This is the Archaeological Adventure Glossary. Here, you can find the meanings to words read in our articles and other sources.
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Absolute Dating - Giving an object a specific place on a specific time scale. Example: 2000 BC
Aerial Thermography - Uses differences in the radiation of heat from the ground to determine where burial sites are located.
Alluvium - Soil that is deposited by running water
Anthropology - The study of human beings from all aspects (cultural, biological, etc.)
Antiquarian - One who studies the past as a hobby rather than as a profession.
Archaeologist - Researcher who studies ancient civilizations.
Archaeology The study of ancient civilizations with little or no written record.
Archaic - New World time period known for its permanent settlements and the transformation to an agrarian economy from one of hunting and gathering.
Artifact - an object found at an archaeological site that archaeologists use to understand ancient cultures.
Augering - Drilling in an area to determine information about a deposit or archeological site under ground.
Band - A small society based on equality which did not distinguish status based on sex. Mostly composed of hunters and gatherers.
Bowsing - A technique used to find information on a buried site. By striking the ground, pulses sent back are recorded and a map of the interior surface of the earth is created.
Carthage - African city-state which was Rome's rival during the early years of the Roman Republic. Rome finally destroyed Carthage's Empire after the Punic Wars.
Central Place Theory - A theory which states that human settlements will space themselves out evenly, based on the amount of resources in an area. Eventually, certain settlements will become central meeting places for a specific craft, trade, or product.
Classic - New Age time period known for the appearance of urban states in South America.
Constructed Feature - Something that is built to provide a setting for activities. Examples are homes, businesses, and temples.
Contract Archeology - Research performed under an agreement with the government of the country in which the artifacts are located.
Coprolite - Preserved dung which allows researchers to learn about the diets of humans from ancient times.
Coring - A type of drilling in which a column of earth is removed and can be studied.
Cultural Drift - Cultural change that is due to the improper passing on of information from the people in one region to those of another. Results in the eventual creation of a new culture.
Culture - Common beliefs and practices of a group of people.
Cuneiform - Earliest known writing system that was developed in Mesopotamia.
Debitage - Debris that remains from the manufacturing of stone tools.
Deity - A god.
Demotic - An ancient Egyptian dialect.
Diffusion - Transferring of ideas and culture from one region to another.
Egyptologist - An archaeologist who specializes in the study of Ancient Egyptian culture and architecture.
Ethnocentrism - The belief that one's culture is superior to all others.
Excavation digging up of archaeological site to uncover artifacts.
Field Walk - Process by which surface artifacts can be discovered before excavation occurs. This is a useful step in determining the potential of an archaeological site.
Geochronology - Aging of artifacts based on the age of the geological formations in which they are located.
Geography - The study of the earth's surface and its contours.
Geology - Study of the minerals and rocks which make up the crust of the earth.
Half-life - The amount of timenecessary for one-half of a given mass of a radioactive isotope to decay into another element.
Hieroglyphs - The pictographic symbols of ancient writing systems.
Lithic - A New World time period consisting of a hunting and gathering type society.
Looter - One who steals from archeological sites for personal gain.
Magnetometer - Instrument that detects changes in the earth's magnetic field.
Mastaba - Ancient Egyptian tomb used before the construction of the Pyramids.
Matrix - The material that archological artifacts are surrounded by before being excavated.
Mesolithic - Old World time description of transition between paleolithic and neolithic.
Midden - Accumulation of human debris casued by the transporting of debris from a region of high human concentration to one of very little inhabitance.
Mummy - A preserved body wrapped in cloth. Ancient Egyptians mummified their dead, believing it was necessary for them to enter the after-life.
Neolithic - Old World time period described by the development of farming and the use of manufactured tools.
Paleodemography - Study of ancient human populations.
Palynology - The study of pollen.
Patination - Reactions on the surfaces of certain minerals due to weathering.
Pedology - The study of soils.
Pertology - The study of rocks- a direct division of geology.
Pharaoh - Ancient Egyptian kings.
Pleistocene - Geological time period of glacial advances and retreats about 11,500 years ago.
Pyramid - Structure built by the Ancient Egyptians as tombs, and the Maya as temples.
Quarry - Location where humans mine minerals from.
Radiocarbon Dating - Using the known half-life of Carbon-14, the amount of undecayed carbon-14 is used in order to determine the age of an artifact.
Seriation - Technique in which artifacts are dated relatively to eachother without any strict assigning of adate.
Seven Wonders of the Ancient World - Seven structures and statues that were seen as magnificent and impressive to ancient people. The Seven Wonders included The Colossus of Rhodes, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Temple of Zeus at Olympus, the Temple of Artemis, the Mausoleum, the Pharos (Lighthouse), and the Great Pyramid at Giza.
Severus, Septimus - Ancient Roman ruler who rebuilt the city of Lepcis Magna.
Site Survey - A non-intrusive method of observing a site before excavation. There are many types of surveys, including resistivity, magnetic, Geophysical Diffraction Tomography (GDT), radar, and metal detection. These surveys allow archaeologists to see a buried site before excavating.
Strata - The layers of rock revealed after excavation or through natural weathering.
Topography - Study of land features at a site. This can be useful in determining the potential of an archaeological site for excavation.
Tomb - A structure, either above or underground, used to house a dead body.
Tribe - A group of people able to support a level of subsistence in a permanent settlement.
Varves - Layers of alluvium deposited by retreating glaciers.
Vizier - Ancient Egyptian prime minister.