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)

A large, relatively flat and treeless, grassland plain.
Stone Age
A generic term for that period of the human past in which stone, bone, and wood were the primary raw materials from which tools were made.

It covers the Paleolithic, Mesolithic, and Neolithic periods.

stratified excavation
Excavating an archeological site according to the natural or cultural strata in the site.
1. The interpretation of the vertical layering in an archeological site on a geological deposit that allows scientists to relatively date the artifacts or fossils in the layers (strata).
2. The study of layers, or strata, in the earth.

Borrowed from geology, stratigraphy assumes that older layers are generally found on the bottom. This means that artifacts found in the upper layers of an excavation are likely to be younger than those in the lower layers.

A pile of earth or other material commemorating Buddha, a sacred event or a sacred place.
A mound made from the accumulated building debris of collapsed ancient settlements.

The term is used most often in Egypt and Mesopotamia.

A megalithic structure composed of two upright stone pillars, topped by a horizontal slab.
typology (s) (noun), typologies (pl)
The classification of things into groups based on their similarity of characteristics or attributes: In the botany class, students were taught to recognize plants according to their typology of variegated leaf patterns and to organize them based on this information.
ya (or) years ago
In archeological dating, dates are measured from 1950, the period when radiocarbon dating became a practical tool in the archeologists arsenal.
ziggurat (s), ziggurats (pl)
In ancient Mesopotamia, a monumental pyramidal structure composed of brick or stone stories, or steps, of decreasing size built on top of each other which was built in the center of most major Babylonian cities.

Many ziggurats were dedicated to celestial gods; for example, the one at Ur, was dedicated to Su'en, the moon god.

As with many other ancient civilizations, Babylonian astronomy was a composition of religion, mythology, and astrology.

The priests were apparently the best-educated sector of the population; therefore, they were largely responsible for the development of Babylonian science, including astronomy.

The Babylonian empire lasted from about 2700 B.C. to 500 B.C., during which time the priests apparently did much to demystify astronomy and to put it on a scientific basis.

—Compiled from information located in
Astronomy, the World Book Encyclopedia of Science
World Book, Inc.; Chicago; 2000; page 15.

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