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Big Horn Medicine Wheel
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A medicine wheel in the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming that consists of a D-shaped stone cairn from which 28 individual stone spokes radiate. The outer circumference has six smaller cairns. The feature may be astronomically aligned.
Wheeler box-grid
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: An excavation technique developed by Sir Robert Eric Mortimer Wheeler from the work of General Pitt-Rivers. It involved the retaining of intact balks of earth between excavation grid squares so that different stratigraphic layers could be correlated across the site in the vertical profiles.
Wheeler, Sir Robert Eric Mortimer (1890-1976)
CATEGORY: person
DEFINITION: English archaeologist who revolutionized excavation standards and invented the stratigraphic grid system technique. Adopting and developing further the methods of General Pitt-Rivers, Wheeler emphasized the vertical site record and its importance in reconstructing the history of a site. He founded Britain's Institute of Archaeology of London University and similar institutions in other countries, especially reorganizing Indian and Pakistani archaeology. He worked at Verulamium, Maiden Castle, Harappa, Arikamedu, St. Albans, Colchester, Stanwick, Taxila, Charsada, Mohenjo-Daro, and Brahmagiri and was the director-general of the Archaeological Survey of India. His most important contribution was in popularizing archaeology, through his writings and especially through television programs.
Wheeler-Kenyon method
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: An excavation strategy in which archaeologists open large areas of a site at a single time but leave balk walls between units to preserve stratigraphy.
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A wheel with a series of teeth on its outside which interlock with similar teeth on another cogwheel to receive or give motion.
medicine wheel
DEFINITION: A kind of site in the northwest North American Plains which was comprised of stone alignments set in radiating spokes, often with central and peripheral cairns. Medicine wheels served a number of purposes and some are as old as 5500 BP. In southern Montana is a medicine wheel which is a prehistoric relic constructed of rough stones laid side by side, forming a circle 70 feet (20 m) in diameter with 28 spokes leading from the center hub, which is about 12 feet (3.5 m) in diameter.
potter's wheel
CATEGORY: ceramics
DEFINITION: A wheel rotating horizontally which assists a potter in shaping clay into vessels. The development of the slow, or hand-turned, wheel as an adjunct to pottery manufacture led to the kick wheel, rotated by foot, which became the potter's principal tool. The potter throws the clay onto a rapidly rotating disk and shapes his pot by manipulating it with both hands. By the Uruk phase in Mesopotamia, c 3400 BC, the fast wheel was already in use. It spread slowly, reaching Europe with the Minoans c 2400 BC, and Britain with the Belgae in the 1st century BC. Its presence can be taken to imply an organized pottery industry, often also using an advanced type of kiln.
slow wheel
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A flat-topped horizontal turntable that can be rotated to assist a potter in shaping a ceramic vessel. Slow-turning wheels or tournettes were used from the 5th or 6th millennia BC in the Near East to help true up hand-made vessels. From the early 4th millennium BC,
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: One of man's simplest but most important inventions. A Sumerian (Erech) pictograph, dated about 3500 BC, shows a sledge equipped with wheels. It is also shown in Uruk pictographs, c 3400 BC, and on the Royal Standard of Ur. Early wheels were solid and unwieldy, made of a single piece of wood or three carved planks clamped together by transverse struts. Spoked wheels appeared about 2000 BC, when they were in use on chariots in Asia Minor. The wheel was not used in pre-Columbian America, except in Mexico, where small pull-along toys in the form of animals were made in terra-cotta. The use of a wheel (turntable) for pottery had also developed in Mesopotamia by 3500 BC.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: wheel-thrown pottery
CATEGORY: ceramics
DEFINITION: In ceramics manufacture, a technique using centrifugal force to help force the body upwards and outwards from the center of a ball of tempered clay, while the potter's hands restrict outward motion and shape the vessel.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: wheel house, wheel-house
CATEGORY: structure
DEFINITION: A stone-built, circular-plan house with partition walls projecting inwards like the spokes of a wheel - a form widespread in western and northern Scotland, the Hebrides, and Shetland Islands in the early centuries AD. It characterizes the later Iron Age culture and survived into the Roman period as dwellings and farmhouses.

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