CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: The placement of materials in a geographic, temporal, etc. context with other similar artifacts; the study of artifact classes with common characteristics; classification according to artifact type.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: functional type CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: Classification based on cultural use or function rather than on outward form or chronological position.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: morphological type; morphology CATEGORY: typology DEFINITION: A descriptive and abstract grouping of individual artifacts whose focus is on overall similarity rather than specific form or function. The shape, size, and superficial characteristics of artifacts, features, structure, sites, etc., provided by measurements (including weight) that permit comparative statistical analysis of attributes and frequencies.
CATEGORY: typology DEFINITION: The study of classes with common characteristics; classification of artifacts; the systematic classification of artifacts or remains according to type, i.e. form and decoration. This is the first step in archaeologicalanalysis and necessary in comparing assemblages and in determining time sequences. Groups of pottery, for example, may be assembled by those with long necks, those with handles, and those with a pedestalbase. Within these may be sub-groups based on variations in handle shape or decoration. The relationships between similar types can sometimes be shown not merely to classify, but also to explain, their development -- which is called seriation. It may show increasing complexity or functional improvement, simplification and functional decline, or change based on fashion. Typology may be associated with chronology, in that it may be possible to place groups of the same kind of material in a sequence.
CATEGORY: typology DEFINITION: Any grouping method based on associations between attributes and including Spaulding's configurationist typology and factor analysis.
CATEGORY: chronology; technique DEFINITION: Any method used to order time and to place events in the sequence in which they occurred. A sequential ordering that places cultural entities in temporal, and often spatial, distribution. It involves the collection of dates or successive datings establishing the position in time of a series of phenomena such as the phases of a civilization or the events of the history of a state. A chronology is relative/floating when only the order of a succession of facts is known, but not their dates, and absolute when the opposite is true. For periods or areas for which no textual evidence is available, relative chronologies have to be established and these are mostly based on pottery sequences and typology. Relative chronology is also based on the application of the principles of stratigraphy and cross-dating. The discovery of inscribed monuments and calendars associated with dated astronomical observations contributed to the development of an Egyptian chronology and it has served as a framework -- through cross-dating -- for all other Near Eastern chronologies. Inscribed Egyptian objects found in Near Eastern contexts have allowed the latter to be dated. Absolute chronology is based on scientific methods such as radiocarbon dating, thermoluminescencedating, and archaeomagnetism. Dates are often calibrated with dendrochronological dates. For dates after 1500 BC, an absolute chronology is not likely to change by more than ten years.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: chronology CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: The process by which an archaeologist determines dates for objects, deposits, buildings, etc., in an attempt to situate a given phenomenon in time. Relative dating, in which the order of certain events is determined, must be distinguished from absolute dating, in which figures in solar years (often with some necessary margin of error) can be applied to a particular event. Unless tied to historical records, dating by archaeological methods can only be relative -- such as stratigraphy, typology, cross-dating, and sequence dating. Absolute dating, with some reservation, is provided by dendrochronology, varve dating, thermoluminescence, potassium-argon dating, and, most important presently, radiocarbon dating. Some relative dating can be calibrated by these or by historical methods to give a close approximation to absolute dates -- archaeomagnetism, obsidian hydration dating, and pollen analysis. Still others remain strictly relative -- collagen content, fluorine and nitrogen test, and radiometric assay. Other methods include: coin dating, seriation, and amino-acid racemization. The methods have varying applications, accuracy, range, and cost. Many new techniques are being developed and tested.
CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: A theory of biology about the gradual or rapid change of the form of living organisms throughout time that reflects adaptive change; it is the theory that all forms of life derive from a process of change via natural selection. Its great exponent was Charles Darwin, whose The Origin of Species" appeared in 1859. It had an immediate impact on prehistory and the question of the antiquity of man. The Darwinian idea -- of species generally over-reproducing themselves and only the better-fitted surviving to pass on their superior adaptation to the next generation -- has been modified and amplified in the 20th century by new knowledge of genetics and especially of mutation and re-combination of genes. The newer view is often called Neo-Darwinism. Darwin's work laid the foundations for the study of artifact typology pioneered by such scholars as Pitt-Rivers and Montelius. The idea that the animals and plants of today originated from ancestors of a different kind goes back at least to early Greek philosophers"
CATEGORY: person DEFINITION: Important person in Chinese archaeology who used a Marxist interpretation of history in all his work. He produced a monumental study of inscriptions on oracle bones and bronze vessels, Liang Chou chin wen tz'u ta hsi t'u lu k'ao shi"h (1935 new ed. 1957; "Corpus of Inscriptions on Bronzes from the Two Chou Dynasties"). He was the leading authority on Shang bone inscriptions and on bronze from Chouperiod using these first written texts as a basis for his study of Chinese society. In this work he attempts to demonstrate according to Communist doctrine the "slave society" nature of ancient China. His research work on bronzes from the Chouperiod carried out at the same time as B. Karlgren's consisted of making a chronological classification of the bronzes based on their inscriptions and used their typology as a secondary procedure. He reconstructed the development of these bronzes and defined the basis on which research being carried out today still rests. After 1949 Guo held many important positions in the People's Republic of China including the presidency of the Chinese Academy of Sciences."
Hesi, Tell el-
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A tellsite in southern Palestine occupied from the Early Bronze Age, c 2600 BC, to the Hellenistic period/Iron Age. Its excavation by Sir Flinders Petrie and F.J. Bliss were the first stratigraphic excavations in the area, and lent much information on potterytypology and successive building levels. Their work began the establishment of an absolute chronology for Palestinian prehistory, through the discovery of imported, datable Egyptian objects in association with local material.
Kidder, Alfred Vincent (1885-1963)
CATEGORY: person DEFINITION: A pioneering American archaeologist working in the US southwest. He carried out stratigraphical and seriation excavations, notably of the Pueblo at Pecos, New Mexico, and combined stratigraphy with potterytypology to produce the first synthesis of southwestern prehistory. It has since been refined by dendrochronology, but it still provides the framework. Kidder's research forms the basis of nearly all later studies in the area. He later did archaeological surveys and excavations for the Maya program of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. He worked at Kaminaljuyú and Uaxactún. He was hailed for his multidisciplinary approach to archaeology and for changing American archaeology from antiquarianism to scientific discipline.
Li Chi (1896-1979)
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: [Li Ch'i] CATEGORY: person DEFINITION: Chinese archaeologist responsible for establishing the historical authenticity of the semilegendary Shangdynasty of China (c 1766-1122 BC). He supervised numerous excavations at Anyang (An-yang), working to identify the features distinguishing the Shangcivilization from previous Neolithic cultures. More than 300 tombs, including four important royal burial sites, were uncovered and carefully studied. Some 1,100 skeletons and oracle bones, unquestionably linked with the Shangperiod, were recovered. Li Chi created a typology of bronzes based on their shapes, of ceramic sherds, and bone hairpins. Following the Japanese invasion of China and the expulsion of the Chinese Nationalists from the mainland, many of Li's Anyang remains and notes were lost. After escaping to Taiwan, he established the first archaeology and anthropology department at a Chinese university (National University in Taipei). He published a number of books, including The Beginnings of Chinese Civilization" (1957). "
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Lower Paleolithic CATEGORY: chronology DEFINITION: The earliest part of the Palaeolithicperiod, beginning about 2.5 million years ago and lasting to about 100,000 years ago. It was characterized by the first use of crude stone tools, the practice of hunting and gathering; and the development of social units, settlements, and structures. It was the era of the earliest forms of humans. The phases of the Palaeolithic have been subdivided based on artifact typology; the Lower Palaeolithic is the period of early hominid pebble tool and core tool manufacture. In China, the Early Palaeolithic ran from 1,000,000-73,000 BC.
Montelius, Oscar (1843-1921)
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Gustav Oscar Augustin Montelius CATEGORY: person DEFINITION: Swedish archaeologist who constructed a chronology for prehistoric Europe and who developed typological schemes for the European Neolithic and Bronze Age. He divided European prehistory into numbered periods (four for the Neolithic, five for the Bronze Age) and to these periods he gave absolute dates by extending cross-dating from Egypt across Europe. Montelius believed in the diffusionist view (called ex oriente lux) that all European culture in later prehistoric times was derived from the ancient civilizations of Egypt and the Near East. Still controversial is his theory, the Swedish typology suggesting that material culture and biological life develop through essentially the same kind of evolutionary process. He published Om tidsbestämming inom ronsåldern" (1885; "On Determining the Periods Within the Bronze Age") "The Civilization of Sweden in Heathen Times" (1888) and "Die älteren Kulturperioden in Orient und in Europa" (1903-23; "The Older Cultural Periods in the Orient and Europe")."
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: morphological typology CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: A descriptive and abstract grouping of individual artifacts whose focus is on overall similarity rather than specific form or function. The shape, size, and superficial characteristics of artifacts, features, structure, sites, etc., provided by measurements (including weight) that permit comparative statistical analysis of attributes and frequencies.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A cemetery of the Early and Middle La Tène Iron Age in Berne, Switzerland. The 200+ graves were commonly lined with stone and contained coffins. The typology of the grave goods, especially the brooches, has provided the basis for the detailed subdivision of the La Tène period in this area.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: An approach to typology based on clusters of human artifacts that are seen as specific classificatory types.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Perigordian CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: A French classification for the Upper Palaeolithictradition of western Europe, from its identification with the Perigord region of southern France. The flintindustrysequence begins with the Chatelperronian (or Early Périgordian) from which, according to some, developed the first of the 'Upper Périgordian' industries (Gravettian, or Périgordian IV). The later stages are represented by industries with Font Robert points and Noailles burins, and finally by the Proto-Magdalenian. The Périgordian tradition comes to an end in western Europe with the intrusion of a new Solutreanstyle of flintwork. No known site has a complete and unbroken 'Périgordian' sequence, and in many caves the Lower and Upper 'Périgordian' levels are separated by strata of the intrusiveAurignacianindustry, which must represent a break of several thousand years. The French scheme requires the Périgordian and Aurignacian people to have lived side by side with each other for millennia without any apparent contact between them. In the 1930s, Denis Peyrony advocated the view that the Aurignacian or early Upper Palaeolithic in France consisted of a true Aurignacian and a separate line of cultures, the Perigordian, beginning before the Aurignacian but co-existing alongside it down the time of the Solutrean. It is not known what kind of man was responsible for the Perigordian, but it is usually assumed that it was Cro-Magnon man, at least in the latter part. A Neanderthal-like skull has been found with the early Perigordian, or Chatelperronian. Art is found in a few later Perigordian contexts. The Perigordian scheme is not now widely accepted as it is based on artifact typology rather than stratigraphic evidence.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Palaeolithic CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: The more technical name for the Old Stone Age, a division of prehistory covering the time from the first use of stone tools by humans, c 2.5 million years ago, to the retreat of the glacial ice in the northern hemisphere c 10,000-8500 BC. It began in the Pliocene epoch and was followed by the Mesolithic. It is the Old World equivalent, although with a much greater extension back in time, of the paleo-Indian or Early Lithic stage of New World development. The Paleolithic was characterized by the making of chipped or flaked stone tools and weapons and by a hunting and food-gathering way of life. It is usually divided into Lower, Middle, and Upper (or Late) Paleolithic -- mainly based on artifact typology. The subdivisions are characterized this way: Lower Palaeolithic, c 2.5 million - 200,000 BC, the earliest forms of humans (Australopithecus and Homo erectus), and the predominance of core tools of pebble tool, handax, and choppertype; Middle Palaeolithic, c 150,000-40,000 BC, the era of the Neanderthal and the predominance of flake-tool industries (e.g. Mousterian) over most of Eurasia; and Upper Palaeolithic (starting perhaps as early as 38,000 BC-c 10,000 BC), with Homo sapiens sapiens, blade-and-burin industries, and the development of cave art in western Europe. During this stage, man colonized the New World and Australia. The main Palaeolithic cultures of Europe were, in chronological order: 1. Pre-Abbevillian, 2. Abbevillian, 3. Clactonian, 4. Acheulian, 5. Levalloisian, 6. Mousterian, 7. Aurignacian, 8. Solutrean, and 9. Magdalenian. The term was introduced in 1865 by John Lubbock in Prehistoric Times". The Palaeolithic was originally defined by the use of chipped stone tools but later an economic criterion was added and the practice of hunting and gathering is now regarded as a defining characteristic."
Paleolithic or Palaeolithic
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Old Stone Age, paleolithic CATEGORY: chronology DEFINITION: The more technical name for the Old Stone Age, a division of prehistory covering the time from the first use of stone tools by humans, c 2.5 million years ago, to the retreat of the glacial ice in the northern hemisphere c 10,000-8500 BC. It began in the Pliocene epoch and was followed by the Mesolithic. It is the Old World equivalent, although with a much greater extension back in time, of the Paleo-Indian or Early Lithic stage of New World development. The Paleolithic was characterized by the making of chipped or flaked stone tools and weapons and by a hunting and food-gathering way of life. It is usually divided into Lower, Middle, and Upper (or Late) Paleolithic -- mainly based on artifact typology. The subdivisions are characterized this way: Lower Palaeolithic, c 2.5 million - 200,000 BC, the earliest forms of man (Australopithecus and Homo erectus), and the predominance of core tools of pebble tool, handax, and choppertype; Middle Palaeolithic, c 150,000-40,000 BC, the era of Neanderthal man and the predominance of flake-tool industries (e.g. Mousterian) over most of Eurasia; and Upper Palaeolithic (starting perhaps as early as 38,000 BC-c 10,000 BC), with Homo sapiens sapiens, blade-and-burin industries, and the development of cave art in western Europe. During this stage, man colonized the New World and Australia. The main Palaeolithic cultures of Europe were, in chronological order: 1. Pre-Abbevillian, 2. Abbevillian, 3. Clactonian, 4. Acheulian, 5. Levalloisian, 6. Mousterian, 7. Aurignacian, 8. Solutrean, and 9. Magdalenian. The term was introduced in 1865 by John Lubbock in Prehistoric Times". The Palaeolithic was originally defined by the use of chipped stone tools but later an economic criterion was added and the practice of hunting and gathering is now regarded as a defining characteristic."
CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: A term referring to an artifact in the form of a ring, but with a small break at one point, used particularly for forms of brooch and torc. It means not a complete ring". The penannular brooch was characteristic of Irish production; generally of great size and probably worn on the shoulder with the pin pointing upward it was decorated with interlaced patterns. It was the most common type of dress fastener of the sub-Roman period; it remained popular in Celtic regions of Britain up until the 10th century. There is an extensive typology for these ornaments and they vary in appearance from plain bronze or iron rings to elaborately inlaid and gilded examples such as the Tarabrooch which was made around 700 AD in Ireland."
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". "
Reinecke, Paul (1872-1958)
CATEGORY: person DEFINITION: German archaeologist who was responsible for many typological studies and is best known for his subdivision of the central European Bronze and Iron ages (with phases denoted by letters). His system involved eight phases: Bronze A to D (Early and Middle Bronze Age) and Hallstatt A to D (Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age). It is still widely used today, although often in modified form. It was largely based on the typology of hoard finds in southern Germany.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A major island group in the south-central Pacific Ocean about 1,600 miles (2,600 km) northeast of New Zealand. American Samoa, a dependency of the United States, consists of the six islands. Western Samoa, an independent nation, consists of the nine islands. The islands were settled by Lapita colonists in the late 2nd millennium BC. There is a potterysequence through the 1st millennium BC, after which potterymanufacture ceases. On the evidence of adzetypology, Samoa may have been the source of the first settlers to penetrate eastern Polynesia, perhaps to the Marquesas, in the early 1st millennium AD. The last 1500 years of Samoan prehistory are associated with above-ground monuments, including earthwork forts, earth or stone houses, god-house platforms, and agricultural terraces.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A method developed by Sir Flinders Petrie (for Egyptian predynastic cemeteries) for dating a group of similar objects according to their archaeological sequence. By studying the typology the changing forms of certain artifacts, they may be set into sequence. Petrie used it to arrange undated graves into a hypothetical (relative) chronological order according to the typology and association of the artifacts found in them (based on a stylistic seriation of Egyptian pre-dynastic tombpottery). Artifacts found at other sites were then correlated with the sequence and given a sequence date. The technique can only be used to determine whether one type of artifact is earlier or later than another; it cannot show length of time between two. This type of seriation, when combined with cross-dating, is still useful in the absence of other dating methods.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A relative dating technique in which artifacts or features are organized into a sequence according to changes over time in their attributes or frequency of appearance. The technique shows how these items have changed over time and it is a way to establish chronology. Archaeologicalmaterial, such as assemblages of pottery or the grave goods deposited with burials, are arranged into chronological order. The types that comprise the assemblages to be ordered in this way must be from the same archaeologicaltradition, and from a single region or locality. Once the variations in a particular object have been classified by typology, it can often be shown that they fall into a developmental series, sometimes in a single line, sometimes in branching lines more as in a family tree. The order produced is theoretically chronological, but will need archaeologicalassessment. Outside evidence, such as dating of two or more stages in the development, may be needed to determine which is the first and which the last member of the series. There are several types of seriation: frequency seriation, contextual seriation, evolutionary seriation, and similarity / stylistic seriation -- based on different changes. A seriation technique, called sequence dating, based on shared typological features, enabled Sir Flinders Petrie to establish the temporal order of a large number of Egyptian graves.
CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: A Nubian microlithic industry of 8000-6000 years ago in the Sudanese Nile Valley. The typology of the industry shows certain Saharan affinities. By the 6th millennium BC, some of the tool makers had adopted a specialized fishingeconomy using harpoons with barbed bone heads, as seen at Catfish Cave near the Second Nile Cataract.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: typology CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: The classification of artifacts into types to compare artifacts or features across time and space, or to determine relative dates for sites.
CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: A term used in projectile typology to describe a variation of a type.
Worsaae, Jens Jacob Asmussen (1821-1886)
CATEGORY: person DEFINITION: Danish archaeologist who laid the foundations for the study of prehistory. He was the successor to Christian J. Thomsen at the National Museum at Copenhagen and he applied the Three Age System to stone monuments. He wrote Danmarks Oldtid oplyst ved Oldsager og Gravhøie" ("The Primeval Antiquities of Denmark" 1843) which introduced such other concepts as nomenclature typology and diffusion and discusses the value and principles of prehistoric research. He focused on the study of excavated artifacts particularly in their geographic and stratigraphic contexts. His standards and professionalism put him ahead of his time."