Glossary of Archaeology Midterm 2

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5 steps of processing artifacts and ecofacts
cleaning, conservation, labeling, inventory, cataloging
what 2 kinds of finds are usually processed in 5 steps?
artifacts, ecofacts
why is cleaning done?
to remove obscuring traces of the matrix of the remains.
why is conservation done?
to ensure the preservation of recovered materials
what is conservation dependant on?
the type of material
why is labeling done?
to track a removed find
what is a label?
a designation that links an artifact of ecofact back to the excavation
how does one inventory?
document the numbers and types of remains recovered from a site.
when one inventories, finds can be sorted into general types by _____ or _____.
material, industry
what are the 5 ways to sort in an inventory?
lithic, ceramic, metal, floral, faunal
what is cataloguing?
a complete qualitative and quantitative documentation of artifacts and ecofacts
what is cataloging done prior to?
formal analysis
what is cataloguing usually done with?
coding sheets designed for the particular materials
qualitative uses...
...descriptive attributes
quantitative uses...
...measurable attributes
where are features documented?
on site
documentation of a feature usually results in...
...destruction of that feature
feature "fill" is
a form of matrix that is within the confines of a feature
feature fill is removed from a feature to (2 reasons)
show size/shape of feature, reveal materials inside feature
classification is the...
...placing of material into categories of types that can be used for identification and comparison
2 types of classification
primary, secondary
primary classification is based on...
...directly observed attributes
secondary classification is based on...
...inferred or analytic attributes
5 ways to primary classify
decoration, shape/form, texture, method of manufacture, raw material
3 ways to secondary classify
function, meaning, chemical make-up
which of the 3 ways to secondary classify are not attributes?
function, meaning
what are the 4 objectives of classification?
impose order, analyze objects based on shared attributes, define differences, suggest relationships
3 attribute categories
stylistic, form, technological
attributes are...
observable (qualitative) or measurable (quantitative) characteristics of physical remains.
stylistic attributes include...
surface characteristics such as color, texture, decoration, etc.
form attributes include...
physical characteristics such as overall shape, shape of parts, and measurable dimensions
technological attributes include...
raw material characteristics and method of manufacture
2 methods of classification
taxonomic, paradigmatic
taxonomic classification
takes your initial artifact class (i.e. pottery) and breaks it down into smaller and smaller groups based on the presence/absence of selected attributes
paradigmatic classification
all attributes have equal weight and are presented in a table to avoid the implications of the hierarchy.
The culmination of classification is the generation of ____
a typology is...
the recognition and definition of shared similarities among artifacts
types can be based on...
stylistic, form, and/or technological attributes
3 kinds of types
morphological, temporal, functional
in morphological typing, artifacts are grouped based on...
...overall similarity
in temporal typing, artifacts are grouped based on...
...time period
in functional typing, artifacts are grouped based on...
morphological types are generally independent of...
...function or chronological significance
temporal typing can be used to tell you...
...the general time period a site was occupied
functional types can...
exist in association with a particular site/time period or independent of it
Archaeologists used projectile point typology at Gatecliff because they wanted to...
classify projectile points to make temporal types (time-markers) to test against radiocarbon dates
temporal types can extimate ages where...
radiocarbon dates can't
An individual characteristic that distinguishes one artifact from another on the basis of its size, surface texture, form, material, method of manufacture, and design pattern (measurable or observable qualities of an object)
3 attributes of projectile points
size, notch position, notch angle
point types are named by...
the archaeologists who create them
first name of a projectile point refers to...
site or region they were first discovered
last name of a projectile point refers to...
morphological characteristic
2 characteristics of a typology
minimize differences within, maximize differences between; must be objective/explicit
what is the best way to minimize differences within and maximize differences between types?
statistical analyses
temporal types provide us with...
...index fossils
assigning time ranges to projectile point types turns ______types into _____types
morphological, temporal
Who integrated chronological information into a regional framework?
Willey and Phillips
Large regions defined primarily in terms of what people ate (early 20th century)
culture areas
Regions within a cultural area whose material culture (e.g., house styles, settlement patterns, ceramics, or subsistence) differed from one another
Sub-culture areas/traditions/archaeological cultures
archaeological cultures divide...
periods divide...
A length of time distinguished by particular items of material culture
Major cultural transitions, such as the appearance of ceramics, settled life, or agriculture
phases combine... and time
An archaeological construct possessing traits sufficiently characteristic to distinguish it from other units similarly conceived; spatially limited to roughly a locality or region and chronologically limited to the briefest interval of time possible
A block of time that is characterized by one or more distinctive artifact types
phases are defined by...
...temporal types
items of material culture that show patterned changes over time
temporal types
derive temporal types by...
...grouping individual artifacts into morphological types and then testing them against independent data
Types of artifacts that change systematically and observably through time
time markers
A collection of artifacts of one or several classes of materials (e.g., stone tools, ceramics, bones) that comes from a defined context, such as a site, feature, or stratum
An archaeological construct consisting of a stratum or set of strata that are presumed to be culturally homogeneous; a set of components from various sites in a region will make up a phase
you can cluster assemblages into...
A culturally homologous unit within a single site
components are ____ specific
_____ are the basic units of space-time systematics
____ are ways to track spatial and temporal change in human cultural behavior
_____ are a first step toward developing ideas about regional patterns and trends
length of a phase depends on...
...kind of archaeological remains and our contemporary knowledge of those remains
____ phases tend to be shorter than ____ phases
young, old
chronological control is better for ____ material
phases always defined _____
When divisions in a phase are recognized, initial phase is divided into ____
patterning falls along 3 dimensions:
space, time, form
A culture from the Middle Paleolithic period that appeared throughout Europe after 250,000 and before 30,000 years ago.
____ artifacts are frequently associated with Neanderthal human remains.
The use of annual growth rings in trees to assign calendar ages to ancient wood samples
Tree-ring dating (dendochronology)
Tree-ring dating (dendochronology) developed by
Douglass worked in...
trees are ____ in winter and ____ in spring
dormant, active
Dendochronology helped to date ____
____ collected more samples in Betatakin from building materials in various rooms
Age of the final ring
cutting date
Tree-ring width is a function of ______and _____
precipitation, temperature
Radiocarbon dating discovered by...
What carbon isotope is used in radiocarbon dating?
What do you measure in radiocarbon dating?
Beta emissions
The time required for half of the carbon-14 available in an organic sample to decay
libby half-life
what is the standard libby half-life
When is the present?
AD 1950
what 2 things are hard to date?
bones, plants
The specific chemical process through which plants metabolize carbon; the three major pathways discriminate against carbon-13 in different ways, therefore similarly aged plants that use different pathways can produce different radiocarbon ages
photosynthetic pathways
When organisms take in carbon from a source that is depleted of or enriched in carbon-14 relative to the atmosphere; such samples may return ages that are considerably older or younger than they actually are
reservoir effect
____ was first to find fault in atmospheric assumption
De Vries
- Fluctuations in the calibration curve produced by variations in the atmosphere’s carbon-14 content; these can cause radiocarbon dates to calibrate more than one calendar age
De Vries effects
why is only the part of the site needed to answer the research question excavated?
digging destroys data that we don’t know yet to collect
A method of radiocarbon dating that counts the proportion of carbon isotopes directly (rather than using the indirect Geiger counter method), thereby dramatically reducing the quantity of datable material required
Accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS)
____ found four grains of domesticated barley and one grain of wheat in southern Egypt
Forms of dating that rely upon the fact that electrons become trapped in minerals’ crystal lattices as a function of background radiation; the age of the specimen is the total radiation received divided by the annual dose of radiation.
trapped charge dating
trapped charge dating identifies...
... the last time a specimen had its electron traps emptied
A trapped charge dating technique used on ceramics and burnt stone artifacts- anything mineral that has been heated to more than 500 degrees C.
thermoluminescence doesn't work if...
...artifact was accidentally burned years after manufacture
An early form of humans who lived in Europe and the Near East about 300,000 to 30,000 years ago
3 ways to determing total radiation dose
thermoluminescence, optically stimulated luminescence, electron spin resonance
A trapped charge dating technique used to date sediments (dirt); the age is the time elapsed between the last time a few moments exposure to sunlight reset the clock to zero and the present.
optically stimulated luminescence
optically stimulated luminescence works best with...
...eolian sands
A trapped charge technique used to date tooth enamel and buried stone tools; it can date teeth that are beyond the range of radiocarbon dating.
electron spin resonance
___ changed understanding of human evolution
electron spin resonance
A device to measure the amount of gamma radiation emitted by sediments (annual dose). It is normally buried in a stratum for a year to record the annual dose of radiation
what 2 methods are used to date the age of formation of a particular layer of rock?
potassium-argon and argon-argon
An absolute dating technique that monitors the decay of potassium into argon gas
potassium-argon dating
____ was used to estimate age of homo erectus
potassium-argon dating
a hominid who lived in Africa, Asia, and Europe between 2 million and 500,000 years ago. These hominids walked upright, made simple stone tools, and may have used fire
homo erectus
for potassium-argon dating to work,
there must have been no argon trapped at the time of formation
A high-precision method for estimating the relative quantities of argon-39 to argo-40 gas; used to date volcanic ashes that are between 500,000 and several million years old
argon-argon dating
A potential problem with radiocarbon (or tree-ring) dating in which old wood has been scavenged and reused in a later archaeological site; the resulting date is not a true age of the associated human activity.
old wood problem
____ and ____ dated the pyramids through radiocarbon dating on the mortar
Nakhla, Hawass
Nakhla and Hawass dated the pyramids through _____ on the mortar
radiocarbon dating
2 ways to date material remains
direct, indirect
Analysis of the artifact, ecofact, or feature itself to arrive at a chronological evaluation
direct dating
Analysis of material associated with the data under study to derive a chronological evaluation
indirect dating
Determining age or chronological sequence without reference to a fixed time scale
relative dating
Relies on comparisons with other forms of data to determine “older than” or “younger than”
relative dating
Determination of age on a specific time scale, as in years before present, or according to a fixed calendrical system
absolute dating
Example: A series of artifacts found in an excavation that stylistically represent different time periods (dates unspecified) are dated relative to one another
Direct Relative Dating
Example: An artifact is dated using a method like radiocarbon dating to specific year, or spread of years
Direct Absolute Dating
Example: A series of artifacts are extracted from different strata/levels (dates unspecified) of an excavation and are dated relative to one another
Indirect Relative Dating
Example: A series of artifacts are extracted from a strata/level/feature in an excavation that has been dated to a specific time period
Indirect Absolute dating
The date after which an artifact or feature must have been deposited
Terminus post quem
The date before which an artifact or feature must have been deposited
Terminus ante quem
Based on physical comparisons such as stratigraphic placement in relation to other remains
relative dating
Able to date individual items with or without comparisons to other remains
absolute dating
Useful in clearing up questions of duration of time periods in a chronology
absolute dating
Able to place archaeological sites in chronological context if they lack diagnostic information
absolute dating
5 relative dating methods
stratigraphic analysis/geochronology, biostratigraphy, temporal types, seriation, FUN dating
Stratigraphic analysis/geochronology governed by... of superposition
stratigraphic analysis/geochronology
Materials found within soil or bedrock layers, can be dated relative to materials in others
Under what condition can geochronology be absolute?
if the layer of bedrock containing remains has been dated
Why is geochronology considered relative?
the range of dates can be extremely large
Archaeological association of cultural material with extinct animal or plant species
Index fossils (biostratigraphy)
What is comparable to geochronology for obtaining date ranges?
What is a problem with biostratigraphy?
Exact date ranges may not be known for the species
The association of particular remains with remains of a known type
Temporal typing
Techniques used to order materials in a sequence, in such a way that adjacent items in the series are more similar to each other than to items further apart in the series
how is seriation done most often?
by an examination of stylistic attributes
what are the three things that can be looked at for seriation?
stylistic, form, technological
what is seriation usually done in combination with? (2 things)
stratigraphic and frequency analysis
A relative measure that examines the ratio of nitrogen to fluorine and uranium in bone
Flouride/Uranium/Nitrogen (FUN) dating
WHat means a younger date in FUN dating?
More nitrogen
What is FUN dating affected by?
The study of tree ring patterns among trees both living and dead and linking them to develop a continuous chronology
ii. The iron particles in certain materials that are heated to 700 degrees Celsius will reorient to the position of MNP at that time
Requires that materials have been left in place since heating
Measures the amount and rate of the absorption of water on the surface of a piece of obsidian
obsidian hydration
2 factors affecting absorption rate in obsidian hydration
source of obsidian, environmental conditions
4 types of organic artifacts
bone, shell, wood, plant
4 types of inorganic artifacts
stone, ceramic, metal, glass
3 types of ecofacts
faunal, floral, coprolites
2 types of features
simple, architecture
4 types of remains
artifacts, ecofacts, features, human remains
3 questions in describing ancient artifact technologies
how was it made, what form did it take, what time period/culture does it belong to?
2 types of describing
cataloguing, classification
The cumulative resources of human society that provide the means for nongenetic adaptation to the environment by regulating behavior in three areas
3 areas in which environment regulates behavior
technology, social systems, ideological systems
What is a culture IDed by?
Multiple lines of evidence (not just artifacts)
Artifacts that exhibit certain combination of diagnostic attributes are used to ____ the presence of a culture in the absence of other forms of evidence
Combinations of attributes that have a restricted spatial and temporal (not cultural) range
diagnostic attributes
diagnostic artifacts may also represent: (3 things)
adaptiation to environment, shared aesthetic, ideological symbol
Human behaviors related to certain artifact types are typically ____ from the form an artifact takes
How are human behaviors inferred from artifact form?
Analogical reasoning (i.e., it looks like a sword, so it must be a sword)
2 sub-classes of lithics
chipped stone tools, ground stone tools
how are lithics defined?
by methods of manufacture
Lithics produced by the fracturing or flaking of stone to produce usable tools/artifacts
chipped stone tools
chipped stone tools are referred to as a ____technology
2 methods of making chipped stone tools
direct, indirect
2 ways to directly make a chipped stone tool
hard, soft
hard direct chipped stone tool production
rock on rock
soft direct chipped stone tool production
wood/antler on rock (use pressure)
Usage of some tool in between the primary tool and what is being made
indirect chipped stone tool manufacture
what is used to determine whether a chipped stone tool is manmade?
bulb of percussion
typically fine grained stone types (4)
chert, flint, obsidion, quartz/quartzite
Tools produced by pecking, grinding, and polishing of stone to produce a tool/artifact
ground stone tools
Fine to medium grained volcanics and sedimentary stones (3)
granites, basalts, slate
What kind of stone is usually used in making chipped stone tools?
Fine grained
What kind of stone is usually used in making ground stone tools?
soft stone or fine to medium grained volcanics and sedimentary types
3 types of soft stones
pipestone, argillite, soapstone
Multi-part tools
composite tools
2 types of chipped stone tools
unifacial, bifacial
Chipped stone tools that were worked on one side
Chipped stone tools that were worked on both sides
2 types of unifacial chipped stone items
tools, decorative objects
3 types of unifacial chipped stone tools
scrapers, utilized flakes, gouges/gravers
2 types of scrapers
side, end
2 types of bifacial stone items
tool, decorative objects
4 types of bifacial chipped stone tools
projectile points, blades, axes/adzes, drills
2 types of ground stone items
tools, decorative objects
4 types of ground stone tools
axes/adzes, hammerstones, projectile points, mortar/pestle
3 methods of analyzing stone tool manufacture
lithic reconstruction, experimental archaeology, ethnoarchaeology
A method of analyzing the reduction pattern of flaking on chipped stone tools by attempting to backtrack how the flakes were removed
lithic reconstruction
To attempt to reproduce a known form using hypothetical techniques
experimental archaeology
Observe how stone tool using societies today manufacture stone tools
4 methods of analyzing function of stone tools
use-wear (microwear)analysis, residue analysis, experimental archaeology, ethnoarchaeology
Microscopic examination of the polish found on the used edge of a stone tool
use-wear (microwear) analysis
Chemical analysis of organic or other material
residue analysis
3 general categories of ceramics
pottery, tablets, figurines
what is the finest-grain clay used in ceramics?
any fine-grained earth that develops plasticity when mixed in water
Materials added to clay in order to provide for more even heating during firing
3 types of temper
plant fiber, shell, ground igneous rock/limestone (grit)
clay and temper and anything else that is added are referred to as the ____ or ____
fabric, paste
6 methods of pottery manufacture
wheel, coil, slab, paddle/anvil, mold, pinch
Take slabs of clay and pinch them together to shape the pot
slab method of pottery manufacture
Press and shape your pot with a flattened tool into the shape you want
paddle/anvil method of pottery manufacture
Use a previous pottery vessel as a mold on which your clay is shaped
mold method of pottery manufacture
5 methods of decorating ceramics
incising, punctate/embossing, cording, dentate stamping, paint/slips
Plant fibers woven into nets, impressed on pottery
Push stick out from inside to create raised bumps
Push stick in from outside to make series of punctures
3 major methods of firing
reducing, oxidizing, open
Less oxygen, which leads to blackening effect (e.g., burying)
More oxygen, which leads to reddening effect
Uncontrolled oxygen, leads to uneven red and black coloring called “fire clouds”
reducing color is...
oxidizing color is...
open color is... and black
3 methods of ceramic lab analysis
x-ray, ceramic thin section, residue analysis
Can identify gross method of manufacture of ceramics
Microscopic analysis of a thin cross-section of pottery
ceramic thin section
Analysis of material remains that adhere to or absorb into the interior surface of a pot
residue analysis
ceramic-thin section used to examine these 3 things
temper, clay, manufacture method
7 most common materials in organic artifacts
bone, sinew, antler, hide, shell, wood, plant fiber
4 methods of organic artifact manufacture
broken, split, fractured, but
2 parts of hide processing
scraping, tanning
traditional methods of tanning use ___ or ____
animal brains, urine
wood, bone, and antler ate often used as ___ or ____ tools
processing, hunting
shell is often used for ____ or _____
decoration, tool for decoration
4 processing tools
flesher, antler tine pressure flaker, bison scapula hoe, awls
sinew is used almost exclusively as ____and _____
glue, binding
do not owe form to human behaviors unless they are a byproduct
what 2 methods are helpful in determining whether a bone is an artifact or ecofact?
residue, use/wear analysis

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