archaeologist: scientists who study the people that lived long ago
archaeology: the study of human life by studying materials left behind
archaeological site: the places where past humans have lived or used
archaeological feature: natural or human built objects or places within an archaeological site that cannot be moved. Examples: caves, firepits, walls, floors.
artifact: any object made or used by humans
archives: a place where public records or historic documents are preserved and kept
chronology: an arrangement of events in the order in which they occurred
classification: systematic arrangement in groups or categories according to established criteria
context: the relationship artifacts have to each other and the situation in which they are found
cross-dating: the principle that a diagnostic artifact dated at one archaeological site will be of the same approximate age when found elsewhere
culture: the set of learned beliefs, values and behaviors generally shared by members of a society
data: information, especially information organized for analysis
diagnostic artifact: an item that is indicative of a particular time and/or cultural group; a computer would be a diagnostic artifact of the modern age
evidence: data which are used to prove a point, or which clearly indicate a situation
excavate: careful, methodical digging of an archaeological site to uncover artifacts or features
history: period of time in the past that events were recorded in written records
hypothesis: a proposed explanation accounting for a set of facts that can be tested by
inference: a conclusion derived from observations
Law of Superposition: a concept related to approximating the age of material or artifacts. These materials are in strata form a record of past events. The materials deposited first are the oldest and are always found on the bottom. The most recently deposited materials are the youngest and are always on top. This concept always applies unless some type of disturbance has occurred within the strata.
midden: an area used for trash disposal
observation: recognizing or noting a fact or occurrence
Paleo-Indians: (paleo meaning ancient) name for the first peoples in North America
prehistory: the period of time before written records
radiocarbon dating: a scientific method to age artifacts or materials. All living things take in the element carbon. Therefore, the material must have once been living in order for radiocarbon dating to be used.
rock art: images pecking, carving, or painting of designs onto rock surfaces
spatial: concerned with space
strata: many layers of earth
stratigraphy: the study of different layers of soils, rock or dirt at a site
survey: to study the land in detail looking for artifacts or features
temporal: concerned with time.