tactile pads: the tips of the fingers and toes
of primates; area richly endowed by tactile nerve endings
sensitive to touch.
taphonomy: the study of processes which have affected
organic materials such as bone after death; it also involves
the microscopic analysis of tooth-marks or cut marks to
assess the effects of butchery or scavenging activities.
Tarsiidae: suborder of the order Primates consisting
of the tarsiers.
taxon: a group of organisms at any level of the
taxonomic hierarchy. The major taxa are the species and
genus and the higher taxa, including the family, order,
class, phylum, and kingdom.
taxonomy: the theory of classification.
Tay-Sachs disease: an enzyme deficiency of lipid
metabolism inherited as a recessive; causes death in early
tectonic movements: displacements in the plates
that make up the earth's crust, often responsible for the
occurrence of raised beaches.
tectonic plate: a segment of the lithosphere.
tell: a Neat Eastern term that refers to a mound
site formed through successive human occupation over a
very long timespan.
telocentric chromosome: a chromosome in which
the centromere is located at the very end of the chromosome.
temper: materials added to clay in the manufacture
of ceramic artifacts, to prevent cracking during firing.
Could include vegetal fibers, feathers, rock fragments,
sand, or ground-up pot-sherds.
temporal isolation: see seasonal isolation.
temporalis: a muscle of chewing that arises on
the jaw and inserts on the side of the skull.
temporomandibular joint: the joint formed at the
point of articulation of the mandible and the base of the
temporonuchal crest: a crest on the back of the
skull, forming on the occipital and temporal bones.
tent-ring: a circle of rocks used to hold down
the edges of an aboriginal tent (e.g. "tipi-rings").
tephra: volcanic ash. In the Mediterranean, for
example, deep-sea coring produced evidence for the ash
fall from the eruption of Theta, and its stratigraphic
position provided important information in the construction
of a relative chronology.
termite stick: a tool made and used by chimpanzees
for collecting termites for food.
terms of address: the terms people use when they
address their kin directly.
terms of reference: the terms by which people
refer to their kin when they speak about them in the third
terrace: a fluvial terrace is a remnant of an
earlier flood-plain isolated by down-cutting of the river,
resulting in a step-like series of "flats" and scarps.
Beach terraces are old ocean or lake beaches isolated by
lowered water levels.
terrestrial quadrupedalism: see ground running
territory: an area that a group defends against
other members of its own species.
tesseera: a small tablet (as of wood, bone, or
ivory) used by the ancient Romans as a ticket, tally, voucher,
or means of identification; or, a small piece (as of marble,
glass, or tile) used in mosaic work.
test pit (also "test excavation"): a small exploratory "dig" designed
to determine a site's depth, and contents prior to major
testosterone: a male sex hormone.
thalassemia: the absence or reduction of alpha-
or beta-chain synthesis in hemoglobin. The homozygous condition
(thalassemia major) is characterized by a high frequency
of hemoglobin F and fatal anemia; the heterozygous condition
(thalassemia minor) is highly variable but usually occurs
with mild symptoms.
theism: belief in one or more gods of extrahuman
theodolite (also "optical transit"): a transit
with accurate optical readout of vertical and horizontal
theory of acquired characteristics: the concept,
popularized by Lamarck, that traits gained during a lifetime
can then be passed on to the next generation by genetic
means; considered invalid today.
theory: a step in the scientific method in which
a statement is generated on the basis of highly confirmed
hypotheses and is used to generalize about conditions not
therian mammals: members of the subclass Theria;
the "live-bearing" mammals, including the marsupials and
thermal prospection: a remote sensing method used
in aerial reconnaissance. It is based on weak variations
in temperature which can be found above buried structures
whose thermal properties are different from those of their
thermography: a non-photographic technique which
uses thermal or heat sensors in aircraft to record the
temperature of the soil surface. Variations in soil temperature
can be the result of the presence of buried structures.
thermoluminescence dating (TL): a chronometric
dating method based on the fact that some materials, when
heated, give off a flash of light. The intensity of the
light is proportional to the amount of radiation the sample
has been exposed to and the length of time since the sample
was heated. It has much in common with electron spin resonance
Thiessen polygons: a formal method of describing
settlement patterns based on territorial divisions centered
on a single site; the polygons are created by drawing straight
lines between pairs of neighboring sites, then at the mid-point
along each of these lines, a second series of lines are
drawn at right angles to the first. Linking the second
series of lines creates the Thiessen polygons.
thin-section analysis: a technique whereby microscopic
thin sections are cut from a stone object or potsherd and
examined with a petrological microscope to determine the
source of the material.
threat gesture: a physical activity used by one
animal to threaten another animal. Some threat gestures
are staring, shaking a branch, and lunging toward another
Three Age System: a classification system devised
by C.J. Thomsen for the sequence of technological periods
(stone, bronze, and iron) in Old World prehistory. It established
the principle that by classifying artifacts, one could
produce a chronological ordering.
thymine: a pyrimidine found in RNA.
till: sediments laid down directly by glacial
ice. Commonly consists of unsorted angular rock fragments
mixed with clay.
tipi: a relatively large conical skin and pole
tent used in the Plains area.
toilet claw: a claw found on the second toe of
prosimians that functions in grooming.
tool: an object that appears to have been created
for a specific purpose.
topographic map: a map which accurately depicts
the physical features and relief of an area.
topography: the physical ground features of an
totem: a plant or animal whose name is adopted
by a clan and that holds a special significance for its
members, usually related to their mythical ancestry.
township: a square area, containing 36 sections;
a major unit of the legal subdivision system.
trace element analysis: the use of chemical techniques,
such as neutron activation analysis, or X-ray fluorescence
spectrometry, for determining the incidence of trace elements
in rocks. These methods are widely used in the identification
of raw material sources for the production of stone tools.
tradition: a continuum of gradational culture
change through time representing the unbroken development
of a single culture.
trait: any discrete cultural element; or, one
aspect of the phenotype.
trajectory: in systems thinking, this refers to
the series of successive states through which the system
proceeds over time. It may be said to represent the long-term
behavior of the system.
transect: a linear sampling area.
transfer RNA (tRNA): within the ribosome, a form
of RNA that transports amino acids into the positions coded
in the mRNA.
transformation: a radiation change in morphology
among homologous structures.
transformational grammar: Noam Chomsky's theory
of linguistics, based on the fact that a single meaning
may be expressed in different forms.
transformational rules: according to transformational
grammar, the techniques by which deep structure is translated
into surface structure.
transhumance: seasonal movement of livestock between
upland and lowland pastures.
transit: a sophisticated optical surveying instrument
similar to an alidade, except that it is mounted directly
on a tripod, rather than resting on a plane
translocation: a form of chromosomal aberration
in which segments of chromosomes become detached and reunite
to other nonhomologous chromosomes.
travelers: hunter-gatherers who follow a regular
yearly round, occupying a series of campsites for brief
periods when a valued resource is available in the vicinity
of each site (a logistical pattern).
tree-ring dating: a chronometric dating method
in which the age of a wood sample is determined by counting
the number of annual growth rings.
trend surface analysis: the aim of trend surface
analysis is to highlight the main features of a geographic
distribution by smoothing over some of the local irregularities.
In this way, important trends can be isolated from the
background "noise" more clearly.
tribe: a descent and kinship-based group in which
subgroups are clearly linked to one another, with the potential
of uniting a large number of local groups for common defense
or warfare. Unlike bands, tribes are usually settled farmers,
though they also include nomadic pastoral groups whose
economy is based on exploitation of livestock. Individual
communities tend to be integrated into the larger society
through kinship ties.
true brachiation: a form of locomotion found in
the lesser apes in which the body, suspended from above,
is propelled by arm swinging as the animal rapidly moves
hand-over-hand along a branch.
true breeding: showing the same traits without
exception over many generations.
tuff: geological formation composed of compressed
tundra: a type of landscape where the ground is
frozen solid throughout most of the year but thaws slightly
during the summer.
Tupaiidae: family of the order Insectivora that
includes the tree shrews.
Turner's syndrome: a genetic disease characterized
by forty-five chromosomes with a sex chromosome count of
X-; phenotypically female, but sterile.
tuyere: a ceramic blowtube used in the process
twin studies: comparisons of monozygotic twins
to dizygotic twins for the purpose of estimating the degree
of environmental versus genetic influence operating on
a specific trait.
tympanic membrane: the eardrum.
type: a distinctive formal artifact class defined
by the consistent clustering of attributes and restricted
in space and time, e.g. the "Folsom Point" is a projectile
typology: the systematic organization of artifacts
into types on the basis of shared attributes.
ultrasound: a method of taking a picture of the
fetus using sound waves.
ulu: an Eskimo word for a relatively large, semi-lunate,
side-mounted "woman's knife".
unconformity: the surface of a stratum that represents
a break in the stratigraphic sequence.
underwater reconnaissance: geophysical methods
of underwater survey include (1) a proton magnetometer
towed behind a survey vessel, so as to detect iron and
steel objects which distort the earth's magnetic field;
(2) sidescan sonar that transmits sound waves in a fan-shaped
beam to produce a graphic image of surface features on
the sea-bed; (3) a sub-bottom profiler that emits sound
pulses which bounce back from features and objects buried
beneath the sea floor.
uniface: a stone artifact flaked only on one surface.
unifacial flaking: the removal of secondary flakes
from only one surface of a stone nucleus.
uniformitarianism: the principle which states
that physical forces working today to alter the earth were
also in force and working in the same way in former times.
unilineal descent group: a kin group in which
membership is inherited only through either the paternal
or the maternal line, as the society dictates.
unilineal evolution: a pattern of cultural progress
through a sequence of evolutionary stages; the basic premise
of the early cultural evolutionists.
unstructured interview: an ethnographic data-gathering
technique usually used in the early stages of one's fieldwork
in which interviewees are asked to respond to broad, open-ended
uracil: a pyrimidine found in RNA.
uranium series dating: a dating method based on
the radioactive decay of isotopes of uranium. It has proved
particularly useful for the period before 50,000 years
ago, which lies outside the time range of radiocarbon dating.
urbanization: the proportionate rise in the number
of people living in cities in comparison to the number
living in rural areas.
urbanized society: a society in which a majority
of people live in cities.
use-wear: polish, striations, breakage, or minor
flaking which develop on a tool's edge during use. Microscopic
examination and study of the wear may indicate the past
function of tools.
utilized flake: a stone flake used for a tool
without deliberate retouch, but exhibiting use-wear.
utilized material: pieces of stone that have been
used without modification.
variable: any property that may be displayed in
varnas caste: groups in Hindu India associated
with certain occupations.
varves: fine layers of alluvium sediment deposited
in glacial lakes. Their annual deposition makes them a
useful source of dating.
vasoconstriction: the constriction of the capillaries
in the skin in response to cold temperatures.
vasodilation: the opening up of the capillaries
of the skin in response to warm temperatures, thus increasing
the flow of blood to the surface of the
ventral: the front or bottom side of an animal
Venus figurines: small Upper Paleolithic statues
characterized by exaggerated breasts and buttocks and very
stylized heads, hands, and feet.
vertebrate: a member of the subphylum Vertebrate;
possesses a bony spine or vertebral column.
vertical angle: in mapping, the angle of sight
measured on the vertical plane.
vertical circle: with major surveying instruments,
the graduated vertical table around which the sighting
telescope rotates; used to measure the vertical angle.
vertical clinging and leaping: a method of locomotion
in which the animal clings vertically to a branch and moves
between branches by leaping vertically from one to another.
The animal moves on the ground by hopping or moves bipedally.
vertical datum: a base measurement point from
which all elevations are determined.
vertical distance: the measurement of distance
(or elevations) on a true vertical plane.
vertical provenience: the vertical position of
objects within a site determined in relation to a vertical
datum or datum plane, as well as to the local ground surface.
Victoriapithecidae: family of Early and Middle
Miocene Old World monkeys from north and east Africa.
volcanic ash: layers of airborne pumice resulting
from violent volcanic eruptions. Provide valuable dating
markers when found in sites.
water table: the level of water under the earth.
wealth: the accumulation of material objects that
have value within a society.
weathering zone: in pedology, the depth to which
soil processes are operational.
weathering: the natural chemical or physical alteration
of an object or deposit through time.
weir: an aboriginal fish-trap based on a fence
or barrier of stakes or rocks built across a stream.
welded tuff: a rock formed of consolidated pumice
or volcanic ash. Occasionally used as a raw material for
Wheeler box-grid: an excavation technique developed
by Mortimer Wheeler from the work of Pitt-Rivers, involving
the retaining of intact baulks of earth between excavation
grid squares, so that different layers can be correlated
across the site in the vertical profiles.
white blood cell: see leukocyte.
Wisconsin(an) glaciation: the latest major episode
of glacial advance in the Pleistocene of North America;
from about 70,000 to 10,000 B.P.
witchcraft: use of religious ritual to control,
exploit, or injure unsuspecting, or at least uncooperating,
workday: the culturally established number of
hours that a person ideally spends at work each day.
world system: a term coined by the historian Wallerstein
to designate an economic unit, articulated by trade networks
extending far beyond the boundaries of individual political
units (nation states), and linking them together in a larger
X chromosome: the larger of the two sex chromosomes.
Normal females possess two X chromosomes; normal males
possess one X and one Y chromosome.
X-linked: a term that refers to genes on the X
X-ray diffraction analysis: a technique used in
identifying minerals present in artifact raw materials;
it can also be used in geomorphological contexts to identify
particular clay minerals in sediments, and thus the specific
source from which the sediment was derived.
X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (XRF): a method
used in the analysis of artifact composition, in which
the sample is irradiated with a beam of X-rays which excite
electrons associated with atoms on the surface.
XTENT modeling: a method of generating settlement
hierarchy, that overcomes the limitations of both central
place theory and Thiessen polygons; it assigns territories
to centers based on their scale, assuming that the size
of each center is directly proportional to its area of
influence. Hypothetical political maps may thus be constructed
from survey data.