any from the surface. Chasing is the opposite of embossing, or repoussé, in which the metal is worked from the back to give a higher relief. Strictly chasing refers to line decoration applied to the face of repoussé work with a tracer, but the term is frequently used more generally to describe any hammered or punched decoration on metal.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: The main use of chemical analysis in archaeology has been the identification of trace, major, and minor elements characteristic of particular sources of raw materials such as obsidian. The methods include X-ray fluorescence spectrometry, optical emission spectrometry, atomic absorption spectrometry, spectrographic X-ray diffraction, and neutron activation analysis. This information can be useful in the study of technology, trade, and distribution.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Cheng Chou, Chengxian CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: The site of the Shangdynastycapital from 1500-1200 BC, in Honan province, China on the Yellow River. Following villages of the Yang Shao and Lung Shan cultures, four phases of Shang occupation have been traced. Cemeteries of pit graves have been found and a rectangular wall enclosed an area divided into different quarters. Outside this city, in addition to remains of large public buildings, a complex of small settlements has been discovered. Since 1950 archaeological finds have shown that there were Neolithic settlements in the area. The site remained occupied after the Shangdynasty moved its capital again; Chou (post-1050 BC) tombs have also been discovered. It is thought that in the Western Chouperiod (1111-771 BC) it became the fief of a family named Kuan. In 605 AD it was first called Cheng-chu.
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."
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: adj. Choukoutienian CATEGORY: site; culture DEFINITION: A type site near Peking, China, for an Upper and Middle Paleolithic culture. It is the place where 40 of the first skeletons of Homo erectus was found -- in limestone fissures of Middle Pleistocene deposits, probably of Mindel date, some 500,000 years old. The find also yielded extinct animals; flake, core, and chopping tools of quartz and sandstone; and traces of fire. From another areacame skeletons of Homo sapiens with stone and bone tools of the Upper Palaeolithic.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: (Roman) Colonia Agrippinensis, Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium, Colonia CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A site on the left bank of the Rhine, West Germany, that was colonized by the Roman general Agrippa in 53 BC. A fortified settlement was established c 38 BC and it became a Roman colony in 50 AD. It was named Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium, shortened to Colonia. It became the capital of the province of Lower Germania, which was an important commercial center. After 258 AD it was, for a time, the capital of an empire comprising Gaul, Britain, and Spain. In 310, Constantine the Great built a castle and a permanent bridge to it across the Rhine. About 456 it was conquered by the Franks, and it soon became the residence of the kings of the Ripuarian part of the Frankish kingdom. Ceramics and glass were manufactured in Cologne in Roman times. Traces of the Roman period survive including the principal elements of the street plan, town walls and gates, Roman and Gallo-Roman temples, water installations, Rhine port, bridges and fort, pottery and glass factories, and villas and cemeteries. In the 5th century, the Roman town was overrun by the Franks. During the Frankish and Carolingian periods and much of the Middle Ages, Cologne was a major bishopric and a leading commercial and cultural center. Spectacular Frankish royal graves dating to the mid-6th century have been uncovered.
CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: Theories that trace the origin of the state to warfare or intragroup conflicts.
Cunningham, Sir Alexander (1814-1883)
CATEGORY: person DEFINITION: British general and archaeologist who excavated many sites in India, including Sarnath and Sanchi, and served as the first director of the Indian Archaeological Survey. He published an annual report, listing and describing the principal monuments of ancient India for the first time. His writings include The Bhilsa Topes (1854), the first serious attempt to trace Buddhist history through its architectural remains; The Ancient Geography of India (1871), the first collection of the edicts of the 3rd-century-BC Indian emperor Ashoka; and The Stûpa of Bharhut (1879).
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Danekirke CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A 5th-century line of earthwork fortifications that cut across the base of the Jutland peninsula, forming the southern boundary of Viking Age Denmark (now in Germany). Timbers in its construction have been dated to about 737 AD, but these were likely replacement timbers, making the first building phase still earlier. It is puzzling archaeologically because the traces of only one large timber hall have been found, associated with enormous quantities of imported luxury items including a great deal of West European glass. Godfrey, king of Denmark who halted Charlemagne's march northward, began the construction of the Danevirke.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Dereivca CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A Late Neolithic settlement site located on the river Omifinev in the Ukraine and dated to the 3rd millennium BC. A site of the Sredni Stog culture includes a cemetery of the Mariupoltype, with 100+ extended inhumations arranged in groups. Adjacent to the cemetery is the settlement with Dnieper-Donets pottery, traces of dwellings, hearths, and other features.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Tien CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: A Bronze Age culture and barbarian kingdom in southwest China centered on Lake Dian in Yunnan province. According to Chinese sources, the Dian royal house traced its descent from a Chu general who invaded Yunnan in the late 4th century BC and remained to rule the local tribes. In 109 BC, Dian surrendered to Han armies; a generation later the kingdom was destroyed after a revolt. The highly distinctive culture is known mainly from cemetery sites, especially Shizhaishan where the burials date from the Han occupation. Earlier burials of the period c 600-300 BC have been excavated at Dapona and Wanjiaba. Many of the objects unearthed at Shizhaishan were imports from China: coins, mirrors, belt hooks, silk, crossbow mechanisms, and a goldseal from the Han court that reads 'Seal of the King of Dian'. Other finds seem to be local adaptations of prototypes originating in the state of Chu. There was active trade with the southern Zhou states of Shu and Ba before the Han Dynasty.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: An Iron Age Hill Fort near Cardiff, Wales, which was refurbished in the sub-Roman and medieval periods. Traces of hearths, a collection of Mediterranean imported pottery, and metal-working debris such as molds, furnaces, and ovens have been found.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A basecampsite within modern Khartoum which provided the first clear picture of the so-called 'Aquatic Civilization'. The site had traces of sun-dried daub suggesting the presence of temporary structures. Fishing done with bone-headed harpoons was the economic basis of the settlement. Other artifacts include chipped and ground stone and pottery with 'wavy-line' decoration. Dates of 6th or 5th millennium BC seems probable; similar harpoons at Tagra, to the south, are dated to c 6300 BC.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: An acoustic underwater survey technique used to trace the topography of submerged land surfaces. It is a method in which a sound pulse travels from the vessel to the ocean floor, is reflected, and returns. By calculations involving the time elapsed between generation of the pulse and its return and the speed of sound in water, a continuousrecord of sea floor topography can be made. Echo sounding depends on timing the lapse between the transmission of a short loud noise or pulse and its return from the target -- in this case the bottom of the sea or lake. Most echo sounders perform these calculations mechanically, producing a graphic record in the form of a paper chart. Misleading reflections caused by the presence of undersea canyons or mountains plus variations in the speed of sound through water caused by differences in temperature, depth, and salinity limit the accuracy of echo sounding.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A farming site in southern Cape Province, South Africa, which has produced several Palaeolithic cultures and a human skull somewhat like that of Broken Hill. The skull ('Saldanha' cranium) is believed to be associated with late Acheulian tools and is considered to be of late Middle Pleistocene age. Traces of Middle Stone Age and Late Stone Age artifacts and pottery were also found.
energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: XRF CATEGORY: geology (and metallurgy) DEFINITION: A technique that analyzes obsidian's trace elements to "fingerprint" an artifact and trace to its geological source
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Inuit CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: The aboriginal cultural group of the Arctic regions of North America, which evolved between 2000-100 BC. The Eskimo way of life and the distinctive tool types can be traced back into the Arctic Small Tool tradition. Other traits seem to have been adopted by the Alaskan Eskimos from the Siberian tribes. The group is characterized by uniformity in culture, language, and physical sock. The Eskimo call themselves Inuit, because 'Eskimo' is a derogatory Algonquin word meaning 'eater of raw flesh'.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Faesulae CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A chief city of the Etruscan confederacy, near Florence, with important Roman remains. It probably dates from the 9th-8th centuries BC, but its first record (as Faesulae) is in 283 BC, when it was conquered by the Romans. In 80 BC, it was occupied by the dictator Lucius Cornelius Sulla, who built the town. Traces of an Etruscantempledating to 3rd century BC survive, but the town was taken by barbarians in 405 AD. It later declined and was superseded by Florence.
CATEGORY: lithics DEFINITION: A mark or trace on a stone showing the point of attachment of a flake that has been removed; the point where a flake has been chipped off in the making of a tool.
CATEGORY: flora; fauna DEFINITION: In paleontology, the organic remains, impression, imprint, traces, or mineral replacement of an animal or plant organism of a past geologic age preserved in the strata of the earth's crust. Only a small fraction of ancient organisms are preserved as fossils, and usually only organisms that have a solid and resistant skeleton are preserved.
CATEGORY: geology; related field DEFINITION: The study of the physical, chemical, and biological processes and products of the earth; simply, the study of the history of the earth and an understanding of the time scale over which man developed. Geology's aims overlap considerably with those of archaeology, particularly in the prehistoric periods. For example, work on the stratigraphy of the Quaternary to provide a geological chronology for the study of the reconstruction of environmental changes throughout the Quaternary forms an essential background to all archaeology. The palaeontology of fossil hominids and the other animals that lived at the same time is another area in which geology and archaeology overlap. The geological methods of dating such as radiocarbon, palaeomagnetism, and potassium-argon form the basis of most prehistoric chronologies. Geophysical techniques are used for the location of sites and petrology traces the origins of stone implements and inclusions in pottery.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Gordion CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: The capital of the Phrygians in the 8th century BC, on the bank of the Sakarya River in central Anatolia (now Turkey). Gordion was surrounded by a massive mud-brick wall and a monumental gateway and was dominated by about 10 important buildings built on the megaron plan, and a palacecomplex. Outside the city gate was a cemetery of nearly 80 large tumuli, which has yielded rich finds from the 8th-6th centuries BC. The great royal tomb investigated was once identified as King Midas, who allegedly committed suicide when the Cimmerian nomads sacked the city in 685 BC. The tomb also contained inscriptions in the Phrygianscript, nine tables and two screens of wood, three bronze cauldrons, 166 other bronze vessels, and 146 bronze fibulae. Traces of linen and woolen textiles were found on the bed, and traces of purple cloth were also found on the throne in another rich tumulus. Occupation of the site continued into Roman times.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Gortyna CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Ancient Greek city of western Crete, considered the most important city of Classical Greek and Roman Crete. Although unimportant in Minoan times, Gortyn displaced Phaestus as the dominant city in the Mesara. It shared or disputed control of the island with Knossos until the Roman annexation in 67 BC. It controlled the sea route between east and west through its ports of Matalon and Leben. The great civic inscription, or code of Gortyn, dating to c 450 BC, was discovered in 1884; it is the most extensive monument of Greek law before the Hellenistic Age. The Gortynian Law Code was incorporated by the Romans into the back wall of an Odeum when this was being reconstructed in 100 AD under Trajan. The Code, written boustrophedon (alternately from left and right), contains rules of civil law concerning such matters as family, adultery, divorce, property, mortgage, and the rights of slaves. Later excavations disclosed most of the plan and public buildings of the Roman city, which was the administrative capital of the Roman province of Crete and Cyrenaica; identifiable are a preaetorium, agora, and odeum. The acropolis appears to have Neolithic and Late Bronze Age evidence and there are traces of a temple of the 8th-7th centuries BC. Homer refers to the city , and describes it as walled, though no walls survive. A votive deposit associated with an altar on the slope of the hill contained a wide selection of objects from all periods from Late Minoan III through to Roman. Gortyn maintained its importance through early Christian times, becoming an early Byzantine religious center.
CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: A Roman surveying instrument which traced right angles. It was made of a horizontal wooden cross pivoted at the middle and supported from above. From the end of each of the four arms hung a plumb bob. By sighting along each pair of plumb bob cords in turn, the right angle could be established. The device could be adjusted to a precise right angle by observing the same angle after turning the device approximately 90 degrees. By shifting one of the cords to take up half the error, a perfect right angle would result. It was used for laying out the grid patterns of towns and forts, for road construction, and for centuriation.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Bodrum CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A Greek city on the west coast of Turkey (once Asia Minor), the birthplace of the 5th-century BC historian Herodotus. Formed part of the Delian league, its peak period was as capital city of Mausolus (satrap), who ruled Caria from 377-353 BC. He built walls, public buildings (agora, theater), and the famous Mausoleum (one of the Seven Wonders of Ancient World) as his funerary temple, of which nothing now remains but fragments preserved in the British Museum. Halicarnassus' sack by Alexander The Great in 334 BC is the last major event on record. Virtually all traces of ancient Halicarnassus has now unfortunately disappeared under modern Bodrum. Some sections of the city wall survive, and the site of the mausoleum, the tomb of Mausolus, is known.
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 goldluster finish. These wares were much in demand throughout Europe and, judging from finds in northern Europe, they were widely traded. The tinglaze 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 tinglaze, and the piece was fired again. Imitation of this pottery in Italy led to the development of Italian maiolica ware.
inductively coupled plasma emission spectrometry
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: ICPS CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A technique used to identify trace elements in stone, pottery, and metal artifacts in an attempt to trace the components' origins. It is based on the same basic principles as optical emission spectrometry, but the generation of much higher temperatures reduces problems of interference and produces more accurate results.
CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: Artifacts or ecofacts that were created after the deposit in which they were found, but worked their way into it without necessarily leaving any obvious trace of their infiltration.
instrumental neutron activation analysis
CATEGORY: geology DEFINITION: A technique that analyzes the trace element composition of the clay used to make a pot and trace the clay to its geological source
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Tell es-Sultan CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: An important site in the Jordan Valley of Israel with a continuoussequence from the Natufian to the Late Bronze Age. Camping occupation of the Mesolithic c 9000 BC developed into the pre-potteryNeolithic c 8350-7350 BC when there was a walled town of mud-brick houses, which is amongst the earliest permanent settlements known. There was at least one massive stone tower. To the succeeding PPNB levels dated 7250-5850 BC, belongs the series of famous plastered skulls. In c 1580, the Hyksossettlement, with its tombs, plastered glacis, woodwork, basketry, pottery, and bronze, was destroyed by the Egyptians. The Late Bronze Age town captured by Joshua's Israelites has left very few traces. There was some reoccupation during the Iron Age.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: City in the Judaean hills, Israel, occupied for more than 4000 years and now the capital of Israel. Many excavations have taken place since the 1860s, but because of the long history of destruction and rebuilding on the site, it has been difficult to reconstruct the development of the city. Sporadic traces of 4th- and 3rd-millennium BC occupation occur, but the first substantial settlement with a town wall belongs to the Late Bronze Age of the 2nd millennium BC. Jerusalem was captured by the Israelites under David in c 996 BC and extended to the north by Solomon, who built a temple and palace. Few early buildings survive with the exception of the rock-cut water tunnel constructed by Hezekiah in the late 8th century BC. The city fell to the Babylonians in 587 BC and was rebuilt after 538 BC. The present plan of the city, excluding the two ridges to the south, goes back to Herod the Great (37-34 BC) and the rebuilding under Hadrian. It became a Hellenistic city under Antiochus IV and was Romanized in the 1st century BC. The Jewish revolt of 70 AD inspired Titus to destroy the city. Under Constantine, it gained new important as a Christian center and was destroyed once more in 614 AD, by the Persians. Jerusalem is venerated by Jews, Christians, and Muslims. The Dome of the Rock (685-692 AD) is the most striking Islamic building in Jerusalem.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: Absolute dating technique that traces the transformation of one isotope into another -- potassium (K) into argon (Ar). Its range is 100,000 years to 1.3 billion years.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: al-Wahat al-Kharijah; al-Kharijah CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: The southernmost and largest of the major Egyptian western oases, which is located in the Libyan Desert about 175 km east of Luxor. There are traces of Middle Palaeolithic (Mousterian) occupation at Kharga and its material culture was closely connected with that of the Nile valley throughout the Pharaonic period. This oasis is of approximately the same age as the Epi-Levalloisian sites of the Sebilian and the Fayyum Depression.
Kroeber, Alfred Louis (1876-1960)
CATEGORY: person DEFINITION: American anthropologist who made great contributions to American Indian ethnology; to the archaeology of New Mexico, Mexico, and Peru; and to the study of linguistics, folklore, kinship, and social structure. He was one of the small group of scholars whose work laid the basis of New World archaeology as a scientific discipline. His first work was in preparing a typological seriation of potsherds from Zuñi sites of the American southwest, and his work, together with that of Kidder and Nelson in the same area, showed how archaeological methods could reveal time depth and cultural change in North America. From 1921, Kroeber applied the same techniques to Max Uhle's Peruvian collections. He worked out a scheme for Peruvian archaeology which formed the basis of all studies of the subject for the next 20 years. Kroeber explored much of the Peruvian coast, especially the Nasca Valley where he made the first-ever stratigraphic excavation of a Peruvian midden. Kroeber continued to write about the ethnology of North American Indians and also concentrated on theoretical aspects of anthropology, in particular the processes of culture change. His Configurations of Culture Growth" (1945) sought to trace the growth and decline of all of civilized man's thought and art. "The Nature of Culture" (1952) was a collection of Kroeber's essays published on such topics as cultural theorykinship social psychology and psychoanalysis."
CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: Very extensive horizon or a long enduring tradition and as a major intrusiveculture 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 ceramicseries, which begins with complex vessel shapes decorated by dentatestamping, incising, and appliqué techniques that everywhere form an easily recognizable designstyle, 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 Lapitatradition, as they provide a deep but variable set of time depths to the horizon concept. Thus terminal Lapita assemblages in the ceramicseries end in different regions at various intervals from 500 B.C. to A.D. 200 or 300.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Bronze Age site by Lake Sevan, Armenia, with pit graves under stone cairns. There are traces of wheeled wagons, carts, and chariots.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Roman Lindum CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: An important Roman colony in eastern England on the main Roman route north. The site is on the intersection of two principal Roman roads, the Fosse Way and Ermine Street, and shows earlier traces of Iron Age occupation. Roman use was possibly from as early as c 43 AD, and by c 60 a turf and timber fortress was built for the 9th Legion. By about the end of the 1st century, a colonia was established with stone walls and tower defenses. Industrialized pottery production is probable and remains survive, mostly from the 3rd and 4th centuries, of walls, baths, mosaic floors, and a stone sewage system. Evidence for an aqueduct seems to show an uphill gradient, which may imply the use of pumps. Three Roman gateways still exist, including Newport Arch.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Holy Island CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Island off the coast of Northumberland, northeast England, where in 634, St. Aidan and other monks from Iona founded a monastery. It became a center for producing illuminated manuscripts (Lindisfarne Gospel, c 700) and works of art of the Northumbrian school. In 793, it was subjected to the first Viking (Danes) raid on England and the monastery only functioned intermittently afterwards. There are no traces of the earliest buildings; the church, cloister, ranges and walls visible today all date to the Norman Benedictine abbey. Lindisfarne's past is reflected in the manuscripts that have survived, St. Cuthbert's coffin, and some carved sculpture. It was connected to the coast of Northumberland only at low tide.
CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: Descent in a line from a common progenitor; a group of individuals tracing descent from a common ancestor. A kinship that traces descent through either the male (patrilineal) or female (matrilineal) members.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Lo-yang; Luoyang; formerly Honan-Fu; Honan CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Ancient city in northwestern Honan province, China, near the south bank of the Yellow River. It was important in history as the capital of nine ruling dynasties and as a Buddhist center. Lo-yang is divided into an east town and a west town. Lo-i (modern Lo-yang) was founded at the beginning of the Choudynasty (late 12th century BC), near the present west town, as the residence of the imperial kings. It became the Choucapital in 771 BC, following the loss of Tsung Chou in Shensi, and was later moved to a site northeast of the present east town; it was named Lo-yang because it was north (yang) of the Lo River, and its ruins are now distinguished as the ancient city of Lo-yang. Traces of its rammed earth walls and one of its cemeteries of pit graves have been found. Bronzes and pottery recovered from some 270 tombs excavated at Luoyang Zhongzhoulu supply a valuable artifactsequence, spanning the entire Eastern Chouperiod. Particularly rich finds from Jincun, just northeast of the modern city, belong to the latter part of Eastern Chou; lesser tombs from the end of Eastern Chou and the Han period have been excavated at Shaogou. During the Qin and Western Han dynasties the capital returned to Shaanxi, but Luoyang was again the capital during the Eastern Han dynasty and, for the last time, from 494-535 AD, when the Northern Wei emperors ruled there. It finally fell to the Ch'in in 256.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A rock shelter in eastern Zambia, near Mozambique, with occupation during the last four millennia BC by a stoneindustry of backed microliths. Traces of mastic provided evidence of the way these implements had been hafted.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithicsite in south-central Siberia. There are traces of a dwelling and a burial of a young person of possibly mongoloid affinities, as well as several art objects. The Upper Palaeolithiclevel is dated to the beginning of the last glacial maximum, c 24,000-23,000 bp. The artifacts include prismatic cores, retouched blades, and end scrapers.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Palestinian site with a great rock fortress-palacecomplex built by Herod the Great (37-4 BC). It lies west of the Dead Sea, where the last survivors of the First Jewish Rebellion (Zealots) of 70 AD defied the Roman army (66-73 AD), and whose siege works can still be traced. Although first fortified by the Hasmonean king Alexander Jannaeus (ruled 103-76 BC), Herod was the chief builder of Masada. His constructions (37-31 BC) included two ornate palaces (one of them on three levels), heavy walls, and aqueducts, which brought water to cisterns holding nearly 200,000 gallons. After Herod's death (4 BC), Masada was captured by the Romans, but the Jewish Zealots took it by surprise in AD 66. A synagogue and ritual bath discovered there are the earliest yet found in Palestine.
CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: Any running design consisting of a single line or band twisting regularly. The spiral meander is a simple running spiral, the square meander a rectilinear form of the same thing. The earliest known examples of finger painting are the prehistoric decorative and figurative meanders" traced on walls of the Altamira caves in Spain."
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: individualistic method CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: The theoretical principle that all group economic or political activity can be traced back to, and explained by, the behavior of individuals. An approach to the study of societies which assumes that thoughts and decisions do have agency, and that actions and shared institutions can be interpreted as the products of the decisions and actions of individuals.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: microburin technique CATEGORY: lithics DEFINITION: A microlith produced by notching and snapping a blade; a small piece of stone snapped off of a microlith that is a byproduct of the manufacture of microliths. A blade is notched and then snapped off where the chipping has narrowed and weakened it. One piece becomes a microlithic tool, while the residue (the microburin) still shows traces of the original notch and fracture. Certain trapeze-shaped microliths were made from the central part of a double-notched blade, in which case both ends have the appearance of microburins. This procedure allowed the maker to obtain a strong head with a sharp point by breaking up flint blades after making a notch in them -- a practice widespread in Mesolithic as means of manufacturing arrowheads. The name originates from the erroneous belief that these pieces were the same as burins.
CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: A linguistic and cultural group of the Oaxaca state of southern Mexico, especially the Mixteca Alta region. The Mixtecs and Zapotecs struggled for power in Oaxaca and Early Mixtec dynasties date to the 7th century AD. The people were mainly skilled craftsmen -- known for their metalwork, painting, stonecarving, and turquoisemosaic -- living in this mountainous country. Several books/codices have survived, and trace the history and politics of the Mixtec dynasties before the Spanish Conquest. During the Post-Classic period, they ventured into Zapotec territory and occupied much of the Valley of Oaxaca (Monte Albán, Mitla). The influence of Mixtec art is apparent as far north as Cholula, in the state of Puebla, where a regional Mixteca-Puebla stylecame into being, and was in turn one of the formative influences on Aztec art. Many of the finest objects from Aztec territory were probably the work of Mixtec artisans. The polychrome pottery had a lacquerlike polish and brilliant colors. Parts of the Mixteca were conquered by the Aztecs in the early 16th century, but in the south some Mixtecs remained independent until the arrival of the Spaniards. Their capital was at Tilantongo.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Mohenjo-Daro CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: One of the two capitals of the Indus civilization, the best known of the Mature Harappan cities, located in the Sind region on the right bank of the Indus in Pakistan. Radiocarbon dates and corroboration with Mesopotamian data date the capital to about 3000-1700 BC. The city, covering approximately 2.5 square km, was laid out on a grid plan, the oldest recorded. The larger blocks, separated by broad streets with elaborate drains, were subdivided. It was the largest of all the Indus Valley sites, and like other Indus Valley settlements, Mohenjo-Daro consists of two parts: a lower town in the east, overlooked by a high artificial mound or citadel on the west side. Traces of mud and baked brick defenses have been found. Within these an assembly hall, 'college', great bath, and granary were excavated. Numerous craft installations were in the lower town, for pottery, beadmaking, shell working, dyeing, and metalworking. Artifacts provide the basic definition of the Mature Harappan material culture for pottery styles, seals, weights, bead forms, metal forms, figurines, etc. There are many flood deposits, which many times overwhelmed the city. Mohenjo-daro was abandoned c 1700/1600 BC, apparently after a massacre, as in the latest layers groups of skeletons were found lying in houses and in the streets. The other capital, Harappa, was 400 miles away.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: An Early Stone Age rock shelter located in the Cape Province of South Africa, about 150 km east of Cape Town. This site is one of the very few African caves to have preserved traces of Acheulianmaterial. Later horizons include one containing an industry which has been variously attributed to the Hoiesonspoort and to a Pietersburgvariant.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: An isolated promontory on the southwestern coast of Italy, south of Rome, with several caves containing prehistoric remains. The numerous coastal grottoes have yielded many traces of Stone Age settlement. Fossellone Cave has several early Upper Palaeolithic levels and Grotta Guattari had a Neanderthal skull and three lower jaws in Mousterian deposits.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Palaeolithic cave site in Haute-Garonne, French Pyrenees, which has a deep central cave with traces of probable (middle) Magdalenian engravings on the walls. There is also a series of clay statues and bas-reliefs. It is famous for a modeled claybody of a life-sized bear or bear cub, probably originally covered with a bear pelt and apparently speared in ritual ceremonies.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Neapolis CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Naples was founded about 600 BC as Neapolis (New City") by Greek settlers close to the more ancient Palaepolis. Both towns were extensions of Greek colonies on the nearby island of Pithecusa (now Ischia) and at Cumae on the adjacent mainland. The principal Greek city of Campania southern Italy it was only of modest size and importance during the Roman period. Earlier occupation of this fertile location framed on one edge by Mount Vesuvius and by the sulphurous plains of the 'Phlegraean Fields' on the other is extremely likely. It was taken over by the Romans in 326 BC. Among the traces that still survive of the Greco-Roman city stretches of Greek city walling have been identified in several areas and a portion of 6th-7th century BC necropolis located in the Pizzofalcone region. A 700-meter tunnel on the Via Puteolana joiningNaples and Puteoli was originally constructed by Augustus' architect Cocceius. Under the empire Naples and its environs served as a center of Greek culture and erudition and as a pleasure resort for a succession of emperors and wealthy Romans whose coastal villas extended from Misenum on the Gulf of Pozzuoli (the ancient Puteoli) to the Sorrentine peninsula. The Museo Archeologico Nazionale contains an extensive collection of Campanian antiquities and much material from Pompeii and Herculaneum."
Natal Early Iron Age
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A South African province of Natal which has traces of the furthest southeastern extension of the Early Iron Age complex of sub-Saharan Africa, which has been linked with the dispersal of peoples speaking Bantu languages. Evidence for Early Iron Age settlement is found in the fertile areas of the lower river valleys and dates from about the 4th century AD. Closely related sites are known from the Transvaal, as at Broederstroom and Lydenburg.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: The earliest Greek colony in Sicily, founded by Chalcidians under Theocles (Thucles) about 734 BC. It lay on the east coast, south of Tauromenium, on what is now Cape Schisò. The adoption of the name of Naxos, after the island in the Aegean Sea, indicates there were Naxians among its founders. It soon founded other colonies at Leontini and Catana. After 461 BC, Naxos was in opposition to Syracuse, allied with Leontini (427) and Athens (415). In 403 BC, it was destroyed by Dionysius I, tyrant of Syracuse, and its territory given to the Sicels. Its Greek exiles at last found refuge in 358 at Tauromenium. Scanty traces of its walls are to be seen; there is evidence in the area for Neolithic huts, Bronze Age settlement, and a sanctuary area assigned to Aphrodite. Pottery is often distinctive in style, with Euboean and Cycladic reminiscences, and a potters' quarter (vicinity of Colle Salluzzo) with kilns, depositories, and antefix molds. Naxos coins (6th-5th centuries BC) carry a bearded Dioynysus with ivy, vine, and grape decoration, while later examples have his companion in revelry, Sinenus, who also on the local terra-cotta antefixes.
neutron activation analysis
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: NAA CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A physical method of chemical analysis used to determine the composition of various substances such as flint, obsidian, pottery, coins, etc. found in archaeological contexts. It can be totally nondestructive to the sample and involves the excitation of the atomic nuclei rather than the atomic electrons. The specimen is bombarded with neutrons which interact with nuclei in the sample to form radioactive isotopes that emit gamma rays as they decay. The energy spectrum of the emitted rays is detected by a scintillation or semiconductor counter. Constituent elements and concentrations are identified by the characteristic energy spectrum of emitted rays and their intensity. The time between the neutron activation of the sample and the measurement of the gamma rays depends on the half-lives of the radioactive isotopes, which may range from seconds to thousands of years: often a few weeks may be necessary before measurement takes place. Neutron activation analysis has an advantage over X-ray fluorescence spectrometry since it analyzes the whole specimen as opposed to the surface only. Care must be taken that the neutron dose is not so great as to make the specimen radioactively unsafe for handling. The method is particularly useful for the identification of trace elements; however, it is not universally applicable since some elements have too short a half-life for measurement, and others do not form radioactive isotopes. The method is accurate to about plus or minus 5 percent. Neutron activation analysis of certain Hopewell artifacts made of obsidian has proven that the source of the obsidian was in what is now Yellowstone National Park.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: New Grange CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: The most famous and splendidly decorated of the Irish passage graves, part of the Boyne Valley cemetery, in Meath County. The kidney-shaped mound, dated to c 3100 BC, is over 100 meters in diameter and 13 meters high. The cairn itself was carefully made of alternate layers of stones and turf. A kerb of large stones carved with wavy lines, lozenges, triangles, etc. encloses the base of the mound. On either side of the entrance the green kerbstones were topped by a retaining wall of white quartz. Some distance from the original base of the mound is a surrounding circle of free-standing stones. The burial chamber, cruciform in plan, is roofed by corbelling and has three subsidiary cells; the tomb has a very long passage, 19 meters in length, and built of orthostats. Midwinter sunrise shines through an opening above the door to illuminate the central chamber, the clearest example of an astronomical orientation recorded from a European prehistoric monument. Many stones of both chamber and passage carry pecked designs including an unusual triple spiral. Excavation has shown that the upper surfaces of the capstones had drainage channels, as well as art which would have been invisible once the overlying cairn had been built. Traces of cremation burials were found in the cells of the chamber, and soil from a habitation site, possibly close to the tomb, had been used to pack the interstices of the passage roof. There are two radiocarbon dates around 3200 BC and the site was reoccupied after the tomb-builders had left it and the cairn had begun to slump by a group which used Late Neolithic and Beaker pottery.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: One of the greatest Palaeolithic painted caves, in Ariège in the Pyrenees, southwest France. No trace of occupation has been found in the huge cave. The paintings are in black; bison and horse are the animals most frequently depicted. The 'Salon Noir' has six panels of black bison, horse, ibex, and deer figures, which were probably sketched in charcoal and then painted with different pigments. A new gallery discovered in 1970 has hundreds of Palaeolithic footprints. Much of Niaux's art is late Magdalenian (11th millennium BC).
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: ancient Kalhu, biblical Calah CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Assyriancapital of Kalhu (Calah), founded in 883 BC by Ashurnasirpal II (883-859 BC) over the ruins of an earlier city built by Shalmaneser I (1274-1245 BC) in 13th century BC. It is located by Tigris River, south of modern Mosul (Iraq) in Mesopotamia. It was the third capital city, with Assur and Nineveh, of Assyria. The statues and inscriptions found by Sir Austen Henry Layard was one of the first archaeological discoveries to stir the public imagination. Its wall was some 8 km in circuit, enclosing at one corner a citadel which contained a ziggurat, temples, and palaces. The palaces have yielded the richest finds, enormous stone winged bulls, reliefs, and exquisite carved ivories which once adorned the royal furniture. Another rich collection of ivories was found in the arsenal of Shalmaneser III in the outer town. Some of the ivories show traces of the fire which accompanied the overthrow of the city by the Medes in 612 BC. Unlike many of the cities of Mesopotamia, Nimrud was not a long-lived site occupied from the prehistoricperiod. Its heyday continued until c 710 BC when the capital was transferred first to Khorsabad and subsequently to Nineveh. Many of the sculptures were brought back to England by Layard and are now in the British Museum.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Neutra, Nyitra CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A fortified site where excavations have revealed traces of the 9th-century stronghold and a large cemetery of the Linear Pottery culture of southern Slovakia. Within Nitra's walls there were workshops producing relics and metalwork that were distributed to other Slavic sites. The cemetery's artifacts and remains have provided data on mortality, age, and sex during the Early Neolithic. Grave goods included spondylus shell ornaments and shoe-last axes.
Northern Archaic Tradition
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Northern Archaic tool tradition CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: Culture of the North American arctic and subarctic dating to c 6000-4000 bp. The characteristic artifact is the side-notched point. Assemblages also contain oval bifaces, endscrapers, and notched pebbles. The tradition was defined at Onion Portage in the Denbigh Flint Complex and postdates the American Paleo-Arctic Tradition. The peoples are thought to have come there from the south; they hunted terrestrial mammals such as caribou and developed their own styles of artifacts. They showed a preference for expanding northern forests, and, although they left traces outside the forest limits in a few places, they generally avoided the now-deglaciated coasts of Canada's far north.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: hyalopsite, Iceland agate, mountain mahogany CATEGORY: geology DEFINITION: A jet-black to gray, naturally occurring volcanic glass, formed by rapid cooling of viscous lava. It was often used as raw material for the manufacture of stone tools and was very popular as a superior form of flint for flaking or as it is easily chipped to form extremely sharp edges. Obsidian breaks with a conchoidal fracture and is easily chipped into precise and delicate forms. It was very widely traded from the anciently exploited sources in Hungary, Sardinia, Lipari of Sicily, Melos in the Aegean, central and eastern Anatolia, Mexico, etc. Chemical analysis of their trace elements now allows most of the sources to be distinguished (especially by neutron activation and x-ray fluorescence spectrometry), so that the pattern of trade spreading out from each can be traced. Two dating methods have been applied to obsidian: obsidian hydration dating and fission track dating. In Europe, obsidian was exploited extensively from c 6000-3000 BC; after 3000 BC it generally went out of favor for everyday purposes (perhaps as a result of competition from metal tools) but it continued to be used for prestige objects in some areas, especially by the Minoans and Mycenaeans. Obsidian has been quarried and traded by western Melanesians since at least 19,000 bp, with the earliest-used and most important source being that at Talasea on New Britain. Obsidian was also an important trade item in Mesoamerica.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Principal sanctuary of Zeus in Greece and the site of the original Olympic Games, a Panhellenic sanctuary in the western Peloponnese of Greece. It originated in the Greek Bronze Age and has a 7th century BC Temple of Hera and 5th century BC Temple of Zeus. Traces of the circular building of Philip of Macedon and buildings associated with athletes and games -- gymnasium, palaestra, bouleuterion, Leonidaeon, and running track have been found. The workshop of the sculptor Pheidias, who made bronze of Athene at Athens and Zeus at Olympia, has been located. Perhaps first attracting use as an earthshrine and oracle, the site shows signs of continuous occupation from early in the 3rd millennium BC. The Games were celebrated on a four-yearly cycle, the Olympiad, which came to form the basis of a Greek system of dating. The first Olympiad is dated to 776 BC, but tradition places the commencement of the Games in the 9th century, with ascriptions variously to Heracles or Pelops as founder. The Games showed an unbroken record of celebration from 776 BC to 393 AD, when Theodosius I abolished them.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: area excavation; open-area excavation, extensive excavation CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: The opening up of large horizontal areas for excavation, used especially where single period deposits lie close to the surface. It is the excavation of as large an area as possible without the intervention of balks and a gridsystem. This technique allows the recognition of much slighter traces of ancient structures than other methods. On multi-period sites, however, it calls for much more meticulous recording since the stratigraphy is revealed one layer at a time. In this method of excavation, the full horizontal extent of a site is cleared and large areas are open while preserving a stratigraphic record in the balks between large squares. A gradual vertical probe may then take place. This method is often used to uncover houses and prehistoricsettlement patterns.
optical emission spectrometry
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: OES CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A physical technique used to analyze the trace elements in artifacts, especially stone, metal, glasses, and ceramics. It involves the excitation, by means of an electric discharge or a laser beam, of the atoms in the sample, and the analysis of the constituent wavelengths of the light released when the atoms relax. The wavelengths, separated by the use of a prism or diffraction grating, are each characteristic of individual elements, and the intensity of the light of particular wavelengths indicates the concentration of each element. Optical emission spectrometry has been used with great success to establish the sources of obsidian artifacts in the Near East and Mediterranean. Generally, this method gives an accuracy of only 25 percent and has been superseded by ICPS (inductively coupled plasma emission spectrometry). Between 5-100 mg of material are needed.
organic residue analysis
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: Use of chemicals to extract and identify traces of plant and animal materials from pottery.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: modern Ostia Antica CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Major Roman port and colony at the mouth of the Tiber River, founded in the 4th century BC. Towards end of 4th century BC, a rectangular fort was constructed, securing Rome's interest in trade routes through Ostia; the town was for a long time effectively the port of ancient Rome. It grew until 78 BC when it was destroyed in the Roman civil wars. It was later rebuilt by Sulla with a forum and capitolium. Claudius (41-54 AD) and Trajan (98-117 AD) had two harbors built at Portus, immediately north of Ostia. The 2nd century AD proved to be a period of unprecedented prosperity, which has left the most plentiful traces in today's ruins. The new harbors were largely administered through Ostia, and presumably much of the workforce chose to live at Ostia. Large brick apartment blocks were built in 1st-2nd centuries AD. They were of three, four, and five stories; the floors in these buildings were paved with mosaic and the walls elaborately painted. The second century also saw the construction of an aqueduct, imperial suites of public baths, and synagogue. The need for depositories and warehouses (horrea) became very important. The increase in trade brought prosperity to many areas of the city. In a double colonnade behind the theater, a large number of small offices housed agencies for all the major shipping destinations and types of trade. In the city, over 800 shops are known. Third century AD political instability at Rome combined with an economic recession brought a general decline in shipping. Constantine preferred Portus to Ostia, so it became a seaside-resort with expensive houses. Even with that use, the area declined from barbarian raids in the 5th century. It was abandoned after the erection of Gregoriopolis, site of Ostia Antica, by Pope Gregory IV (827-844). The Roman ruins were quarried for building materials in the Middle Ages and for sculptors' marble in the Renaissance. Archaeological excavation was begun in the 19th century under papal authority, and about two-thirds of the Roman town can now be seen.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Palatine Hill CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Principal of the seven hills of ancient Rome, and the favored location in the later Republic and the Empire for magnificent private houses and sumptuous residences of the emperors. It is a four-sided plateau rising 131 feet (40 m) south of the Forum in Rome and 168 feet (51 m) above sea level. It has a circumference of 5,700 feet (1,740 m). The city of Rome was founded on the Palatine, where archaeological discoveries range from prehistoric remains to the ruins of imperial palaces. The modern use of 'palace' is commonly traced back to this period. Tradition said the Palatine Hill was the site of the earliest Roman occupation, associated with mythical Romulus and Remus. Augustus was born on the hill and started a fashion for imperial residence by buying and enlarging the house of Hortensius. This trend was followed with zest by later emperors, and Domitian took over most of the hill for his amazingly extensive Domus Augustiana. Later structures included a special emperor's box overlooking the Circus Maximus, and the Septizonium, a monumental facade built solely to screen the southeast corner of the palace.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: palaeodemography CATEGORY: related field DEFINITION: The study of ancient human population and population changes and the study of mortality patterns in antiquity. It aims to reconstruct the demography of ancient populations on the basis of archaeological evidence using bone remains and the traces left by occupation. It is a branch of paleontology.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Non-Austronesian languages, NAN languages CATEGORY: language DEFINITION: A group of over 700 languages of New Guinea and adjacent parts of eastern Indonesia and Melanesia. Today these languages are spoken by about 2.9 million people, and the family is perhaps the most diverse in the world. The Papuan languages presumably descend from the languages of the first settlers of Melanesia c 30-40,000 years ago, and some linguists claim to be able to tracepopulation expansion and migrations within the New Guinea region from about 15,000 years ago.
CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: A form of earthenware, developed by Wedgwood (1775-79) as a whiter version of its creamwarebody. A greater quantity of white clay was used in the body and the transparent lead glaze included traces of cobalt, giving the surface a pearly white appearance. It was soon adopted by other potteries, such as Spode, Leeds, and Swansea.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: The main port of Athens, fortified in 5th century BC and linked to Athens by Long Walls for a 10 mile corridor to the sea. At Piraeus, three harbors were used -- Peraiki, Munychia, and the Great Harbor of Kantharos (Cantharus). Athenian statesman Themistocles persuaded his colleagues about 493 BC to fortify and usePiraeus for the new Athenian fleet. Soon after 460 the Long Walls from the base of Munychia to Athens were built, thereby ensuring communications between Athens and its port in the event of a siege. Under Pericles' program of public works in the middle of the 5th-century BC, the town was laid out by Hippodamian planning. Sections of the walling, traces of trireme (warship) sheds, and a small Hellenistic theater may be seen. The Spartans captured Piraeus at the close of the Peloponnesian War and demolished the Long Walls and the port's fortifications in 404 BC. They were rebuilt under the Athenian leader Conon in 393 BC. In 86 BC the Roman commander Lucius Cornelius Sulla destroyed the city and it was virtually deserted until its revival in 1834.
Pitt-Rivers, General Augustus Lane-Fox (1827-1900)
CATEGORY: person DEFINITION: British scholar and pioneer in archaeologicalexcavation and recording, working on prehistoric and Romano-British sites in England. His large-scale excavations unearthed villages, camps, cemeteries, and barrows at sites such as Woodcutts, Rotherley, South Lodge, Bokerly Dyke, and Wansdyke. From his study of firearms, he realized that something analogous to evolution can be traced in artifacts as well as in living organisms, with the same gradual developments and occasional degenerations. He assembled an ethnographical collection arranged by use rather than by provenance, a practical example of typology. He helped to advance excavation to a scientific technique with precise work, total excavation of sites, meticulous recording of detail, and full and rapid publication. His work on his own estate, Cranborne Chase, was published in five volumes entitled Excavations in Cranborne Chase" (1887-1903). He stressed stratigraphy and precise recording of all finds and is often called the "father of British archaeology". "
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 potincoinseries back to the bronzecoinage of Massalia some time in the 2nd century BC, the prototypes for the British series probably coming via Gaul. Also called Kentish castbronze coins.
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 potclay the 'fabric' of a piece of pottery. Texture, mineralogy, and color of fabric may be used to describe and classify pottery.
CATEGORY: language DEFINITION: A single, original language, hypothesized to have been spoken by the first modern humans in Africa, from which all modern languages may have evolved. It has been suggested that linguistic traces of this language have survived into the present.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Oryza sativa CATEGORY: flora DEFINITION: Edible starchy cereal grain and the plant by which it is produced. The origin of rice culture has been traced to India. Rice culture gradually spread westward and was introduced to southern Europe in medieval times. Roughly one-half of the world population, including virtually all of East and Southeast Asia, is wholly dependent upon rice as a staple food. The earliest datable record is from Chirard in the Ganges Valley, before 4500 BC. By the third millennium it was widely grown in south China and it was likely domesticated at Hemudu by the eartly 5th millennium BC. Its original center of cultivation could lie anywhere between the two. The earliest cultivated rice may have been grown in natural swamps or middens, but by at least 2000 years ago many parts of southeast Asia were developing terraced or wet-fieldcultivation.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: rongorongo CATEGORY: language DEFINITION: The ancient script of Easter Island, carved in boustrophedon fashion on wooden boards. The script has about 120 pictographic symbols and has not been deciphered or traced to any specific outside source. It survives on 29 pieces of wood. It may be indigenous to the island and could even be of post-European inspiration (it was not recorded until the mid-19th century AD). It does not appear to be a true phoneticwritingsystem.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A late Iron Age sanctuary in Bouches-du-Rhône, France, where there was a Celto-Ligurian oppidum and famous stone sculptures. These included large human figures seated in a cross-legged position, and a portal with niches for the display of severed human heads as it was the site of a skull or severed-head cult. Many carvings bear traces of their original paint. The sanctuary was probably of the late 3rd or 2nd century BC and was destroyed by the Romans in 123 BC during their conquest of Provence.
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: Site of Kuyavian long barrows in north-central Poland, dated c 3100-2900 BC. Traces of ard-marks have been preserved under one of the nine trapezoidal-plan barrows. They belong to the Funnel Beaker culture.
CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: A small steel metalworking tool with a broad sharp edge used for removing the background from designs on metalwork to allow the pattern to stand out. The tool may also be moved forward or backward through the metal on alternate corners -- thus producing a zigzag or tremolo line. It is likely that scorpers had to be of iron or steel to work on bronze, and therefore they may belong to later stages in the development of metalworking than tracers. In ancient minting, engraving of the details was carried out by the use of scorpers. In woodengraving, scorpers were used for cutting away large spaces after outlining and engraving, so as to leave only the drawing in relief.
CATEGORY: geology; artifact DEFINITION: A sharp-pointed metalworking tool used for outlining designs on metalwork prior to chasing, engraving, or repoussé work. Occasionally traces of this preliminary work can be seen where subsequent tooling has not completely obliterated it.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A small spur projecting into the valley of the Kyi Chu River near Lhasa, Tibet. Three phases have been distinguished. Horizon A had flexed burials in rock-cut pits, accompanied by crude, handmade pottery but no metalwork. Horizon B contained two flexed burials in rock-cut pits with much finer handmade pottery and a few iron artifacts. There was also one larger tomb closed with two carefully dressed stone slabs and containing two skulls, a pile of long bones and vertebrae, three pottery vessels, and a wooden bowl with metal lining. Horizon C consisted of two tumuli built of pebbles, with flexed burials, fine wheel-turned pottery with traces of red decoration, and a few iron artifacts. About 50 meters from this ridge is a boulder with pecked carvings of animals and letters.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: Traces in the archaeological record that can be linked to particular patterns of activity.
CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: Thread that can be drawn off the cocoon spun by the grub of the moth Bombyx mori and used for weaving fine cloth, which originated in China in Neolithicperiod. The silk industry was established by the Anyangperiod, c 1300-1030 BC. The Anyang oracle bones include characters for silk, silk fabrics, silkworm, and mulberry tree, and traces of silk fabrics are occasionally found preserved. Silk fabric was used as a writing surface at least as early as the 5th century BC. Both manuscripts and paintings on silk have come from Chu tombs of the 5th century BC and later. Elaborate methods of weaving were developed by the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD) and textiles exported in large numbers along Silk Route to Roman world and later to Byzantium. The route is the collective name for several overland and ocean routes for silk trade from the 1st-8th centuries AD. From Chang'an, capital of the Han Dynasty, the main route went west through the Gansu corridor.
CATEGORY: feature DEFINITION: Any visible irregularity in the appearance of the soil surface, indicating traces of buried sites or features on the surface of plowed or otherwise disturbed ground. As revealed through aerial photography, a darker area may indicate human wastes, or a lighter area a former road or trail.
CATEGORY: related field DEFINITION: A branch of stratigraphy in which soils are identified as stratigraphic units with specific chronological ordering. A pedostratigraphic unit is a three-dimensional, laterally traceable, buried sediment or rock with one or more soil horizons. It is not the same as the sequencing of soil horizons in a soil profile.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: pl. specchie CATEGORY: structure DEFINITION: A type of Iron Age burial monument found in Apulia, southern Italy. It consists of a stonecairn with a single crouched skeleton in a slab-built cist with traces of an entrance passage, but the name is also given to larger cairns. These large specchie contain neither burials nor offerings, but traces of circular walls have been found within their cairns, and some have external staircases.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: Method for quantitative analysis of small samples of various compounds which has high accuracy. It involves passing the light refracted from a sample through a prism or diffraction grating that spreads out the wavelengths of trace elements into a spectrum. This enables the identification of different trace elements and depends on the fact that light emitted by any element on volatilization shows a characteristic pattern when split by a prism into its spectrum. The elements present can be measured by the intensity of the lines in comparison with control spectra of known composition produced under the same conditions. A small sample can be used, less than 10 milligrams, making the method particularly suitable for archaeologicalmaterial. The method has been used especially for metal analysis, giving useful information on technology and sources of the raw materials, and also for glass, faience, pottery, and obsidian.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: The analysis of the constituent (and trace) elements of metals, stone, or other materials by the measurement of the wavelengths of light or radiation emitted from them.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Small aceramicNeolithicsettlement in the Konya plain of southern Turkey, dated to the later 7th millennium BC. Two occupation levels were recognized, the earlier with traces of hut floors, the latter with building of mudbrick and plastered floors. Thousands of animal bones have been found -- sheep, goat, cattle, pig and some harvesting of wild cereals may have occurred.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: clay tablet CATEGORY: artifact; language DEFINITION: Any flat surface for inscriptions, especially those on which cuneiform inscriptions were written. Tablets were normally of clay but were also made of stone or metal. The shape and size varied according to the nature of the inscription and the period when the tablet was inscribed. An impressed tablet is one bearing notations impressed with tokens or the blunt end of a stylus. These tablets were referred to in literature as numerical tablets" as they noted units of goods. An incised tablet bears notations traced with the sharp end of a stylus. A pictographic tablet is one bearing notations traced with the sharp end of a stylus; these two types of tablets had signs in the shape of the things they represented. The earliest known books are the clay tablets of Mesopotamia (and the papyrus rolls of Egypt)dating from the early 3rd millennium BC."
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Well-preserved Inca walled town in the Pisco Valley, southern Peru, probably an administrative center or military barracks. It is on an important road connecting the coast with Vilcas Guaman. Constructed in terraces of adobe on stone foundations, traces of red and yellow paint are still visible on the walls. On the southern side is a ceremonial center and associated buildings. It was abandoned shortly after the Spanish conquest.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Roman Tarquinii; Etruscan Tarkhuna CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Great Etruscan city in Tuscany, Italy, famous for tombs with a series of grave painting from the 6th-1st centuries BC and the remains of a wall and base of the great central temple of the 4th-3rd century BC. Traditionally the earliest of the cities of Etruria, there was an earlier Villanovansettlement (10th-7th century BC). It is also important for its contribution to early Rome of that city's early kings, the Tarquins, as well as a cultural and technological heritage. It did not come under Roman control until 353 BC. The Villanovan burials are especially rich in bronze artifacts, particularly horse and chariot items, shields, and helmets. The Etruscan painted tombs are usually approached by steeply descending dromoi and they show scenes of funeral banqueting and games, and later the demons of the underworld. Sarcophagi mostly have reliefdecoration. The city shows traces of a grid plan, tufa city walls, and the remains of the 4th-3rd century BC temple (Ara della Regina).
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Site where a group of Chichimec, under the leadership of Xólotl, succeeded in gaining power in the Valley of Mexico, establishing their center there in 1224, now the northern suburbs of Mexico City. Its large pyramid is best surviving example of pyramids of Chichimec and Aztectype and it is thought to resemble the Great Temple at Tenochitlán. It was covered at 52-year intervals by at least six successive pyramid and temple buildings. It consists of two parallel stairways leading to two temples on the top of the one structure, with traces of Talud-Tablero style architecture, indicating Teotihuacan occupation in Classic Period. An altar decorated with a skull and crossbones motif is similar to one at Tula.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Town in Norfolk, England, which was a Burhs created by King Alfred in the 9th century. There are well-preserved Saxon defenses, traces of narrow cobbled streets bordered by large and smaller buildings, substantial rectangular timber buildings, industrial workshops. Metalworking was carried out and Late Saxonwheel-made pottery (Thetford ware) was mass-produced.
CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: Mid-Holocenestoneflake and bladeindustry of a number of caves in southern Sulawesi, Indonesia, c 6000 BC and later. The industry developed out of preceding flake industries and is characterized by small backed flakes and microliths, and well-made Maros points. The Toalian industry may have continued into the 1st millennium AD and overlapped with pottery from the late 3rd millennium BC. The earliest traces of human habitation on Celebes are stone implements of the Toalian culture.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Torralba and Ambrona CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Lower Palaeolithic lakeside site in the Spanish province of Soria. Torralba and the nearby site of Ambrona have Acheulian tools (cleavers, flake tools, handaxes) and the remains of dismembered elephants and horses. The sites are of the Middle Pleistocene, c 300,000-700,000 BP. Traces of fire are amongst the earliest known, possibly c 0.4 million years ago.
CATEGORY: term; artifact DEFINITION: In law, treasure found hidden in the ground etc. but of unknown ownership. In Britain, treasure troves are the property of the State, though sometimes they are in part returned or recompensed to the owner of the land. To be declared treasure trove by a coroner's inquest, the items must be of gold or silver, must have been lost or hidden with the intention of recovery, and by someone who is no longer traceable. In these circumstances, the Crown takes possession, rewarding the finder with the marketvalue or with the object itself if it is not required for the national collections.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: fettling CATEGORY: ceramics DEFINITION: Cutting material away from the surface of a leather-hard pottery vessel with a tool, such as a lithicflake held at an acute angle to the vessel surface, to removed traces of the seam.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Site near Las Vegas, Nevada, with traces of human occupation c 11,000 BP -- in the form of hearths and artifacts.
CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: A structure on which woven cloth is manufactured comprising two more or less vertical supports (often set in the ground) with a horizontal beam across the top. The warp threads are tied to the cross-beam so that they hang down, thus allowing the weaver to move a horizontal shed rod between alternating sets of the warp in order that a shed is opened up for the weft to be threaded through. The warp threads were tensioned by loomweights. The upright loom was commonly used in antiquity, traces of them being known in Europe from the middle Bronze Age onwards.
CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: A creature with human infant and jaguar features which was important in Olmec art. It has a babylike expression, fangs, snarling mouth, and other feline facial features. The number and unity of the objects in this style first suggested to scholars that they were dealing with a new and previously unknown civilization. There is a whole spectrum of such were-jaguar forms in Olmec art, ranging from the almost purely feline to the human in which only a trace of jaguar can be seen. These Olmec monuments were generally carved in the round, technically very advanced even though the only methods available were pounding and pecking with stone tools. Considerable artistry can also be seen in the pottery figurines of San Lorenzo, which depict nude and sexless individuals with were-jaguar traits. The Olmec also worshipped a rain deity depicted as a were-jaguar.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: x-ray art, x-ray style, X-ray style CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: A style of prehistoric rock art depicting animals by drawing or painting the skeletal frame and internal organs. The origin of the style can be traced to the Mesolithic art of northern Europe, where the earliest examples were found on fragments of bone in southern France dating from the late Magdalenian. Animals painted in the X-ray motif have also been discovered in the art of hunting cultures in northern Spain, Siberia, the Arctic Circle, North America, western New Guinea, New Ireland, India, and Malaysia. It is found today primarily in the Aboriginal rock, cave, and bark paintings of eastern Arnhem Land, in northern Australia. Figures painted in X-ray style vary in size up to 8 feet (2.5 m) in length and are delicate, polychromed renderings of the interior cavity of the animal.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: X-ray fluorescence spectrometry, X-ray fluorimetry; XRF; X-ray fluorescence analysis CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A nondestructive physical method used for chemical analyses of solids and liquids. The specimen is irradiated by an intense X-ray beam and the lines in the spectrum of the resulting X-ray fluorescence are diffracted at various angles by a crystal with known lattice spacing; the elements in the specimen are identified by the wavelengths of their spectral lines, and their concentrations are determined by the intensities of these lines. Constituent elements are identified based on the unique wavelengths of fluorescent X-rays they emit and concentrations are estimated on the intensity of the released X-rays. It can be used on pottery, obsidian, glass, and some metal and under most circumstances is totally non-destructive. In general terms the method is more suitable for the analysis of the major elements in a specimen, though trace elements can be determined in some cases. Since automation of recording and sample changing is possible, large numbers of samples can be analyzed at speed, which gives this method a definite advantage over atomic absorption spectrometry and optical emission spectrometry.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A graveyard of ancient ships off the Turkish coast near Bodrum, the most important being a Byzantine wreck of the 6th century. The 30-meter vessel was well-preserved and traces of the galley-end and of the cargo holds were found. Amphorae have illustrated trading of later Roman wares and olive oil between North Africa and Anatolia in the Justinian period. Peter Throckmorton, who discovered the site in 1958, developed the mapping of wrecks photogrammetrically with stereophotographs and using a two-man submarine, the Asherah launched in 1964. The Asherah" was the first submarine ever built for archaeological investigation."
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Choukoutien, Chou-k'ou-tien CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Palaeolithicsite in Hebei province, China, with numerous human fossils, including 'Peking man', found in cave deposits of c 400,000-700,000 years ago. Over 40 individuals are represented; this has become one of the two fossil populations on which Homo erectus is based. In 1941, when the Japanese were about to attack Beijing, the fossils were packed for transport to the U.S., but disappeared; only casts have survived. New investigations have found more skulls and parts, and a pollensequence is known. Primitive flake tools have been found, along with traces of fire. Remains of Homo sapiens sapiens are the first human burials in the East Asian archaeological record.