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American Society of Conservation Archaeologists
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: ASCA
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: A professional organization for archaeologists especially committed to the conservation of cultural resources.
Chivateros
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A stratified, ancient quarry/workshop site just north of Lima, Peru - an area of coastal lomas (areas of fog vegetation). Excavations revealed a lithic flake industry as early as the Late Pleistocene, dating between 9,000 to 11,000 years ago. Wood fragments helped define a Chivateros I period of c 9500-8000 BC. There is also a red zone with some flint chips which, by comparison of artifacts of the nearby Oquendo workshop date to pre-10,500 BC. The whole industry is characterized by burins and bifaces with the upper-level (Chinateros II) containing long, keeled, leaf-shaped projectile points which resemble points from both Lauricocha II and El Jobo. Dating has been aided by the deposition of both loess and salt crust layers which suggest alternating dryness and humidity and which can be synchronized with glacial activity in the Northern Hemisphere.
Dvaravati
CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: A Buddhist kingdom in present-day Thailand and an early Mon state, first mentioned in Chinese sources as T'o-lo-po-ti in the middle of the 7th century AD. Though few records have survived, its capital may have been at Nakhon Pathom and its territory must have comprised almost all present Thailand. There are architectural remains, terra-cotta modeling, stucco relief sculpture, and Buddhist statuary in bronze and stone. The kingdom came to an end when the Khmers incorporated the area in the empire of Angkor in the 11th century AD.
Historic Preservation Act of 1966
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: A U.S. law that established the National Register of Historic Places and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Kakóvatos
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: The site of a Mycenaean settlement in Messenia, Greece (in Triphylia). There are three tholos tombs that have been excavated. It was once thought to be the site of Homeric Pylos.
National Historic Preservation Act
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: NHPA
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: Legislation passed in 1966 and amended in later years, designed to protect important cultural sites by placing them on a master list called the National Register of Historic Places. The act also integrates local and state agencies into a national program designed to preserve sites.
State Historical Preservation Officer
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: SHPO
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: The person appointed by the Governor to serve as the Chief Administrative Officer of the Office of Historic preservation and Executive Secretary of the State Historical Resources Commission. The SHPO administers state and federally mandated historic preservation programs under the authority of the National Historic Preservation Act.
Vatcha
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Lapita site on Ile des Pins, New Caledonia, Melanesia, with two occupations starting c 2855 bp.
activation analysis
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: Method to determine the elements of a material by inducing radioactive reactions to produce radiation characteristic of material composition.
arbitrary excavation
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: Excavation by predetermined levels of a given thickness; used on sites or areas of sites without visible layering of the soil.
area excavation
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 prehistoric settlement patterns. Area excavation 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 grid system. 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.
balk excavation method
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: The excavation of an area of a site leaving vertical pillars or walls in place, thus allowing better correlation between excavations with predefined strata.
block excavation method
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: The excavation of an area of a site without leaving intervening walls or pillars, which exposes contiguous areas of floors better than the balk method.
clearing excavation
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: Any excavation designed primarily to reveal the horizontal and, by inference, functional dimensions of an archaeological site - such as the extent, distribution, and patterning of buried data.
conservation archaeology
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: cultural resource management
CATEGORY: branch
DEFINITION: A subfield of archaeology which focuses on the preservation of archaeological resources and explicitly recognizes archaeological sites as nonrenewable resources. This branch of archaeology seeking to preserve the archaeological record from destruction, by protective legislation, education, and efforts such as the Archaeological Conservancy.
cultivation
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: The raising of plants by man for his use; deliberate propagation of a species primarily for its fruit, seed, leaf, or fiber. Cultivation greatly increased and stabilized man's food supply. The change from food gathering to food production has been called the Neolithic Revolution, and was one of the most important advances in human development. The first among Old World crops were wheat and barley, developed as cultivated species c 7th millennium BC. To these were added oats and rye in Europe, millet in Asia, and sorghum in Africa. In the Americas, the process was equally slow. First crops included beans, cotton, gourds, maize, manioc, potatoes, and squashes.
digital elevation model
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: DEM
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: A three-dimensional representation of the landscape within a defined area.
elevation
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: Any spot-height recorded on the plan of a unit of stratification, from which its topographical relief, or contour, may be determined.
elevation drawing
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: A two-dimensional rendering of a feature, viewed from the side, showing details of surface composition.
excavate
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: To dig out and remove archaeological materials from a site; to carry out the process of excavation.
excavation
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: The systematic and scientific recovery of cultural, material remains of people as a means of obtaining data about past human activity. Excavation is digging or related types of salvage work, scientifically controlled so as to yield the maximum amount of data. It is the main tool of the archaeologist. The excavation of a site, however, involves the destruction of the primary evidence, which can never be recovered. Excavation should therefore never be undertaken lightly or without an understanding of the obligations of the excavator to the evidence he destroys. The first decision is whether to excavate a site at all, a question of particular interest when sites are being rapidly destroyed by farming methods and road and town building. The nature and scale of the undertaking is the next decision. If time and/or money is short, sampling of the site may be all that is possible. If a large-scale excavation is to be undertaken, the approach will be either area (open) excavation, grid method, quadrant method, rabotage, sondage, etc. Removal of the topsoil will either be carried out by hand or machine. After an initial plan has been made of all visible features before excavation, digging proceeds according to the dictates of the site: sections may be taken across areas of feature intersection, or across individual features. A permanent record of the whole process should be kept: plans, drawings, notes, photographs. Excavation is only the first part of the process. For years, excavation was regarded as merely a method of collecting artifacts. Pitt Rivers in Britain and Petrie in the Near East first placed emphasis on evidence rather than artifacts, not what is found but where it was found relative to the layers of deposit (stratigraphy) and to other objects (association) - the context. The excavator can only justify his destruction if it is done with meticulous care so that every artifact, be it an ax or a posthole, is discovered and if possible preserved; if it is recorded accurately enough for all information to remain available after the site has disappeared; and if this record is quickly made available by publication. In short, excavation is the digging of archaeological sites, removal of the matrix, and observance of the provenience and context of the finds therein, and the recording of them in a three-dimensional way.
excavation director
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: The person with overall oversight responsibility for an excavation.
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).
excurvate
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A shape that bulges out in a graceful smooth convex curve. A term used to describe a convex blade edge or basal edge or stem.
incurvate
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A term to describe the outline or shape that is indented or convex. A form of Basal edge or Stem Base outline.
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
lateral excavation
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: extensive excavation
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: The excavation or opening up of large areas so that subsurface features and architecture are broadly exposed.
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.
open excavation
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 grid system. 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 prehistoric settlement patterns.
open-area excavation
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: A type of excavation in which large horizontal areas are opened, esp. where single-period deposits lie close to the surface.
ovate
CATEGORY: lithics
DEFINITION: A refined Acheulian biface with an egg-shaped outline and a flat or twisted profile; some have a tranchet finish.
penetrating excavation
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: An excavating technique that exposes the vertical face of a site. This type of excavation is designed to reveal the vertical and temporal dimensions within an archaeological deposit - the depth, sequence, and composition of buried data.
petit-tranchet derivative arrowhead
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: PTD arrowhead
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Diverse series of later Neolithic flint arrowhead forms found in Britain and believed to derive from the development of petit-tranchet arrowhead forms. The group was defined and classified in 1934 by Grahame Clarke and includes a range of triangular and trapezoidal pieces; some were perhaps for use in hunting birds.
preservation
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: The protection of artifacts and archaeological sites through activities that minimize deterioration and damage and that prevent loss of context and content.
selective excavation
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: The archaeological excavation of parts of a site using sampling methods or carefully placed trenches but which do not uncover the entire site.
stratigraphic excavation
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: The layers of a site are excavated accroding to their natural shapes and dimensions and in the reverse order to that in which they were deposited.
test excavation
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: The initial examination of an archaeological site with the purpose of locating deposits and developng an excavation strategy.
total excavation
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: Complete excavation of an archaeological site, confined mainly to smaller sites, such as burial mounds or campsites.
vat
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A large container for holding or storing liquids.
weed of cultivation
CATEGORY: flora
DEFINITION: Any plant which is unable to flourish in wooded shady areas but which finds its habitat in open regions such as agricultural fields. With the removal of vegetational competition as a result of clearance of woodland, these weeds establish themselves. Where early agriculturists cleared forest for the sowing of crops, these weeds appeared. Pollen evidence from weeds of cultivation is used by palaeobotanists in recognizing phases of agriculture.
wet-site excavation
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: Technique of excavating waterlogged sites by pumping water through hoses to spray the dirt away and expose archaeological features and artifacts.

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