Dr. Lauren Arenson
Physical Anthropology Anthro 1L Cultural Anthropology
Paired / Online / ITV
Humanities Scholar's Option

ice cores: borings taken from the Arctic and Antarctic polar ice caps, containing layers of compacted ice useful for the reconstruction of paleoenvironments and as a method of absolute dating.

ice-wedge: a vertical wedge-shaped vein of ground ice found in permafrost areas. causes "polygonal ground" (see periglacial phenomena) and may result in severe disturbance of archaeological sites.

iconography: an important component of cognitive archaeology, this involves the study of artistic representations which usually have an overt religious or ceremonial significance; e.g. individual deities may be distinguished, each with a special characteristic, such as corn with the corn god, or the sun with a sun goddess etc.

idealist explanation: a form of explanation that lays great stress on the search for insights into the historical circumstances leading up to the event under study in terms primarily of the ideas and motives of the individuals involved.

ilium: the thin, bladelike section superior to the hip socket on the innominate bone.

immunological comparison: a method of molecular biology that compares molecules by use of antigen antibody reactions.

immunological distance (ID): a measure of the strength of an antigen-antibody reaction that is indicative of the evolutionary distance separating the populations being studied.

in situ: archaeological items are said to be "in situ " when they are found in the location where they were last deposited.

incest taboo: the prohibition of sexual intimacy between people defined as close relatives.

incest: sexual intercourse between closely related persons.

inclined sights: in mapping, a vertically angled line of sight.

inclusion: an intentional cultural association, such as grave-goods with a burial.

inclusive fitness: an individual's own fitness plus his or her effect on the fitness of any relative.

incomplete penetrance: the situation in which an allele that is expected to be expressed is not always expressed.

increment borer: a hand-operated coring device for obtaining tree-ring samples.

independent assortment: a Mendelian principle which states that differing traits are inherited independently of each other. It applies only to genes on different chromosomes.

independent family household: a single-family unit that resides by itself, apart from relatives or adults of other generations.

independent variable: the variable that can cause change in other variables.

index fossil: a paleospecies that had a very wide geographical distribution but existed for a relatively short period of time, either becoming extinct or evolving into something else.

index: a spirit-bubble leveling device on the vertical circle of major surveying instruments.

indirect percussion: a technique for flaking stone artifacts by interposing a bone or antler punch between the hammer and the raw materials. Allows greater control than direct percussion flaking.

individualistic cult: the least complex form of religious organization in which each person is his or her own religious specialist.

Indriidae: family of Madagascar prosimians that includes the indri, sifaka, and avahi.

induced mutation: a mutation caused by human made conditions.

induction: a method of reasoning in which one proceeds by generalization from a series of specific observations so as to derive general conclusions (cf. deduction).

inductively coupled plasma emission spectrometry (ICPS): based on the same basic principles as OES (optical emission spectrometry), but the generation of much higher temperatures reduces problems of interference and produces more accurate results.

Industrial Age: a cultural stage characterized by the first use of complex machinery, factories, urbanization, and other economic and general social changes from strictly agricultural societies.

industrial melanism: a situation in which the frequency of alleles for dark color increases in relation to alleles for light color in response to changes in the environment due to pollution caused by increasing industrialization.

industrial society: a society consisting of largely urban populations that engage in manufacturing, commerce, and services.

industrialism: a form of social organization in which the population's needs for food, manufactured products, transportation, and many services are met through the use of machines powered largely by fossil fuel.

industry: all the artifacts in a site that are made from the same material, such as the bone industry.

infantile: the period in an individual's life cycle from birth to the eruption of the first permanent teeth.

informal interview: an unstructured question-and-answer session in which the informant is encouraged to follow his or her own train of thought, wherever it may lead.

informant: a person who provides information about his or her culture to the ethnographic fieldworker.

infrared absorption spectroscopy: a technique used in the characterization of raw materials, it has been particularly useful in distinguishing ambers from different sources: the organic compounds in the amber absorb different wavelengths of infrared radiation passed through them.

innominate bones: a pair of bones that, with the sacrum section of the vertebral column, make up the pelvis. The innominates join in the front of the pelvis at the pubic symphysis.

innovation: the process of adopting a new thing, idea, or behavior pattern into a culture.

insectivore: an animal that eats primarily insects; also a member of the mammalian order Insectivora.

instinct: a genetically-determined pattern of behavior that is characteristic of a species and is often a response to specific internal or environmental stimuli.

institutions: a society's recurrent patterns of activity, such as religion, art, a kinship system, law, and family life.

instrument height: the elevation of the line-of-sight of a surveying instrument above the immediate ground surface.

instrument position (ip): the location at which a surveying instrument is established to obtain a sighting.

instrument: a general term for major optical surveying equipment, including transits, alidades, and surveyor's levels.

intensification: an increase in the product derived from a unit of land or labor.

intensive agriculture: a form of agriculture that involves the use of draft animals or tractors, plows, and often some form of irrigation.

interaction sphere: a regional or inter-regional exchange system, e.g. the Hopewell interaction sphere.

intergenerational competition: a system whereby mating between generations is prevented by forcing the young out of the group when they reach sexual maturity.

interglacial: a period of warming between two glacials.

intermediate expression: the situation in which a heterozygous genotype is associated with a phenotype that is more or less intermediate between the phenotypes controlled by the two homozygous genotypes.

intermembral index: the length of the humerus and radius relative to the length of the femur and tibia.

intron: the DNA sequence in a eukaryotic gene that is not translated into a protein.

invention: any new thing, idea, or way of behaving that emerges from within a society.

inventory of resources: a catalogue of the kinds of materials the people under investigation take from their environment in order to clothe, house, and feed themselves; the amount of time they spend procuring these materials; the quantity of food they collect or produce; and the distribution of the research population per unit of land.

inversion: a form of chromosome aberration in which parts of a chromosome break and reunite in a reversed order. No genetic material is lost or gained, but the positions of the involved alleles are altered.

Iron Age: a cultural stage characterized by the use of iron as the main metal.

ischial callosity: a thickening of the skin overlying a posterior section of the pelvis (ischial tuberosity); found in the Old World monkeys and some apes.

isostatic uplift: rise in the level of the land relative to the sea caused by the relaxation of Ice Age conditions. It occurs when the weight of ice is removed as temperatures rise, and the landscape is raised up to form raised beaches.

isotopic analysis: an important source of information on the reconstruction of prehistoric diets, this technique analyzes the ratios of the principal isotopes preserved in human bone; in effect the method reads the chemical signatures left in the body by different foods. Isotopic analysis is also used in characterization studies.

jasper: a colloquial term for some varieties of chert. Usually refers to dark red or dull-green, fine-grained, semi-translucent banded materials.

jati: local subcastes found in Hindu India.

joint family household: a complex family unit formed through polygyny or polyandry or through the decision of married siblings to live together m the absence of their parents.

juncture: the linkage or separation of syllables by pauses.

juvenile: the period in an individual's life cycle that lasts from the eruption of the first to the eruption of the last permanent teeth.

karyotype: the standardized classification and arrangement of photographed chromosomes.

kill-site: a type of special activity site where large game animals were killed and butchered.

kin selection: the process whereby an individual's genes are selected by virtue of that individual's increasing the chances that his or her kin's genes will be propagated into the next generation.

kin terminology: the terms that systematically designate distinctions between relatives of different categories.

kindred: a collection of bilateral kin.

kingdom: a major division of living organisms. All organisms are placed into one of five kingdoms: monera, Protista, Fungi, Planti, and Animalia.

Klinefelter's syndrome: a sex-chromosome count of XXY; phenotypically male, tall stature, sterile.

knuckle walking: semierect quadrupedalism, found in chimpanzees and the gorilla, in which the upper parts of the body are supported by the knuckles rather than the palms.

kula ring: a system of ceremonial, non-competitive, exchange practiced in Melanesia to establish and reinforce alliances. Malinowski's study of this system was influential in shaping the anthropological concept of reciprocity.

labret: a "cuff-link" or pulley-shaped object of stone, bone or wood, inserted in a perforation of the lower lip as an ornament or status symbol by some aboriginal peoples.

lactation: the production of milk by a female mammal

lacustrine deposits: lake sediments; usually fine laminated silts and clays.

laminae: very thin strata.

LANDSAT: see remote sensing.

landscape archaeology: the study of individual features including settlements.

language: a highly flexible and complex system of communication that allows for the exchange of detailed information about both interior and exterior conditions. As a creative and open system, new signals may be added and new ideas transmitted.

lateralization: the phenomenon in which the two hemispheres of the brain specialize in regard to different functions.

law: a rule of social conduct enforced by sanctions administered by a particular source of legitimate power.

leaching: a natural process by which chemicals and minerals are transported downwards through a soil-profile.

legal subdivision system: the method of describing parcels of land in terms of "Township, Range, Section, and Quarter Section".

legitimacy: the right to rule on the basis of recognized principles.

leister: a composite fishing spear made up of barbed side-pieces surrounding an unbarbed central point.

Lemuridae:Madagascar prosimian family that includes the femurs.

lenticular: "lens-shaped". any object with a biconvex cross-section.

lesser apes: the gibbons and siamang of Asia.

lethals: defects that cause premature death.

leukocyte: a white blood cell; functions to destroy foreign substances.

level bag: a bag containing excavated materials from a single level of a single excavation unit.

level notes: written observations on all significant characteristics of an excavated level.

level: the basic vertical subdivision of an excavation unit. May be natural. arbitrary or contoured.

leveling mechanism: a social or economic practice that serves to lessen differentials in wealth.

levirate: a social custom under which a man has both the right to marry his dead brother's widow and the obligation to provide for her.

lexicon: in linguistics, the total number of meaningful units {such as words and affixes) of a language.

lexicostatistics: the study of linguistic divergence between two languages, based on changes in a list of common vocabulary terms and the sharing of common root words (see also glottochronology).

lexigram: a symbol that represents a word.

lichenometry: the study of lichen growth as an aid to dating surface rock features and rock art.

life expectancy: the length of time that a person can, on the average, expect to live.

life span: the theoretical, maximum age.

light-table: a glass-topped table illuminated from underneath, used in the laboratory photography of archaeological specimens.

lignite: a soft shiny black variety of coal, aboriginally used to manufacture decorative objects.

line-guard: a device to fasten the retrieving line to a harpoon point.

line-level: a small spirit-bubble designed for suspension on a string Used in archaeology to determine horizontal lines over short distances.

lineage: a unilineal descent group composed of people who trace their genealogies through specified links to a common ancestor.

lineal relatives: direct ascendants and descendants.

lingua franca: any language used as a common tongue by people who do not speak one another's native language.

linguistic anthropology: a subdivision of anthropology that is concerned primarily with unwritten languages (both prehistoric and modern), with variation within languages, and with the social uses of language; traditionally divided into three branches: descriptive linguistics, the systematic study of the way language is constructed and used; historical linguistics, the study of the origin of language in general and of the evolution of the languages people speak today; and sociolinguistics, the study of the relationship between language and social relations.

linguistics: the scientific study of language.

linkage: the association of genes on the same chromosome.

linked changes: those changes brought about in a culture when other (interconnected) parts of that same culture undergo change.

lipids: the class of compounds that includes fats, oils, and waxes.

lithic industry: that part of an archaeological artifact assemblage manufactured of stone.

lithic technology: the process of manufacturing tools etc. from stone. Most frequently refers to stone flaking.

lithic: of, or pertaining to stone.

lithology: the identification and study of rocks.

lithosphere: the hard outer layer of the earth.

living floor: the horizontal layer of an archaeological site that was once the surface occupied by a prehistoric group. It is identifed both by the fact that it is hard-packed and also by the artifacts located on its surface.

local races: subdivisions of geographical races. One type consists of partially isolated groups, usually remnants of once larger units. The second type includes fairly large subdivisions that contain a degree of variation within them.

locality: a very large site or site-area composed of 2 or more concentrations or clusterings of cultural remains.

loess sediments: deposits formed of a yellowish dust of silt-sized particles blown by the wind and redeposited on land newly deglaciated, or on sheltered areas.

logistics: the process of transporting, supplying and supporting a field project.

long-house: the long multi-family dwellings of the Iroquois area.

Lorisidae: prosimian family that includes the lords, potto, angwantibo, and galago.

low energy budget: an adaptive strategy by which a minimum of energy is used to extract sufficient resources from the environment for survival.

lumbar curve: a curve that forms in the lumbar region of the spine in humans.

macroblade: a large blade, greater than 5 cm in length.

macroevolution: "large-scale" evolution; the evolution of new species and higher taxa.

macrofamily: classificatory term in linguistics, referring to a group of language families showing sufficient similarities to suggest that they are genetically related (e.g. the Nostratic macrofamily is seen by some linguists as a unit embracing the Indo-European, Afro-Asiatic, Uralic, Altaic, and Kartvelian language families).

macula: the central area of the retina, consisting of cones only.

magnetometer: an electronic device for detecting small anomalies in the earth's magnetic field. Can be used to explore certain subsurface characteristics of an archaeological site prior to excavation.

mammals: members of the class Mammalia, a class of the subphylum Vertebrata, that are characterized by a constant level of activity independent of external temperature and by mammary glands, hair or fur, heterodonty, and other features.

mammary glands: glands found in mammalian females that produce milk.

mandibular symphysis: the area where the two halves of the mandible join together.

mandibular torus: a thickening of bone on the inside of the mandible.

Manichean: a believer in religious or philosophical dualism, from a religious dualism originating in Persia in the third century A.D. and teaching the release of the spirit from matter through strict self-denial. mano: a hand-held stone used for grinding vegetable foods on a stone slab or "metate".

manuport: an unmodified, natural rock, brought into a site by human agency, that shows no sign of alteration.

map-measure: a small wheeled device for measuring map distances.

mapping: drawing a map showing the physical features of a community; usually an early step in a field project.

marasmus: a form of protein-caloric malnutrition caused by a diet deficient in both protein and carbohydrates.

marginal people: those individuals who are not in the mainstream of their society.

market exchange: a mode of exchange which implies both a specific location for transactions and the sort of social relations where bargaining can occur. It usually involves a system of price-making through negotiation.

marsupials: Members of the infraclass Metatheria of the class Mammalia. The young are born at a relatively less developed stage than those of placental mammals; after birth, the young animal attaches to a mammary gland in the pouch, where it continues to grow and develop.

Marxist anthropology: based principally on the writings of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, this posits a materialist model of societal change. Change within a society is seen as the result of contradictions arising between the forces of production (technology) and the relations of production (social organization). Such contradictions are seen to emerge as a struggle between distinct social classes. Current Marxist anthropology focuses on the transformation of social orders and the relationships between conflict and cultural change.

masseter: a muscle of chewing that arises on the mandible and inserts on the zygomatic arch of the skull.

material culture: the buildings, tools, and other artifacts that includes any material item that has had cultural meaning ascribed to it, past and present.

matriarchy: a society ruled by females.

matriclan: a group that claims but cannot trace their descent through the female line from a common female ancestor.

matrifocal family household: a family unit based solely on the bond between a mother and her children.

matrifocal: centered on the mother; said of a family situation common to the urban poor worldwide in which the woman and her relationships with her children and her female kin form the core of family life.

matrilineage: a lineage whose members trace their genealogies through specified female links to a common female ancestor.

matrilineal descent group: a unilineal descent group in which membership is inherited through the maternal line.

matrilineal descent: descent traced through the female line.

matrilocal residence: residence of a married couple with or near the wife's kin.

matrix: the physical material within which artifacts are embedded or supported.

maximum parsimony principle: the principle that the most accurate phylogenetic tree is one that is based on the fewest changes in the genetic code.

Maya calendar: a method employed by the Maya of measuring the passage of time, comprising two separate calendar systems: (1) the Calendar Round, used for everyday purposes; (2) the Long Count, used for the reckoning of historical dates.

means of production in the society--the wealth and relative economic control they may command

mechanical isolation: a form of reproductive isolation that occurs because of an incompatibility in structure of the male and female sex organs.

mechanical solidarity: a type of social integration based on mutuality of interests found in those societies with little division of labor. modernization the process of social change whereby traditional societies take on the characteristics of more industrialized societies.

mechanization: the replacement of human and animal labor by mechanical devices.

megafauna: all animals weighing more than 100 pounds

megalithic yard: a metrological unit (c. 2.72 ft) proposed by Alexander Thom, and argued by him, on statistical grounds, as the standard unit of length used in the construction of megalithic monuments in Britain and France.

meiosis: the form of cell division occurring in specialized tissues in the testes and ovary that leads to the production of gametes.

melanin: the brown-black pigment found in the skin, eyes, and hair.

melanocyte: a specialized skin cell that produces the pigment melanin.

menarche: first menstruation.

Mendelian population: see reproductive population.

mental foramen: a small opening in the mandible through which blood vessels and nerves pass.

mercantile system: a system of ownership common in Europe and elsewhere after the eighteenth century in which land became the private property of individual owners.

Mesolithic: an Old World chronological period beginning around 10,000 years ago, situated between the Paleolithic and the Neolithic, and associated with the rise to dominance of microliths.

messenger RNA (mRNA): a form of RNA that copies the DNA code in the nucleus and transports it to the ribosome.

metacentric chromosome: a chromosome in which the centromere appears roughly in the center and the two arms are roughly the same length.

metal detector: an electronic instrument which detects buried metallic objects by inducing and measuring an electromagnetic field.

metallographic examination: a technique used in the study of early metallurgy involving the microscopic examination of a polished section cut from an artifact. which has been etched so as to reveal the metal structure.

methodological individualism (or individualistic method): approach to the study of societies which assumes that thoughts and decisions do have agency, and that actions and shared institutions can be interpreted as the products of the decisions and actions of individuals.

microblade core: the nucleus from which micro-blades were manufactured. Usually a small barrel or conical shaped stone artifact with a flat top and one or more fluted surfaces left as scars from the removal of the microblades.

microblade: a small prismatic parallel-sided flake struck from a prepared core. Microblades were probably inserted end-to-end in a slotted bone or antler shaft to provide a continuous cutting edge for points or knives.

microenvironment: a specific set of physical, biological, and cultural factors immediately surrounding the organism.

microevolution: "small-scale" evolution within a population over relatively short periods of time.

microfaunal remains: very small animal remains, such as rodent bones, tiny bone fragments, insects, small mollusks, foraminifera, etc., discovered in an archaeological site.

microfloral remains: very small plant materials such as seeds, pollen, spores, phytoliths etc. discovered in an archaeological site. Microfauna and microflora are extremely important in paleoenvironmental re-construction.

microhabitat: a very specific habitat in which a population is found.

microlith: a tiny stone tool, characteristic of the Mesolithic period, many of which were probably used as barbs.

microraces: arbitrary divisions of large local races.

microwear analysis: the study of the patterns of wear or damage on the edge of stone tools, which provides valuable information on the way in which the tool was used.

midbrain: the middle of three swellings in the hollow nerve cord of the primitive vertebrate brain; formed by a thickening of the wall of the nerve cord.

midden: the accumulation of debris and domestic waste products resulting from human use. The long-term disposal of refuse can result in stratified deposits, which are useful for relative dating.

Middle Range Theory: a conceptual framework linking raw archaeological data with higher-level generalizations and conclusions about the past which can be derived from this evidence.

Midwestern taxonomic system: a framework devised by McKern (1939) to systematize sequences in the Great Plains area of the United States, using the general principle of similarities between artifact assemblages.

mitochondria: bodies found in the cytoplasm that convert the energy in the chemical bonds of organic molecules into ATP.

mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA): a double-stranded loop of DNA found within the mitochondria. There can be as few as one or as many as several hundred mitochondria per cell, and each mitochondrion possesses between four and ten mtDNA loops.

mitosis: the form of cell division whereby one celled organisms divide and whereby body cells divide in growth and replacement.

MNI (minimum number of individuals): a method of assessing species abundance in faunal assemblages based on a calculation of the smallest number of animals necessary to account for all the identified bones. Usually calculated from the most abundant bone or tooth from either the left or right side of the animal.

mobiliary art: a term used for the portable art of the Ice Age, comprising engravings and carvings on small objects of stone, antler, bone, and ivory.

model: a system of hypothetical principles that represents the characters of a phenomenon and from which predictions can be made.

modified brachiation: a slower and more cautious form of brachiation; seen in the orangutan.

modifying gene: a gene that alters the expression of another gene.

moiety: one of the two subdivisions of a society with a dual organizational structure.

mold: a cavity left in firm sediment by the decayed body of an organism.

molecular biology: the comparative study of molecules.

molecule: a unit composed of two or more atoms linked by a chemical bond.

monkey: any member of the superfamilies Ceboidea (New World monkeys) and Cercopithecoidea (Old World monkeys).

monocausal explanation: the attribution of one cause to the existence of a phenomenon.

monogamous family: a social group, found among lesser apes and other primates, consisting of a single mated pair and their young offspring.

monogamy: an exclusive union of one man and one woman.

monophyletic taxon: a taxon containing species that are all descended from the same single common ancestor.

monotheism: belief in one god.

monotremes: members of the subclass Prototheria of the class Mammalia; the egg-laying mammals.

monozygotic twins: identical twins; twins derived from a single zygote.

moraine: a glacial deposit (till) with a distinctive topographic expression. "Terminal moraines" mark episodes of stability or re-advance in a Period of overall glacial retreat. Moraines appear as hill or ridges marking original glacial limits.

moral economy approach: views peasants as being less concerned with individual profit than with the security of knowing they will be protected in adversity.

morphemes: the smallest units of speech that convey meaning.

morphology: the study of structure, including the system by which speech units are combined to form meaningful words.

mosaic evolution: the concept that major evolutionary changes tend to ttake place in stages, not all at once. Human evolution shows a mosaic pattern in the fact that small canine teeth, large brains, and tool use did not all evolve at the same time. Mossbauer spectroscopy: a technique used in the analysis of artifact composition, particularly iron compounds in pottery. It involves the measurement of the gamma radiation absorbed by the iron nuclei, which provides information on the particular iron compounds in the sample. and hence on the conditions of firing when the pottery was being made.

mounting: a behavioral pattern whereby one animal jumps on the posterior area of a second animal as a part of the act of copulation or as a dominance display.

multi-component: a site is said to be multi-component when it shows evidence of 2 or more distinctive cultural occupations.

multi-dimensional scaling (MDSCAL): a multivariate statistical technique which aims to develop spatial structure from numerical data by estimating the differences and similarities between analytical units.

multicausal explanation: the attribution of more than one cause to the existence of a phenomenon.

multilineal evolutionism: an anthropological approach that focuses on the development of individual cultures or populations without insisting that all follow the same evolutionary pattern.

multimale group: a social unit consisting of many adult males and adult females.

multiple-allele series: a situation in which a gene has more than two alleles.

multiplication-of-species model: the idea that a generalized species can give rise to a large number of new species, sometimes rapidly.

multiplier effect: a term used in systems thinking to describe the process by which changes in one field of human activity (subsystem) sometimes act to promote changes in other fields (subsystems) and in turn act on the original subsystem itself. An instance of positive feedback, it is thought by some to be one of the primary mechanisms of societal change.

multivariate explanation: explanation of culture change, e.g. the origin of the state, which, in contrast to monocausal approaches, stresses the interaction of several factors operating simultaneously.

mutation: an alteration of the genetic material.

myth: stories that are told about the deeds that supernatural beings played in the creation of human beings and the universe itself.






Contact Dr. Arenson (626)-585-7736 ljarenson@pasadena.edu