Exam 2 Vocabulary Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Exam 2 Vocabulary Deck (57):

Archaeological Site

Any place where material evidence exists about the human past.


Settlement Pattern

The distribution of archaeological sites across a region.


Global Positioning System (GPS)

Handheld devices that use triangulation from radio waves received from satellites to determine your current position in terms of either the UTM grid or latitude and longitude.


Remote Sensing

The use of some form of electromagnetic energy to detect and measure characteristics of an archaeological target.


Geographic Information System (GIS)

A computer program for storing, retrieving, analyzing, and displaying cartographic data.



An artifact’s location relative to a system of spatial data collection.



The relationship of an artifact, ecofact, or feature to other artifacts, ecofacts, features, and geographic strata in the site.


Datum Point

The zero point, a fixed reference used to keep control over the locations of artifacts, features, etc., on a dig; usually controls both the vertical and horizontal dimensions of provenience.


Site Formation

The human and natural actions that work together to create an archaeological site.


Law of Superposition

The geological principle that in any pile of sedimentary rocks that have not been disturbed by folding or overtuning, each bed is older than the layers above and younger than the layers below; also known as Steno’s Law.



Sediments that have undergone in situ chemical and mechanical alteration.


Reverse Stratigraphy

The result when a sediment is unearthed by human or natural actions and moved elsewhere in such a way that the latest material is deposited on the bottom of the new sediment and progressively earlier material is deposited higher and higher in the stratigraphy.


Systematic Context

A living behavioral system in which artifacts are part of an ongoing system of manufacture, use, reuse, and discard.


Archaeological Context

Once artifacts enter the ground, they became part of the archaeological context, where they can continue to be affected by human action but are also affected by natural processes.


Formation Processes

The ways in which human behaviors and natural actions operate to produce the archaeological record.


Absolute Date

A date expressed in specific units of scientific measurement, such as days, years, centuries, or millennia; absolute determinations attempting to pinpoint a discrete, known interval in time.


Relative Date

Dates expressed relative to one another (for instance, earlier, later, more recent) instead of in absolute terms.



The principle asserting that the processes now operating to modify the earth’s surface are the same processes that operated long ago in the geological past.



The study of how organisms become part of the fossil record; in archaeology, it primarily refers to the study of how natural processes produce patterning in archaeological data.



An archaeologist who analyzes and interprets plant remains from archaeological sites in order to understand past interactions between human populations and plants.



The study of fossil pollen grains and spores to reconstruct past climates and human behavior.


Antiquities Act

Passed in 1906, this act (1) requires federal permits before excavating or collecting artifacts on federal land, (2) established a permitting process, and (3) gave the president the authority to create national monuments.


National Historic Preservation Act

Passed in 1966, this act created (1) The National Register of Historic Places, (2) the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, and (3) State Historic Preservation Offices, as well as (4) a process to mitigate the impact of development; it also requires that government agencies provide good stewardship of their cultural resources.


Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA)

Passed in 1979, this act (1) prohibits the excavation or removal of artifacts from federal property without a permit, (2) prohibits the sale, exchange, or transport of artifacts acquired illegally from federal property, and (3) increased the penalties for violations of the act over those of the Antiquities Act.


UNESCO Convention of 1970

Requires that signers create legislation and the administrative structure to (1) regulate the import and export of cultural objects, (2) forbid their nations’ museums from acquiring illegally exported cultural objects, (3) establish ways to inform other nations when illegally exported objects are found within a country’s borders, (4) return or otherwise provide restitution of cultural objects stolen from public institutions, and (5) establish a register of art dealers and require them to register.



Any moveable object that has been used, modified, or manufactured by humans; artifacts include stone, bone, and metal tools; beads and other ornaments; pottery; art-work; religious and sacred items.



Plant or animal remains found at an archaeological site.



Nonportable archaeological evidence such as fire hearths, architectural elements, artifact clusters, garbage pits, and soil stains.


Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA)

Passed in 1990, this act (1) protects Indian graves on federal and tribal lands, (2) recognizes tribal authority over treatment of unmarked graves, (3) prohibits the commercial selling of native dead bodies, (4) requires an inventory and repatriation of human remains held by the federal government and institutions to return inappropriately acquired sacred objects and other important co mmunally owned property to native owners, (6) sets up a process to determine ownership of human remains found on federal and tribal property after November 16th, 1990.



A site’s physical structure produced by the deposition of geological and/or cultural sediments into layers, or strata.


Random Sample

A sample drawn from a statistical population such that every member of a population has an equal chance of being included in the sample.


Primary Context/Deposit

Archaeological materials have not been disturbed since they were left by ancient peoples.


Secondary Context/Deposit

Archaeological materials have been disturbed or moved prior to the archaeological investigation.


Target Event

The event you want to date.


Dated Event

The event you’re actually dating.


Gumshoe (Reconnaissance) Survey

Word of mouth; informed wandering; “luck”. Best way to find rare sites. You learn a lot about one site, but nobody only lives in one site.


Judgmental Sampling

Sample survey divided by intuition (or prior sample) to recover most information (reconn. Survey). Helps recover lots of artifacts/samples, and is good for research questions about different environments, but is highly biased, and you’re only likely to learn about certain site types.


Systematic Sampling

Studies a full range of human activity; settlement systems and patterns. Can avoid bias by studying settlement patterns on a regional scale.


Section 106

(of the NHPA) In projects that involve a federal lead agency, federal funding, or federal lands, you must determine if you will adversely affect properties included on or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.


Section 110

(of the NHPA) All government agencies must be good stewards of their cultural resources.



Correlate strata over large area based on similar fossil fauna/flora; artifacts=fossils.


Direct Dates

Taken from the object of interest.


Indirect Dates

Taken on materials associated with the object of interest.


Residue Analysis

Lipids (fatty acids like cholesterol) on ceramics preserve well because molecules get trapped in surface pores. Compare the position of the residue on the artifact to the composition of residues from modern foods. Distinguish between fish, corn, large herbivores, and vegetables.


Cultural Patrimony

An object having ongoing historical, traditional, or cultural importance central to the Native American group or culture itself.


Sacred Objects

Specific ceremonial objects which are needed by traditional Native American religious leaders for the practice of traditional Native American religions by hteir present day adherents.


Funerary Objects

Objects that, as a part of the death rite or ceremony of a culture, are reasonably believed to have been placed with individual human remains either at the time of death or later, where the remains are not in the possession or control of the Federal agency or museum.


Kennewick Man

The skeletal remains of a prehistoric man found on a bank of the Columbia River in Kennewick, Washington on July 28, 1996. It is one of the most complete ancient skeletons ever found; bone tests have shown it to date from 7300 to 7600 B.C. A stone projectile was found lodged in the man’s hip bone. His anatomical features were quite different from those of the modern Native Americans and his relationship to the ancient people is uncertain.



is a 1,700 to 2,700 year old Lower Elwha Klallam village on the Port Angeles, Washington waterfront, located at the base of Ediz Hook. A project for a graving dock discovered in 2004 that it had been sited to include the village's cemetery. Archaeological efforts have unearthed over 10,000 artifacts and more than 335 intact skeletons. The Washington State Department of Transportation decided to halt all construction efforts relating to the graving dock on December 21, 2004. As a result of a legal settlement, the tribe received $2.5 million to build a cultural center or museum on the site. The museum plans have to be developed, but the tribe is aiming for construction to begin around 2012.



The transition from nomadic lifestyle to a society which remains in one place permanently. Essentially, it means living in groups permanently in one place.


Deposit Model

A method of identifying the character and degree of survival of buried archaeological remains over a specified are without necessarily excavating the whole area.



A layer of soil, organic material, or rock which are no longer in the place where they were formed geologically but which have been redeposited away from their source.



Identifying where a particular raw material occurs naturally, such as the source of sediment for making pottery, or the stone used for making lithic tools.



Mineral or organic matter that is unconsolidated and on or near the land surface. A prerequisite for soil formation is the growth of vegetation.



Any ancient land surface buried and undisturbed under a structure or within a deposit.



The co-occurrence of two or more objects sharing the same general location and stratigraphic level and that are thought to have been deposited at approximately the same time.


Research Design

A carefully formulated and systematic plan for executing archaeological research.