copper: metallic copper found naturally in
nuggets, which can be worked by hammering, cutting,
natural levels (also "stratigraphic levels"): an
excavation level defined by the original stratigraphic
units of the site.
natural selection: the process whereby members
of a species who have more surviving offspring than
others pass their traits on to the next generation,
whereas the less favored do not do so to the same
negative eugenics: a method of eliminating
deleterious alleles from the gene pool by encouraging
persons with such alleles not to reproduce.
negative feedback: in systems thinking,
this is a process which acts to counter or "dampen" the
potentially disruptive effects of external inputs;
it acts as a stabilizing mechanism (see homeostasis).
negative reciprocity: an exchange between
enemies or strangers in which each side tries to
get the better end of the bargain.
neocortex: a gray covering on the cerebrum
of some vertebrates; the site of higher mental processes.
Neolithic Revolution: a term coined by V.G.
Childe in 1941 to describe the origin and consequences
of farming (i.e. the development of stock raising
and agriculture), allowing the widespread development
of settled village life.
Neolithic: an Old World chronological period
characterized by the development of agriculture and,
hence, an increasing emphasis on sedentism.
neolocal residence: residence of a married
couple in a new household established apart from
both the husband's and the wife's kin.
neoteny hypothesis: a theory of evolutionary
change which holds that organisms in a group maintain
younger characteristics of ancestral groups while
becoming sexually mature during what was previously
an infantile or juvenile stage of development; also,
the retarded development of specific characteristics.
nephrite: a hard fibrous green to white
rock often used for the manufacture of adze-blades.
Commonly called jade.
net sinker (also "net weight", "sinker"):
a rock used to submerge a fishing net. May be grooved,
notched or perforated.
network: a web of social ties of various
neutron activation analysis (NAA): a method
used in the analysis of artifact composition which
depends on the excitation of the nuclei of the atoms
of a sample's various elements, when these are bombarded
with slow neutrons. The method is accurate to about
plus or minus 5 percent.
neutron scattering: a remote sensing technique
involving the placing of a probe into the soil in
order to measure the relative rates of neutron flows
through the soil. Since stone produces a lower count
rate than soil. buried features can often be detected.
New Archaeology: a new approach advocated
in the 1960s which argued for an explicitly scientific
framework of archaeological method and theory, with
hypotheses rigorously tested, as the proper basis
for explanation rather than simply description (see
also processual archaeology).
New World semibrachiation: a locomotor pattern
involving extensive use of the hands and prehensile
tail to suspend and propel the body; seen in species
niche: the environmental requirements and
tolerances of a species; sometimes seen as a species' "profession" or
what it does to survive.
NISP (number of identified specimens): a
gross counting technique used in the quantification
of animal bones. The method may produce misleading
results in assessing the relative abundance of different
species, since skeletal differences and differential
rates of bone preservation mean that some species
will be represented more than others.
nocturnal: being primarily active at night.
nomadic pastoralism: the strategy of moving
the herds that are one's livelihood from pasture
to pasture as the seasons and circumstances require.
non-equilibrium systems: see self-organization.
non-probabilistic sampling: a non-statistical
sampling strategy (in contrast to probabilistic sampling)
which concentrates on sampling areas on the basis
of intuition, historical documentation, or long field
experience in the area.
nondisjunction: an error of meiosis in which
the members of a pair of chromosomes move to the
same pole rather than to opposite poles.
nonunilineal descent group: a kin group
in which descent may be traced through either parent
or through both.
nonverbal communication: the various means
by which humans send and receive messages without
using words (e.g., gestures, facial expressions,
nouveau riche: people with newly acquired
norm: the most frequent behavior that the
members of a group will show in a specific situation.
Notharctinaet: subfamily of the Adapidae,
found primarily in North America.
notochord: a cartilaginous rod that runs
along the back (dorsal) of all chordates at some
point in their life cycle.
nuchal crest: a flange of bone in the occipital
region of the skull that serves as the attachment
of the nuchal musculature of the back of the neck.
nuchal muscle: the muscle in the back of
the neck that functions to hold the head up. In primates
with heavy facial skeletons, the large nuchal muscle
attaches to a nuchal crest.
nuclear DNA (nDNA): DNA found within the
nucleus of the cell.
nuclear family household: an independent
family unit formed by a monogamous union.
nuclear membrane: a structure that binds
the nucleus within the cell.
nucleation: the tendency of populations
to cluster in settlements of increasing size and
nucleic acid: the largest of the molecules
found in living organisms; composed of chains of
nucleotide: the basic building block of
nucleic acids; composed of a five-carbon sugar (either
ribose or deoxyribose), a phosphate, and a nitrogenous
base (either a purine or pyrimidine).
nucleus: a structure found in the cell that
contains the chromosomes.
nursery unit: among chimpanzees, a group
of several family units (mothers with offspring)
and sometimes females without infants.
obesity: a condition in which a person's
weight is 20 percent greater than a sex- and age-specific
obsidian hydration dating: this technique
involves the absorption of water on exposed surfaces
of obsidian; when the local hydration rate is known,
the thickness of the hydration layer, if accurately
measured, can be used to provide an absolute date.
obsidian: a volcanic glass whose ease of
working and characteristically bard flintlike edges
allowed it to be used for the making of tools.
occipital condyles: two rounded projections
on either side of the foremen magnum that fit into
a pair of sockets on the top of the spine, thus articulating
the skull with the spine.
occipital torus: a horizontal bar of bone
seen above the angularity in the occipital.
ochre: iron oxide or hematite. Color is
commonly reddish-brown to yellow. Used as a natural
off-site data: evidence from a range of
-information, including scatters of artifacts and
features such as plowmarks and field boundaries,
that provides important evidence about human exploitation
of the environment.
Old World semibrachiation: a locomotor pattern
involving extensive use of the hands in leaping;
seen in basically quadrupedal animals.
Oldowan industry: the earliest toolkits,
comprising flake and pebble tools, used by hominids
in the Olduvai Gorge, East Africa.
olfactory: referring to the sense of smell.
Oligopithecidae: family represented by a
single specimen from the Early Oligocene of the Fayum,
omnivorous: eating both meat and vegetable
Omomyidae: family of Eocene and Oligocene
primates, showing some resemblance to the tarsiers,
found in North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.
one-male group: a social unit consisting
of a single male associated with several females.
ontogeny: the processes of growth and development
of the individual from conception to death.
ontology: the study of ontogeny.
oogenesis: the production of ova.
open-area excavation: the opening up of
large horizontal areas for excavation, used especially
where single period deposits lie close to the surface
as, for example, with the remains of American Indian
or European Neolithic long houses.
open: a characteristic of language that
refers to the expansionary nature of language, which
enables people to coin new labels for new concepts
operator: a site in the operon to which
a repressor can bind, shutting off transcription
of structural genes in the operon.
operon: a group of genes all controlled
by the same regulatory gene.
opposable thumb: an anatomical arrangement
in which the fleshy tip of the thumb can touch the
fleshy tip of all the fingers.
optical emission spectrometry (OES): a technique
used in the analysis of artifact composition, based
on the principle that electrons, when excited (i.e.
heated to a high temperature), release light of a
particular wavelength. The presence or absence of
various elements is established by examining the
appropriate spectral line of their characteristic
wavelengths. Generally, this method gives an accuracy
of only 25 percent and has been superseded by ICPS
(inductively coupled plasma emission spectrometry).
ordeal: a painful and possibly life-threatening
test inflicted on someone suspected of a wrongdoing.
order: a major division of a class, consisting
of closely related families.
Oreopithecidae: specialized hominoid from
the Late Miocene of Europe.
organic solidarity: the unity of a society
formed of dissimilar, specialized groupings, each
having a restricted function (Durkheim).
orthognathous: describes a face that is
relatively vertical as opposed to being prognathous.
orthograde: vertical posture.
ossification: the process of bone formation.
osteodontokeratic culture: an archaeological
culture based upon tools made of bone, teeth, and
osteology: the study of bones.
ostracum: fragments (as of pottery) containing
inscriptions. The singular is "ostraca."
outgroup: in a cladistic analysis, a group
of species that are closely related to the species
being studied and are used to differentiate between
shared derived and ancestral derived features.
outwash channel: a stream valley formed
by glacial melt-water.
outwash deposit: fluvial sediments laid
down by glacial melt-water.
ovulation: the point during the female reproductive
cycle, usually the midpoint, when the ovum has matured
and breaks through the wall of the ovary.
ovum: a female gamete.
paleoanthropology: the study of the fossil
record and archaeology.
paleoecology: the study of the relationship
of extinct organisms or groups of organisms to their
paleoentomology: the study of insects from
archaeological contexts. The survival of insect exoskeletons,
which are quite resistant to decomposition, is an
important source of evidence in the reconstruction
paleoenvironments: past environmental/climatic
paleoethnobotany (archaeobotany): the recovery
and identification of plant remains from archaeological
contexts, important in the reconstruction of past
environments and economies.
paleoindian: a term most frequently applied
to early projectile point "cultures" of North America
(e.g. Clovis, Folsom, Cody, etc.).
Paleolithic: the archaeological period before
c.10,000 BC, characterized by the earliest known
stone tool manufacture.
paleomagnetism: see archaeomagnetic dating.
paleontologists: experts on animal life
of the distant past.
paleontology: that specialized branch of
physical anthropology that analyzes the emergence
and subsequent evolution of human physiology.
paleopathology: the study of the evidence
of trauma and disease in fossilized skeletons.
paleosol: "old soil." buried soil horizons
indicative of past soil conditions different from
that presently prevailing.
paleospecies: a group of similar fossils
whose range of morphological variation does not exceed
the range of variation of a closely related living
palisade (also "stockade"): a fence formed
of vertical posts placed side-by-side. Usually intended
for defensive purposes.
palynology: the analysis of fossil pollen
as an aid to the reconstruction of past vegetation
pangenesis: an early and inaccurate idea
that acquired characteristics of parents are transmitted
to their offspring.
Panidae: family within the superfamily Hominoidea
that consists of the common chimpanzee, bonobo, and
paradigmatic view: approach to science,
developed by Thomas Kuhn, which holds that science
develops from a set of assumptions (paradigm) and
that revolutionary science ends with the acceptance
of a new paradigm which ushers in a period of normal
parallel cousins: mother's sisters' children
and father's brothers' children.
parallel evolution: see parallelism.
parallel flaking: regular sized parallel
sided flakes removed from stone artifacts.
parallelism: a condition in which homoplastic
similarities are found in related species that did
not exist in the common ancestor. However, the common
ancestor provided initial commonalities that gave
direction to the evolution of the similarities.
Parapithecoidea: suborder of the order Primates
consisting of Early Oligocene primates from the Fayum,
parietal art: a term used to designate art
on the walls of caves and shelters, or on huge blocks.
participant observation: actual participation
in a culture by an investigator, who seeks to gam
social acceptance in the society as a means to acquire
understanding of her or his observations.
pastoralism: a form of social organization
based on herding.
patination (patina): crust formed on an
artifact by chemical alteration of its surface or
accretion of calcium carbonate.
patriclan: a group that claims but cannot
brace their descent through the male line from a
common male ancestor.
patrilineage: a lineage whose members brace
their genealogies through specified male links to
a common male ancestor.
patrilineal descent group: a unilineal descent
group in which membership is inherited through the
patrilineal descent: descent traced through
the male line.
patrilocal postmarital residence: a custom
where by a married couple resides in the household
or vicinity of the husband's parents.
patrilocal residence: residence of a married
couple with or near the husband's kin.
patrimonial system: a system of ownership,
followed in northern and central Europe during the
Middle Ages, in which land was controlled by feudal
lords who held their domains by hereditary right.
patron client relationship: a mutually obligatory
arrangement between an individual who has authority,
social status, wealth, or some other personal resource
(the patron) and another person who benefits from
his or her support or influence (the client).
peasants: farmers who lack control over
the means of their production--the land, the other
resources, and the capital they need to grow their
crops, and the labor they contribute to the process.
pebble tool: a natural rounded pebble manufactured
into a simple cutting tool by the removal of a few
percussion flakes, usually unifacially on one edge.
pecking (also "pecking and grinding"): the
process of manufacturing heavy-duty stone tools (bowls,
mauls etc.) from granular rocks by prolonged hammering
with a hammerstone. Abrasive techniques might be
used to finish the piece.
pedestal: a raised area isolated around
important excavated materials to facilitate their
pedigree: a diagrammatic reconstruction
of past mating in a family.
pedology: the scientific study and classification
peer-polity interaction: the full range
of exchanges taking place -- including imitation,
emulation, competition, warfare, and the exchange
of material goods and information -- between autonomous
(self-governing) sociopolitical units, generally
within the same geographic region.
pendant: any ornamental object designed
penetrance: the degree to which an allele
is expressed in the phenotype.
pentadactylism: the presence of five digits
on the hand and/or foot.
peptide bond: a link between amino acids
in a protein.
percussion flaking (also "direct percussion
flaking"): the technique of shaping stone
artifacts by removing flakes with direct blows with
a hammer of stone, antler, or wood.
pericentric inversion: a type of inversion
in which two breaks occur in a chromosome, one on
either side of the centromere, and the centerpiece
becomes fumed around and rejoined with the two outside
periglacial phenomena (also "cryoturbation"):
a general term for disturbance of surficial deposits
caused by frost action. Most prevalent in areas of
permafrost and can be very damaging to archaeological
period: a unit of geological time; a division
of an era.
peripheralization: the process whereby an
adolescent animal encounters aggressive behavior
from adults and gradually moves away from the group
permanent teeth The second set of teeth
that erupt in mammals. Humans have thirty-two permanent
petrified wood: agatized wood, sometimes
used as a raw material for the manufacture of flaked
stone artifacts. Often banded or laminated and of
petroglyph: pictures, symbols, or other
art work pecked, carved or incised on natural rock
pH: The measurement of acidity or alkalinity.
A pH of 7 is neutral; less than 7 is acid; greater
than 7 is basic or alkaline.
phase (also "focus"): a chronologically
limited cultural unit within a local culture sequence,
characterized by sufficient diagnostic traits to
set it apart from all other units. A phase is generally
represented by 2 or more components in several sites
and is the basic classificatory unit of archaeological "cultures".
phenotype: the observable and measurable
characteristics of an organism.
phenylketonuria (PKU): a genetic disease,
inherited as a recessive, brought about by the absence
of the enzyme responsible for the conversion of the
amino acid phenylalanine to tyrosine. Phenylalanine
accumulates in the blood and then breaks down into
by-products that cause severe mental retardation
in addition to other symptoms.
phenylthiocarbamide (PTC): an artificially
created substance whose main use is in detecting
the ability to taste it. The ability to taste PTC
is inherited as a dominant.
phoneme: a class of sounds that differ slightly
from one another but that may be substituted for
one another without any change of meaning.
phonology: the sound system of a language.
phosphate unit: a unit of the DNA molecule
consisting of a phosphate and four oxygen atoms.
photo-mosaic: a number of overlapping photographs
glued together to provide continuous coverage of
a large area. Aerial photographic mosaics are used
in the production of modern topographic maps.
photogrammetry: the science of obtaining
accurate measurements and maps from photographs.
phratry: a group that typically consists
of several clans that extend the rights and obligations
of kinship to one another but retain distinct identities.
phyletic gradualism model: the idea that
evolution is a slow process with gradual transformation
of one population into another.
phyllite: a soft laminated shale-like rock
used for the manufacture of decorative objects such
as pendants and beads.
phylogenetic tree: a graphic representation
of evolutionary relationships among animal species.
phylogeny: the evolutionary history of a
phylum: a major division of a kingdom, consisting
of closely related classes; represents a basic body
physical anthropology: the scientific study
of the physical characteristics, variability, and
evolution of the human organism.
physical environment: the complex of inanimate
elements that surround an organism.
phytoliths: minute particles of silica derived
from the cells of plants, able to survive alter the
organism has decomposed or been burned. They are
common in ash layers, pottery, and even on stone
pictograph: aboriginally painted designs
on natural rock surfaces. Red ochre is the most frequently
used pigment and natural or abstract motifs may be
pidgin: a language based on a simplified
grammar and lexicon taken from one or more fully
piece esquillee (fr. "splintered piece"):
a type of flaked stone artifact manufactured by the
bipolar percussion technique. Generally characterized
by a lenticular or wedge-shaped cross-section; opposed
bifacial crushing, battering and hinge-fracturing;
and frequently relatively long columnar "blade-like" flake
pinger (or boomer profiler): an underwater
survey device, more powerful than sidescan sonar,
capable of probing up to 60 m (197 ft) below the
pipestone: any soft stone used in the manufacture
of aboriginal smoking pipes.
piston corer: a device for extracting columns
of sediment from the ocean floor. Dates for the different
layers are obtained by radiocarbon, archaeomagnetic,
or uranium series methods.
pithouse: a semi-subterranean "earth-lodge" dwelling.
Usually consisted of an earth-covered log framework
roof over a circular to rectangular excavation.
placenta: an organ that develops from fetal
membranes and functions to pass oxygen, nutrients,
and other substances to and waste material from the
placental mammals: members of the infraclass
Eutheria of the class Mammalia; mammals that form
placoderm: a member of the extinct class
of early jawed vertebrates.
plane-table mapping: the construction of
small-scale topographic maps, on the site, by use
of an alidade, plane-table, and stadia-rod.
plane-table: a small drawing table mounted
on a tripod in such a way that it can be leveled
and rotated. Provides the base for the alidade in
plasma membrane: a structure that binds
the cell but allows for the entry and exit of certain
plasma: the liquid portion of the blood
containing salts, sugars, fats, amino acids, hormones,
plasma, proteins, etc.
plastic arts: those forms of art such as
sculpture, carving, pottery, and weaving.
plate tectonics: the theory that the surface
of the earth is divided into a number of plates that
move in relationship to each other. Some of these
plates carry the continents.
platelets: cell fragments in the blood that
function in blood clotting.
plating: a method of bonding metals together,
for instance silver with copper or copper with gold.
platycephalic: having a low and relatively
platyrrhine nose: a nose in which the nostrils
open sideways and are usually separated by a broad
nasal septum; characteristic of the New World monkeys.
Platyrrhini: infraorder of the order Primates
that includes the New World monkeys and various New
World fossil taxa.
play group: a group of juveniles within
a larger social unit that engage in play behavior.
play: energetic and repetitive activity
engaged in primarily by infants and juveniles.
pleiotropy: a situation in which a single
allele may affect an entire series of traits.
Pleistocene: the latest major geological
epoch, colloquially known as the "Ice Age" due to
the multiple expansion and retreat of glaciers. Ca.
3.000,000-10,000 years B.P.
plesiomorphic: in cladistics, this term
describes primitive or generalized characteristics
that arose early in the evolutionary history of a
taxonomic group. These will be very widespread and
will therefore not help in dividing the group into
pneumatized: the presence of air spaces
within some bones of the skull.
point mutation: an error at a particular
point on the DNA molecule.
polar bodies: cells that develop in oogenesis,
contain little cytoplasm, and do not develop into
political economy approach: assumes that
I peasants rationally calculate the advantages.
politics: the process by which a community's
decisions are made, rules for group behavior are
established, competition for positions of leadership
is regulated, and the disruptive effects of disputes
polity: a politically independent or autonomous
social unit, whether simple or complex, which may
in the case of a complex society (such as a state)
comprise many lesser dependent components.
pollen analysis: see palynology.
polyandry: marriage between one woman and
two or more men simultaneously.
polygamy: plural marriage.
polygenic: the result of the interaction
of several genes.
polygyny: marriage between one man
and two or more women simultaneously.
polymorphism: the presence of several distinct
forms of a gene or phenotypic trait within a population
with frequencies greater than 1 percent.
polypeptide: a chain of amino acids.
polyphyodonty: the continuous replacement
of teeth such as occurs in reptiles.
polytheism: belief in many gods.
polytypic: a situation in which a species
is composed of several distinct populations.
Pongidae: family within the superfamily
Hominoidea that consists of the orangutan.
populationist viewpoint: the concept that
only individuals have reality and that the type is
illusory. Since no two individuals are exactly alike,
variation underlies all existence.
positive eugenics: a method of increasing
the frequency of desirable traits by encouraging
reproduction by individuals with these traits.
positive feedback: a term used in systems
thinking to describe a response in which changing
output conditions in the system stimulate further
growth in the input; one of the principal factors
in generating system change or morphogenesis (see
also multiplier effect).
positivism: theoretical position that explanations
must be empirically verifiable, that there are universal
laws in the structure and transformation of human
institutions, and that theories which incorporate
individualistic elements, such as minds, are not
post-contact period (also "historic period"):
refers to the period following the first arrival
post-mold: the impression, stain, or cavity,
left in the ground by a rotted wooden post.
post-partum sex taboo: the prohibition of
a woman from having sexual intercourse for a specified
period of time following the birth of a child.
postmating mechanism: any form of reproductive
isolation that occurs after mating.
postorbital bar: a feature of the skull
formed by a downward extension of the frontal bone
that supports the eye.
postorbital constriction: as seen from the
top view, a marked constriction in the skull immediately
behind the orbits and supraorbital torus.
postorbital septum: a bony petition behind
the eye that isolates the eye from the muscles of
the jaw and forms a bony eye socket, or orbit, in
which the eye lies.
postprocessual explanation: Explanation
formulated in reaction to the perceived limitations
of functional-processual archaeology. It eschews
generalization in favor of an "individualizing" approach
that is influenced by structuralism, Critical Theory,
and neo-Marxist thought.
pot-hunter: an "amateur archaeologist" who
vandalizes and destroys sites to add to his private
collection, or for monetary gain.
pot-lid fracture: a circular flake removed
from cryptocrystalline materials by sudden heating.
Leaves a small saucer-shaped depression in the surface
of the stone.
potassium argon dating: a chronometric dating
technique based on the rate of decay of potassium
40 to argon 40. Used to date rocks up to thousands
of millions of years old though it is restricted
to volcanic material no more recent than c 100 000
years old. One of the most widely used methods in
the dating of early hominid sites in Africa.
potlatch: a form of competitive giveaway
found among the Northwest Coast American Indians
that serves as a mechanism for both achieving social
status and distributing goods.
power grip: a grip in which an object is
held between the fingers and the palm with the thumb
reinforcing the fingers.
power: the ability to exert influence because
one's directives are backed by negative sanctions
of some sort.
pre-ceramic period: the period prior to
the introduction of ceramic artifacts.
pre-contact: refers to the period before
the first arrival of europeans in a given area.
Pre-Wisconsinan: prior to the Wisconsinan
glacial period or older than about 70,000 B.P.
preadaptation: the potential to adapt to
a new niche.
prebendal system: a system of ownership
common in the centralized bureaucratic states that
arose in China, Mogul India, Peru, and the Ottoman
Empire, in which land was temporarily assigned to
administrators or tax collectors by the ruler.
precision handling: a situation in which
an object is held between one or more fingers with
the thumb fully opposed to the fingertips.
preform: an early preliminary stage in the
reduction-manufacture of a flaked stone artifact.
prehensile tail: a tail found in some New
World monkeys that has the ability to grasp.
prehistoric: the period prior to written
records for any given area. In North America synonymous
prehistory: the period of human history
before the advent of writing.
premating mechanism: a form of reproductive
isolation that prevents mating from occurring.
prenatal: the period of an individual's
life cycle from conception to birth.
presenting: a behavior in which a subordinate
primate shows his or her anal region to a dominant
preservation potential: the probability
of a bone's being preserved after death.
pressure flaking: the technique of shaping
tools from cryptocrystalline or fine-grained rocks
by pressing off small concoidal flakes by flaking.tools
of antler or bone.
prestige goods: a term used to designate
a limited range of exchange goods to which a society
ascribes high status or value.
primary center of ossification: the area
of first appearance of bone within the cartilage
model of a long bone.
primary context: the original depositional
situation, unaffected by any later disturbance.
primary deposit: a primary deposit is a
body of sediments which have not been significantly
disturbed since their original deposition.
primary flakes: the first series of flakes
removed from a core or nucleus in the process of
Primates: order of the class Mammalia that
includes the living prosimians, tarsiers, New World
monkeys, Old World monkeys, lesser apes, great apes,
primatology: the study of living nonhuman
primitive valuables: a term coined by Dalton
to describe the tokens of wealth and prestige, often
of specially valued items, that were used in the
ceremonial exchange systems of non-state societies;
examples include the shell necklaces and bracelets
of the kula systems (cf. prestige goods).
primitive: a derogatory term used to describe
small-scale, preliterate, and technologically simple
prion: a microscopic particle that causes
nervous system diseases in nonhuman animals and has
been implicated as the cause of kuru. The prion appears
to be composed of protein and lacks any nucleic acid.
probabilistic sampling: sampling method,
employing probability theory, designed to draw reliable
general conclusions about a site or region, based
on small sample areas. Four types of sampling strategies
are recognized: (1) simple random sampling;
(2) stratified random sampling; (3) systematic sampling;
(4) stratified systematic sampling.
processors: hunter-gatherers who occupy
one permanent settlement, from which they move to
temporary camps to exploit seasonally available resources
(a foraging pattern).
processual archaeology: an approach that
stresses the dynamic relationship between social
and economic aspects of culture and the environment
as the basis for understanding the processes of culture,
change. Uses the scientific methodology of problem
statement, hypothesis formulation, and subsequent
testing. The earlier functional-processual archaeology
has been contrasted with cognitive-processual archaeology,
where the emphasis is on integrating ideological
and symbolic aspects.
Proconsulidae: Miocene hominoids from Africa.
production: the conversion of natural resources
to usable forms.
productive life span: the period bounded
by the culturally established ages at which a person
ideally enters and retires from the work force.
productivity: the amount of work a person
accomplishes in a given period of time.
profane: the sphere of the ordinary and
routine; the everyday, natural world.
profile drawing: a precise scale drawing
of the strata and horizons revealed in the walls
of an excavation or other exposure. A section which
has been drawn is said to have been "profiled".
profile: a section, or exposure of the ground,
showing depositional or developmental strata or horizons.
prognathism: a jutting forward of the facial
skeleton and jaws.
projectile point: An inclusive term for
arrow, spear or dart-points. Characterized by a symmetrical
point, a relatively thin cross-section and some element
to allow attachment to the projectile shaft. Flaked
stone projectile points are usually classified by
their outline form.
prokaryote: a cell, more primitive than
a eukaryote, having no nucleus. Prokaryotes include
bacteria and blue-green algae.
pronograde: a posture in which the body
is held parallel to the ground.
Propliopithecidae: family of the infraorder
Catarrhini from the Middle Oligocene to Late Miocene
of Africa and Europe that may have given rise to
the Old World monkeys and the hominoids.
prosimians: members of the suborder Prosimii,
including the living Madagascar lemuriformes and
the lorises, potto, angwantibo, and galagos.
Prosimii: suborder of the order Primates
that includes the living Madagascar lemuriformes
and the lorises, potto, angwantibo, and galagos.
protein-caloric malnutrition: a class of
malnutrition that includes kwashiorkor and marasmus.
protein: a long chain of amino acids joined
together by peptide bonds (a polypeptide chain).
protoculture: the simplest or beginning
aspects of culture as seen in some nonhuman primates.
protohistoric: a period prior to the beginning
of written records in an area, but after that area
has been initially mentioned in reports written elsewhere.
proton magnetometer: a device used in subsurface
detection which records variation in the earth's
prototherian mammals: mammals belonging
to the subclass Prototheria; monotremes or egg-laying
provenience: the horizontal and/or vertical
position of an object in relation to a set of spatial
provisional site designation: a temporary
code or number applied to newly located sites during
site-surveying, until a final Borden System number
can be assigned.
provisionized colony: groups of free-ranging
primates that have become accustomed to humans because
of the establishment of feeding stations.
proxemics: the study of human perception
and use of space in communication and social relations.
proximal: the portion of an artifact or
bone closest to the body of the user or "owner".
pseudo-archaeology: the use of selective
archaeological evidence to promulgate nonscientific,
fictional accounts of the past.
psychic unity: a concept popular among some
nineteenth-century anthropologists that assumed that
all people when operating under similar circumstances
will think and behave in similar ways.
psychological anthropology: the study of
the relationship between culture and individual personality.
ptyalin: a digestive enzyme found in saliva
that begins the digestion of starches in the mouth.
puberty: an event in the life cycle that
includes rapid increase in stature, development of
sex organs, and development of secondary sexual characteristics.
pubic symphysis: the area of the pelvis
at which the two innominates join.
punctuated equilibria: principal feature
of the evolutionary theory propounded by Niles Eldredge
and Stephen J. Gould, in which species change is
represented as a form of Darwinian gradualism "punctuated" by
periods of rapid evolutionary change.
purdah: the Muslim or Hindu practice of
keeping women hidden from men outside their own family;
or, a curtain, veil, or the like used for such a
purine: a base found in nucleic acids that
consists of two connected rings of carbon and nitrogen;
in DNA and RNA, adenine and guanine.
pyrimidine: base found in nucleic acids
that consists of a single ring of carbon and nitrogen;
in DNA, thymine and cytosine, and in RNA, uracil
pyrotechnology: the intentional use and
control of fire by humans.
quadrant: generally refers to one-quarter
of an excavation unit or level, e.g. "the northwest
quadrant of excavation unit N. 2-4, E. 4-6".
quadrat: a rectangular sampling unit.
quadrupedalism: locomotion on four limbs.
quarry site: a site where lithic raw materials
have been mined.
quartz-crystal: pure silicate rock-crystal.
Usually perfectly clear with six crystal surfaces.
May be used as a raw material for lithic tool manufacture.
quartzite: a granular stone formed of fused
quartz grains. Commonly white, yellow or red. Used
as a raw material, for flaked stone tools.