Archeology, Archaeology

(a glossary of archeological terms particularly related to the field of research that can tell us about our origins and our remote past)

An image that has been pecked or engraved onto a rock wall.
A metal grating that could be dropped in front of the doorway of a medieval castle for defense purposes.
A fragment of a ceramic vessel.
The period of history in the Americas prior to the first contact by that was made by Christopher Columbus (A.D. 1492).

It is often used synonymously with "prehispanic".

The period of history in the Americas prior to the invasion by Spain in the 16th century.
The period of history in the Americas prior to the invasion by Spain in the 16th century.
That period of the human past that predates the emergence of writing systems.
radiocarbon dating
An absolute dating method developed by Willard Libby in 1949.

It takes advantage of the fact that all organic materials contain mesurable amounts of radioactive carbon (Carbon 14).

At death, the radiocarbon begins to disintegrate at a known rate. By measuring the amount of radioactive carbon left, scientists can determine how long ago the organism died.

The latest versions of the technique can date objects up to 70,000 years old.

An ancient Greek drinking or pouring horn or vessel, shaped usually in the form of an animal's head.
relative dating
Any system of dating that is not based on a calendrical system.

Often artifacts or sites are described as earlier or later than other artifacts or sites.

resistivity meter
A tool consisting of metal probes which have an electric current passed between them while they are inserted into the soil.

This instrument is used to measure the variable resistivity of soils; that is, the amount of resistance to the flow of electricity within it.

A soil’s resistivity is a product of the amount of moisture in the soil and its distribution. It varies considerably, and these variations can reflect the presence of buried archaeological features.

Ditches and pits, for example, hold a greater amount of moisture than the surrounding natural soil, and so they are less resistant; whereas, solid features like walls are more resistant.

Semitic languages
A group of languages that includes Akkadian, Arabic, Aramaic, Ethiopian, Hebrew, and Phoenician.
The term is used most often in Egypt and Mesopotamia.
Soapstone, a relatively soft stone that was valued for carving.
stela (s), stelae (pl)
An ancient upright stone slab bearing markings.

It was used as a commemorative, or for a similar function, on which was carved an inscription or other design.

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