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United States Geologic Survey
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: USGS
CATEGORY: term; geology
DEFINITION: The government agency charged with the recording and dissemination of information related to the geology of the United States and its holdings.
arbitrary sample unit
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: A subdivision of data within a defined area of excavation, such as a sample unit that is defined by a site grid, which has no specific cultural relevance.
archaeological unit
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: An arbitrary classification unit set up by an archaeologist to separate one grouping of artifacts from another in space and time.
architectural unit method
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: A method in which observable architectural zones of predefined structures are excavated as a single horizontal provenience. An example of this is a room in a palace being treated as its own excavation area.
biostratigraphic unit
CATEGORY: measure
DEFINITION: Division of the Earth's crust defined by its fossil content.
community
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: The tangible remains of the activities of the maximum number of people who occupied a settlement during a time period. A biological community is an interacting population of various kinds of individuals (species) in a common location.
ecological community
CATEGORY: flora; fauna
DEFINITION: The different biotic species of a specific region and the network of interrelationships that exists among them.
excavation unit
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: A basic area of horizontal control in an excavation; usually a test pit, trench, or a standard-sized square (grid).
lithostratigraphic unit
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: A subdivision of the earth's crust, as defined by their physical, lithologic characteristics.
nonarbitrary sample unit
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: A subdivision of the data universe with cultural relevance, such as sample units defined by data clusters in remains of rooms or houses.
pedological unit
CATEGORY: geology
DEFINITION: Subdivisions of the earth's crust created by alteration of its mineral and organic materials through soil-forming processes rather than depositional events.
recording unit
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: A specific location or feature that is defined as an entity for the purpose of recording archaeological data.
recovery unit
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: A defined area from which archaeological materials are recovered, such as an excavation pit.
sample unit
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: The basic unit of archaeological investigation; a subdivision of the data universe. It is an arbitrary or nonarbitrary unit of the data universe, used for sampling archaeological data.
unit
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: An artificial grouping used for describing artifacts.
unit datum point
CATEGORY: measure
DEFINITION: The control point from which all measurements in a specific excavation unit are made.
unit of analysis
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: The unit from which an archaeologist takes measurements.
unit of stratification
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: A term which can be applied to any layers, interfaces, or structures found in the recording of the stratification of an excavation.

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