race: a subgroup of human population that shares
a greater number of physical traits with one another than
they do with those of other subgroups.
radioactive decay: the regular process by which
radioactive isotopes break down into their decay products
with a half-life which is specific to the isotope in question
(see also radiocarbon dating).
radiocarbon dating: an absolute dating method
based on the radioactive decay of Carbon-14 contained in
radioimmunoassay: a method of protein analysis
whereby it is possible to identify protein molecules surviving
in fossils which are thousands and even millions of years
radiometric dating: a type of chronometric dating
that involves methods based upon the decay of radioactive
materials; examples are radiocarbon and potassium-argon
raised beaches: these are remnants of former coastlines,
usually the result of processes such as isostatic uplift
or tectonic movements.
random sample: a sample in which each individual
in a population has the same chance of being selected as
range: see home range.
ranked societies: societies in which there is
unequal access to prestige and status e.g. chiefdoms and
rational economic decisions: the weighing of available
alternatives and calculation of which will provide the
most benefit at the least cost.
reaves: Bronze Age stone boundary walls, for instance
on Dartmoor, England, which may designate the territorial
extent of individual communities.
rebellion: an attempt within a society to disrupt
the status quo and redistribute the power and resources.
recessive: a genetically determined characteristic
that is expressed only in the homozygous recessive condition.
reciprocity: a mode of exchange in which transactions
take place between individuals who are symmetrically placed,
i.e. they are exchanging as equals, neither being in a
recombinant DNA: a technique for transferring
genetic material from one organism to another.
recombination: a mechanism of meiosis responsible
for each gamete's uniqueness. As the chromosomes line up
in metaphase, they can combine into several configurations.
reconnaissance survey: a broad range of techniques
involved in the location of archaeological sites, e.g.
the recording of surface artifacts and features, and the
sampling of natural and mineral resources.
red blood cell: see erythrocyte.
redistribution: a mode of exchange which implies
the operation of some central organizing authority. Goods
are received or appropriated by the central authority,
and subsequently some of them are sent by that authority
to other locations.
refitting: sometimes referred to as conjoining,
this entails attempting to put stone tools and flakes back
together again, and provides important information on the
processes involved in the knapper's craft.
refutationist view: approach which holds that
science consists of theories about the empirical world,
that its goal is to develop better theories, which is achieved
by finding mistakes in existing theories, so that it is
crucial that theories be falsifiable (vulnerable to error
and open to testing). The approach, developed by Karl Popper,
emphasizes the important of testability as a component
of scientific theories.
regional continuity model: a hypothesis which
states that modem H. sapiens had multiple origins from
existing local populations. Each local population of archaic
humans gave rise to a population of modem H. sapiens.
regulation of access to resources: control over
the use of land, water, and raw materials.
regulatory gene: a segment of DNA that functions
to initiate or block the function of another gene.
relative dating: the determination of chronological
sequence without recourse to a fixed time scale; e.g. the
arrangement of artifacts in a typological sequence, or
seriation (cf. absolute dating).
relative fitness (RF): the fitness of a
genotype compared with the fitness of another genotype
in the same gene system. Relative fitness is measured on
a scale of O to 1.
relativism: the concept that a cultural system
can be viewed only in terms of the principles, background,
frame of reference, and history that characterize it.
religion: a framework of beliefs relating to supernatural
or superhuman beings or forces that transcend the everyday
remote sensing: general term for reconnaissance
and surface survey techniques that leave subsurface archaeological
rent fund: the portion of the peasant budget allocated
to payment for the use of land and equipment.
replacement fund: the portion of the peasant budget
allocated to the repair or replacement of materials depleted
by normal wear and tear.
replacement model: a hypothesis which states that
modern H. sapiens evolved in Africa or Asia and radiated
out of one of these areas replacing archaic hominid populations.
replication: the experimental reproduction or
duplication of prehistoric artifacts in an attempt to better
understand how they were made and used in the past.
repressor protein: the product of a regulatory
gene that blocks the function of another gene.
reproductive isolating mechanism: a mechanism
that prevents reproduction from occurring between two populations.
reproductive population: a group of organisms
capable of successful reproduction.
reproductive risk: a measure expressed in terms
of the number of zygotes needed from a mating pair to produce
two offspring that will in turn reproduce.
rescue archaeology: see salvage archaeology.
research design: systematic planning of research,
usually including (1) the formulation of a strategy to
resolve a particular question; (2) the collection and recording
of the evidence; (3) the processing and analysis of these
data and their interpretation; and (4) the publication
resharpening flakes: usually small flakes removed
from the edges of chipped-stone cutting or scraping tools
to rejuvenate the effectiveness of the edge.
residual volume: the amount of air still remaining
in the lungs after the most forceful expiration.
resilience: the ability of an ecosystem to undergo
change while still maintaining its basic elements or relationships.
resistivity meter: see soil resistivity. Natural
accretions of manganese and iron oxides, together with
clay minerals and organic matter, which can provide valuable
environmental evidence. Their study, when combined with
radiocarbon methods, can provide a minimum age for some
landforms, and even some types of stone tool which also
resistivity: a means of detecting buried features
and areas of disturbance by measuring the resistance of
an electrical current passed through the ground.
restriction enzyme: an enzyme used to "cut" the
DNA molecule at specific sites; used in recombinant DNA
retina: the layer of cells in the back of the
eye that contains two types of cells, rods and cones, that
are sensitive to light.
retinoblastoma: a cancer of the retina of the
eye in children, inherited as a dominant.
retouch: the removal of small secondary flakes
along the edge of a lithic artifact to improve or alter
the cutting properties of that edge. Retouch flaking may
be bifacial or unifacial.
retouched flake: a stone flake which has had one
or more edges modified by the deliberate removal of secondary
revitalization movements: conscious efforts to
build an ideology that will be relevant to changing cultural
revolution: an attempt to overthrow the existing
form of political organization, the principles of economic
production and distribution, and the allocation of social
Rh blood-type system: a blood-type system consisting
of two major alleles. A mating between an Rh - mother and
Rh + father may produce in the infant the hemolytic disease
rhinarium: the moist naked area surrounding the
nostrils in most mammals; absent in most primates.
rhyolite: a fine-grained light colored volcanic
rock, chemically identical to obsidian. color may range
from white, through gray, and yellow to reddish-pink. Sometimes
used as a raw material for lithic tools.
ribonucleic acid A type of nucleic acid based
upon the sugar ribose; exists in cells as messenger RNA
and transfer RNA.
ribose: a five-carbon sugar found in RNA.
ribosome: a small, spherical body within the cytoplasm
of the cell in which protein synthesis takes place.
rimsherd: a fragment of the rim, or top edge,
of a ceramic vessel. important archaeologically since rims-herds
frequently show the greatest degree of stylistic variability.
rite of solidarity: any ceremony performed for
the sake of enhancing the level of social integration among
a group of people.
rites of intensification: rituals intended either
to bolster a natural process necessary to survival or to
reaffirm the society's commitment to a particular set of
values and beliefs.
rites of passage: rituals that mark a person's
transition from one set of socially identified circumstances
ritual: behavior that has become highly formalized
rock alignment: any artificial arrangement of
rocks or boulders into rows or other patterns.
rock-art: an inclusive term for petroglyphs and
rock-shelter: a shallow cave or rock overhang
large enough to have allowed human occupancy at some time.
rods: cells of the retina of the eye that are
sensitive to the presence or absence of light; function
in black-and-white vision. ~
role: a set of behavioral expectations appropriate
to an individual's social position.
sacred: the sphere of extraordinary phenomena
associated with awesome supernatural forces.
sagittal crest: a ridge of bone along the midline
of the top of the skull that serves for the attachment
of the temporalis muscle.
sagittal keel: a bony ridge formed by a thickening
of bone along the top of the skull; characteristic of H.
salvage archaeology (also "rescue archaeology",
or "crisis archaeology"): archaeological research carried
out to preserve or rescue sites, materials and data from
areas threatened by man-made or natural disturbance. The
most common type of archaeological fieldwork conducted
in North America at the present time.
sampling bias: the tendency of a sample to exclude
some members of the sampling universe and overrepresent
sampling error: in population genetics, the transmission
of a nonrepresentative sample of the gene pool over space
or time due to chance. See also founder principle and genetic
sampling unit: the sub-element of the total population
selected for sampling.
sampling universe: the largest entity to be described,
of which the sample is a part.
sampling: the probabilistic, systematic, or judgmental
selection of a sub-element from a larger population, with
the aim of approximating a representative picture of the
sanction: any means used to enforce compliance
with the rules and norms of a society.
Sapir-Whorf hypothesis: the notion that a person's
language shapes her or his perception and view of the world.
scarce resources: a central concept of Western
economics which assumes that people have more wants than
they have resources to satisfy them.
scarp: an escarpment, cliff or other steep slope,
such as the slope between fluvial terraces.
scent marking: marking territory by urinating
or defecating or by rubbing scent glands against trees
or other objects.
science: a method of reaming about the world by
applying the principles of the scientific method, which
includes making empirical observations, proposing hypotheses
to explain those observations, and testing those hypotheses
in valid and reliable ways; also refers to the organized
body of knowledge that results from scientific study.
scientific theory: a statement that postulates
ordered relationships among natural phenomena.
scientism: the belief that there is one and only
one method of science and that it alone confers legitimacy
upon the conduct of research.
scraper: a tool presumably used in scraping, scouring,
or planing functions. Most frequently refers to flaked
stone artifacts with one or more steep unifacially retouched
seasonal isolation: a form of reproductive isolation
in which the breeding seasons of two closely related populations
do not exactly correspond.
secondary burial: a human interment which was
moved and re-buried aboriginally.
secondary center of ossification: an area of ossification,
usually near the end of a long bone.
secondary datum: a local base measuring point
at a known distance from the main horizontal or vertical
secondary deposit: a body of natural or cultural
sediments which have been disturbed and re-transported
since their original deposition.
secondary retouch: finishing or resharpening flaking
done after the basic shape of a lithic tool has been completed.
secondary sexual characteristics: physical features
other than the genitalia that distinguish males from females
section: (1) a vertical cut (or exposure) through
a body of sediments or a feature. (2) a one-square mile
unit in the legal subdivision system.
sectorial premolar: a unicuspid first lower premolar
with a shearing edge.
secular trend: the tendency over the last hundred
or so years for each succeeding generation to mature earlier
and become, on the average, larger.
sedentary pastoralism: animal husbandry that does
not involve mobility.
sedentism: the practice of establishing a permanent,
sediment: material that was suspended in water
and that settles at the bottom of a body of water.
sedimentary beds: beds, or layers, of sediments;
also called strata.
sedimentation: the accumulation of geological
or organic material deposited by air, water, or ice.
sedimentology: a subset of geomorphology concerned
with the investigation of the structure and texture of
sediments i.e. the global term for material deposited on
the earth's surface.
segmentary lineage: a descent group in which minimal
lineages are encompassed as segments of minor lineages,
minor lineages as segments of major lineages, and so on.
segmentary societies: relatively small and autonomous
groups, usually of agriculturalists. who regulate their
own affairs; in some cases, they may join together with
other comparable segmentary societies to form a larger
segregation: in the formation of sex cells, the
process in which paired hereditary factors separate, forming
sex cells that contain either one or the other factor.
seismic reflection profiler: an acoustic underwater
survey device that uses the principle of echo-sounding
to locate submerged landforms; in water depths of 100 m,
this method can achieve penetration of more than 10 m into
selective agent: any factor that brings about
differences in fertility and mortality.
selective attention: unconscious focusing on and
response to stimuli that are perceived to be important,
to the exclusion of other stimuli.
selective coefficient: a numerical expression
of the strength of a selective force operating on a specific
selective pressure: pressure placed by a selective
agent upon certain individuals within the population that
results in the change of allele frequencies in the next
self-organization: the product of a theory derived
from thermodynamics which demonstrates that order can arise
spontaneously when systems are pushed far from an equilibrium
state. The emergence of new structure arises at bifurcation
points, or thresholds of instability (cf. catastrophe theory).
self-reducing tacheometer: a major surveying instrument
(transit or alidade) which allows the direct read-out of
true vertical and horizontal distances within the eye-piece
without the use of trigonometric formulae or tables.
semantic domains: groups of related categories
of meaning in a language.
semantics: the study of the larger system of meaning
created by words.
senescence: old age.
serial monogamy: an exclusive union followed by
divorce and remarriage, perhaps many times.
seriation: a relative dating technique based on
the chronological ordering of a group of artifacts or assemblages,
where the most similar are placed adjacent to each other
in the series. Two types of seriation can be recognized,
frequency seriation and contextual seriation.
serrated: notched or toothed. may refer to the
edge of a tool.
serum: plasma after the clotting material has
settlement pattern: the spatial distribution of
cultural activities across a landscape at a given moment
sex chromosomes: the X and Y chromosomes. Normal
males have one X and one Y; normal females have two X's.
sex-controlled trait: a trait that is expressed
differently in males and females.
sex-limited trait: a trait that is expressed in
only one of the sexes.
sexual dimorphism: the condition in which differences
in structure exist between males and females of the same
sexual division of labor: the situation in which
males and females in a society perform different tasks.
In hunting-gathering societies males usually hunt while
females usually gather wild vegetable food.
sexual isolation: a form of reproductive isolation
in which one or both sexes of a species initiate mating
behavior that does not act as a stimulus to the opposite
sex of a closely related species.
sexual skin: skin in the anal region that turns
bright pink or red and may swell when the animal is in
estrus; found in the female of some primate species.
sexual stratification: the ranking of people in
a society according to sex.
shaman: a medium of the supernatural who acts
as a person in possession of unique curing, divining, or
shamanistic cult: that form of religion in which
part-time religious specialists called shamans intervene
with the deities on behalf of their clients.
sharecropping: working land owned by others for
a share of the yield.
shared ancestral feature: compared with a shared
derived feature, a homology that did not appear as recently
and is therefore shared by a larger group of species.
shared derived feature: a recently appearing homology
that is shared by a relatively small group of closely related
sharing clusters: among chimpanzees, temporary
groups that form after hunting to eat the meat.
shell midden: a site formed of mainly concentrated
shifting cultivation: (swidden, slash and burn)
a form of plant cultivation in which seeds are planted
in the fertile soil prepared by cutting and burning the
natural growth; relatively short periods of cultivation
on the land are followed by longer periods of fallow.
shovel-screening: a rapid excavation procedure
in which the site matrix is shoveled directly through a
screen (usually 1/4" mesh).
shovel-shaped incisors: incisors that have a scooped
out shape on the tongue side of the tooth.
sickle-cell anemia: a disorder in individuals
homozygous for hemoglobin S in which red blood cells will
develop into a sickle shape that, in turn, will clog capillaries,
resulting in anemia, heart failure, etc.
sickle-cell trait: the condition of being heterozygous
for hemoglobin A and S. yet the individual usually shows
no abnormal symptoms.
side-blade: a flaked stone, bone, shell, or metal
artifact inserted in the side of a shaft or projectile
point to provide an extended cutting edge.
sidescan sonar: a survey method used in underwater
archaeology which provides the broadest view of the sea-floor.
An acoustic emitter is towed behind a vessel and sends
out sound waves in a fan-shaped beam. These pulses of sonic
energy are reflected back to a transducer-- return time
depending on distance traveled--and recorded on a rotating
silent areas: sections of the cerebral cortex,
which include parts of the frontal, occipital, and temporal
lobes, in which electrical stimulation produces little
or no emotional or motor response.
simian shelf: a bony buttress on the inner surface
of the foremost part of the ape mandible, functioning to
reinforce the mandible.
simple random sampling: a type of probabilistic
sampling where the areas to be sampled are chosen using
a table of random numbers. Drawbacks include (1) defining
the site's boundaries beforehand; (2) the nature of random
number tables results in some areas being allotted clusters
of sample squares, while others remain untouched.
simulation: the formulation and computer implementation
of dynamic models i.e. models concerned with change through
time. Simulation is a useful heuristic device, and can
be of considerable help in the development of explanation.
site catchment analysis (SCA): a type of off-site
analysis which concentrates on the total area from which
a site's contents have been derived; at its simplest, a
site's catchment can be thought of as a full inventory
of artifactual and non-artifactual remains and their sources.
site exploitation territory (SET): often confused
with site catchment analysis, this is a method of achieving
a fairly standardized assessment of the area habitually
used by a site's occupants.
site survey: the process of searching for and
describing archaeological sites in a given area.
site: a distinct spatial clustering of artifacts,
features, structures, and organic and environmental remains.
as the residue of human activity.
skull deformation: the artificial distortion of
cranial bones during growth practiced by some aboriginal
slag: the material residue of smelting processes
from metalworking. Analysis is often necessary to distinguish
slags derived from copper smelting from those produced
in iron production. Crucible slags (from the casting process)
may be distinguished from smelting slags by their high
concentration of copper.
SLAR (sideways-looking airborne radar): a remote
sensing technique that involves the recording in radar
images of the return of pulses of electromagnetic radiation
sent out from aircraft (cf. thermography).
slash and burn agriculture: a method of farming,
also called swidden agriculture, by which fields
are cleared, trees and brush are burned, and the soil,
fertilized by the ash, is then planted.
slavery: a practice that permits some people within
a society to own other persons and to claim the right to
slope distance: in mapping the inclined distance
(as opposed to true horizontal or vertical distance) between
social anthropology: see cultural anthropology.
<> social category: a category composed of all people who share certain
culturally identified characteristics.
social class: a category of people who have generally
similar educational histories, job opportunities, and social
standing and who are conscious of their membership in a
social group that is ranked in relation to others and is
replicated over generations.
social control: a framework of rewards and sanctions
that channel behavior.
social division of labor: the process by which
a society is formed by the integration of its smaller groups
social intelligence: the knowledge and images
that originate in an individual's brain and that are transferred
by speech land in the last 5,000 years, by writing to the
brains of others.
social mobility: the ability of people to change
their social position within the society.
social norm: an expected form of behavior.
social pressure: a means of social control in
which people who venture over the boundaries of society's
rules are brought back into line.
social stratification: the ranking of subgroups
in a society according to wealth, power, and prestige..
socialization: the process by which a person acquires
the technical skills of his or her society, the knowledge
of the kinds of behavior that are understood and acceptable
in that society, and the attitudes and values that make
conformity with social rules personally meaningful, even
gratifying; also termed enculturation.
society: a group of interacting people who share
a geographical region, a sense of common identity, and
a common culture.
sociobiology: the study of the biological control
of social behavior.
sociocultural anthropology: a branch of anthropology
that deals with variations in patterns of social interaction
and differences in cultural behavior.
sociolinguistics: a branch of anthropological
linguistics that studies how language and culture are related
and how language is used in different social contexts.
soil resistivity: a method of subsurface detection
which measures changes in conductivity by passing electrical
current through ground soils. This is generally a consequence
of moisture content, and in this way, buried features can
be detected by differential retention of groundwater.
soil texture: the relative proportion of clay,
silt and sand sized particles in a soil.
soil-sample: a quantity of soil, site matrix,
or sediments collected for physical, or chemical analysis.
soil-sieves: small, precision metal screens, used
for determining the proportions of different sized particles
in a soil sediment sample.
soil-sounding radar: a method of subsurface detection
in which short radio pulses are sent through the soil,
such that the echoes reflect back significant changes in
solifluction: the slow downslope movement of surface
sediments in a saturated condition. Prevalent in permafrost
areas due to the seasonal thawing of the surface of the
permafrost zone. Can cause complete mixture of site stratigraphy
and archaeological components.
somatic: a term that refers to the body.
sorcery: the performance of certain magical rites
for the purpose of harming other people.
sororate: a social custom under which a widower
has the right to marry one of his deceased wife's sisters,
and her kin are obliged to provide him with a new wife.
specialization: the limited range of activities
in which a single individual is likely to be engaged.
specialized pastoralism: the adaptive strategy
of exclusive reliance on animal husbandry.
specialized species: a species closely fit to
a specific environment and able to tolerate little change
in that environment.
specialized trait: a structure used basically
for one function.
speciation: the evolutionary process that is said
to occur when two previous subspecies (of the same species)
are no longer capable of successful interbreeding; they
are then two different species.
species: the largest natural population whose
members are able to reproduce successfully among
speech community: a socially distinct group that
develops a dialect; a variety of language that diverges
from the national language in vocabulary, pronunciation,
sperm: a male gamete.
spermatogenesis: sperm production.
spheres of exchange: the modes of exchange-- reciprocity,
redistribution, and market exchange-- that apply to particular
goods or in particular situations.
spindle: a structure consisting of fibers radiating
out from the centriole that functions in cell division.
spirit possession: the supposed control of a person's
behavior by a supernatural spirit that has entered the
spokeshave: an artifact with a notch or concave
edge, presumed to have been used in shaping wooden or bone
spontaneous generation: an old and incorrect idea
that complex life forms could be spontaneously created
from nonliving material.
stability: the ability of an ecosystem to return
to equilibrium after disturbances.
stadia rod (also "surveyor's staff'): a long brightly
painted rod, accurately calibrated in metric units (or
feet and inches), used for obtaining elevations and stadia
measurements of distance in mapping with a major surveying
standard deviation: a statistical measurement
of the amount of variation in a series of determinations;
the probability of the real number's falling within plus
or minus one standard deviation is 67 percent.
standing wave technique: an acoustic method, similar
to bosing, used in subsurface detection.
state: a term used to describe a social formation
defined by distinct territorial boundedness, and characterized
by strong central government in which the operation of
political power is sanctioned by legitimate force. In cultural
evolutionist models, it ranks second only to the empire
as the most complex societal development stage.
statistical analysis: the application of probability
theory to quantified descriptive data.
status: a position in a pattern of reciprocal
steatite: soapstone or talc; a soft gray to green
stone used as a carving medium.
stela (pl. stelae): a free-standing carved stone
step-trenching: an excavation method employed
on very deep sites, such as Near Eastern tell sites, in
which the excavation proceeds downwards in a series of
gradually narrowing steps.
stereoscope: a simple optical device to allow
the perception of a stereoscopic (or 3-dimensional) image
from pairs of aerial photographs.
stereoscopic vision: visual perception of depth
due to overlapping visual fields and various neurological
storage-pit (also called cache-pits): circular
excavations usually less than 3 m in diameter assumed to
have aboriginally functioned as storage "cellars".
strata: (1) depositional units or layers of sediment
distinguished by composition or appearance. (singular: "stratum"),
(2) individually sampled subareas in a "stratified-random" probabilistic
stratification: the division of a society into
groups that have varying degrees of access to resources
stratification: the laying down or depositing
of strata or layers (also called deposits) one above the
other. A succession of layers should provide a relative
chronological sequence, with the earliest at the bottom
and the latest at the top.
stratified random sampling: a form of probabilistic
sampling in which the region or site is divided into natural
zones or strata such as cultivated land and forest; units
ate then chosen by a random number procedure so as to give
each zone a number of squares proportional to its area,
thus overcoming the inherent bias in simple random sampling.
stratified sample: a sample obtained by the process
of dividing a population into categories representing distinctive
characteristics and then selecting a random sample from
stratified society: a society in which extensive
subpopulations are accorded differential treatment.
stratified systematic sampling: a form of probabilistic
sampling which combines elements of (1) simple random sampling,
(2) stratified random sampling, and (3) systematic sampling,
in an effort to reduce sampling bias.
stratigraphy: the study and validation of stratification;
the analysis in the vertical, time dimension, of a series
of layers in the horizontal, space dimension. It is often
used as a relative dating technique to assess the temporal
sequence of artifact deposition.
stratosphere: the part of the atmosphere 20 to
50 kilometers (12 to 31 miles) above the earth's surface;
the area where ozone forms.
structural functionalism: the theory that the
central function of the various aspects of a society is
to maintain the social structure--the society's pattern
of social relations and institutions.
structural gene: a segment of DNA that codes for
a polypeptide other than a regulator.
structuralist approaches: interpretations which
stress that human actions ate guided by beliefs and symbolic
concepts, and that underlying these ate structures of thought
which find expression in various forms. The proper object
of study is therefore to uncover the structures of thought
and to study their influence in shaping the ideas in the
minds of the human actors who created the archaeological
structured interview: an ethnographic data-gathering
technique in which large numbers of respondents are asked
a set of specific questions.
style: according to the art historian, Ernst Gombrich,
style is "any distinctive and therefore recognizable way
in which an act is performed and made." Archaeologists
and anthropologists have defined "stylistic areas" as areal
units representing shared ways of producing and decorating
sub-bottom profiler: see underwater reconnaissance.
subcutaneous fat: the fat deposited under the
subera: a division of an era. The Cenozoic is
divided into two suberas, the Tertiary and Quatemary.
submetacentric chromosome: a chromosome in which
the centromere lies to one side of the center, producing
arms of unequal length.
subsistence pattern: the basic means by which
a human group extracted and utilized energy from its environment.
subspecies: interfertile groups within a species
that display significant differentiation among themselves.
substantivism: a school of economic anthropology
that seeks to understand economic processes as the maintenance
of an entire cultural order.
subsurface detection: a collective name lot a
variety of remote sensing techniques operating at ground
level, and including hosing (or bowsing), augering, magnetometer,
and radar techniques.
supernatural beliefs: a set of beliefs found in
all societies that transcend the natural, observable world.
superposition: the principle that under stable
conditions strata on the bottom of a deposit were laid
down first and hence are older than layers on top.
surface collection: archaeological materials obtained
from the ground surface.
surface finish: in the study of ceramic artifacts,
the mainly decorative outer elements of a vessel.
surface scatter: archaeological materials found
distributed over the ground surface.
surface structure: the particular arrangement
of words that we hear or read.
surface survey: two basic kinds can be identified: (1)
unsystematic and (2) systematic. The former involves field-walking,
i.e. scanning the ground along one's path and recording
the location of artifacts and surface features. Systematic
survey by comparison is less subjective and involves a
grid system, such that the survey area is divided into
sectors and these are walked systematically, thus making
the recording of finds mote accurate.
survey area: the region within which archaeological
sites are to be located.
surveying: (1) in archaeology, the process of
locating archaeological sites. (2) more generally, the
process of mapping and measuring points on the ground surface
(e.g. "legal" or topographic surveying").
suspensory behavior: a form of locomotion and
posture whereby animals suspend themselves underneath a
sweating: the production of a fluid, sweat, by
the sweat glands of the skin. The evaporation of the sweat
from the skin leads to a cooling of the body.
symbol: something that can represent something
distant from it in time and space.
symmetry analysis: a mathematical approach to
the analysis of decorative style which claims that patterns
can he divided into two distinct groups or symmetry classes: 17
classes for those patterns that repeat motifs horizontally,
and 46 classes for those that repeat them horizontally
and vertically. Such studies have suggested that the choice
of motif arrangement within a particular culture is far
sympatric species: different species that live
in the same area but are prevented from successfully re-producing
by a reproductive isolating mechanism.
symphyseal face: the surface of the pubis where
one pubis joins the other at the pubic symphysis.
symplesiomorphic feature: see shared ancestral
synapomorphic feature: see shared derived feature.
synapsids: the reptilian group from which the
mammals ultimately emerged.
synchronic studies: rely on research that does
not make use of or control for the effects of the passage
synchronic: referring to phenomena considered
at a single point in time; i.e. an approach which is not
primarily concerned with change (cf. diachronic).
syndrome: a complex of symptoms related to a single
synostosis: the joining of separate pieces of
bone in human skeletons; the precise timing of such processes
is an important indicator of age.
syntax: the arrangement of words into meaningful
synthetic theory of evolution: the theory of evolution
that fuses Darwin's concept of natural selection with information
from the fields of genetics, mathematics, embryology, paleontology,
animal behavior, and other disciplines.
system: a series of interrelated parts wherein
a change in one part brings about changes in all parts.
systematic sampling: a form of probabilistic sampling
employing a grid of equally spaced locations; e.g. selecting
every other square. This method of regular spacing runs
the risk of missing (or hitting) every single example if
the distribution itself is regularly spaced.
systematic survey: see surface survey.
systems thinking: a method of formal analysis
in which the object of study is viewed as comprising distinct
analytical sub-units. Thus in archaeology, it comprises
a form of explanation in which a society or culture is
seen through the interaction and interdependence of its
component parts; these are referred to as system parameters,
and may include such things as population size, settlement
pattern, crop production, technology etc.