EARED __ Used in the description of projectile points the ear-shaped
or "tab-like" projections at the basal corners produced by the
combination of a concave base and deep, wide side-notches.
EARLY MAN __ In the New World this term refers to the oldest known human
occupants - i.e. prior to ca. 8,000 B.P.
EARLY PREHISTORIC PERIOD __ The most ancient of the periods of human
occupation in North America and closely equivalent in meaning to Paleo-Indian.
In Europe, the Mideast and elsewhere, the time preceding the beginnings of
EARLY SIDE-NOTCHED POINT TRADITION __ A grouping of early Middle Prehistoric
Period complexes characterized by side-notched projectile point styles
(generally the first side-notched styles in the region) which have been given a
number of different names: Mummy Cave, Bitterroot, Salmon River, Logan Creek,
Simonsen, etc. These are by-and-large restricted to the Northern Plains and
neighboring regions and coincide with the Altithermal or Atlantic Climatic
Episode. A number of radiocarbon dates in excess of 8000 years clearly indicate
that the authors of this tradition were contemporary with the Palaeo-Indians.
Where preservation is good, these materials tend to be associated with the
remains of now-extinct species of bison.
EARTHENWARE __ A type of pottery made from common clay and fired at a
temperature of less than l000 C. The resulting vessel is soft and porous and
requires a glaze to render it waterproof.
EARTHWORK __ A fortification, burial mound or other construction fashioned by
the excavation and/or heaping of earth.
EASTER ISLAND __ An island in the South Pacific (Polynesia), which has also
been called Rapa Nui since 1860, where giant statues called "moai" are found.
EASTERN CROSS TIMBERS __ A relatively narrow, north-south strip of forested
land that divides the Grand Prairie to the west from the Blackland Prairie to
the east in North Central Texas. The Eastern Cross Timbers are associated with
the sandier soils of the Woodbine geologic formation.
ECCENTRIC FLINT __ Flint cut in a pattern.
ECCLESIASTICAL CULT __ A highly complex religious system headed by a
ECHO-SOUNDING __ An acoustic underwater-survey technique, used to trace the
topography of submerged coastal plains and other buried land surfaces.
ECOFACT __ An object or substance found in a site which is of natural origin
but which nonetheless provides information pertinent to archaeology. Examples
might include fauna, flora, pollen and soil.
ECOLOGICAL DETERMINISM __ A form of explanation in which it is implicit that
changes in the environment determine changes in human society.
ECOLOGICAL NICHE __ The function or position of an organism in a community of
ECOLOGY __ The study of interrelationships of organisms and their environment.
ECONOMIC ANTHROPOLOGY __ A subdiscipline of anthropology that attempts to
understand how the schedule of wants and demands of a society is balanced
against the supply of goods and services available, withthe recognition that
economic processes cannot be interpreted without culturally defining the demands
and understanding the conventions that dictate how and when they are satisfied.
ECONOMIC CLASS __ A group that is defined by the economic position of its
members in relation to the means of production in the society--the wealth and
relative eocnomic control they may command.
ECONOMIC SYSTEM __ The ideas and institutions that people draw upon and the
behaviors in which they engage in order to secure resources to satisfy their
needs and desires.
ECOSYSTEM __ A group of organisms with specific relationships between themselves
and a particular environment.
ECTOTHERM __ An animal that derives much of its body heat from external heat
EFFIGY __ A likeness of a person or animal.
EFFIGY BOWL __ A vessel crafted in the shape of a person or animal.
EFFIGY MOUND __ An earthwork constructed in the shape of an animal or bird.
Those of the upper Mississippi are the most well-known in North America. Of
probable Hopewell affiliation, these may only be a metre or two in height but
may be over l00 m. in length. Occasionally, human burials have been found within
EFFIGY PIPE __ An aboriginal smoking pipe shaped to resemble a human or
EFFIGY VESSEL __ A container fashioned in the likeness of a human or animal.
EGALITARIAN SOCIETY __ A society that recognizes few differences in wealth,
power, prestige, or status.
ELECTRICAL RESISTIVITY __ Electrolysis A standard cleaning process in
archaeological conservation. Artifacts are placed in a chemical solution, and by
passing a weak current between them and a surrounding metal grill, the corrosive
salts move from the cathode (object) to the anode (grill), removing any
accumulated deposit and leaving the artifact clean.
ELECTRON PROBE MICROANALYSIS __ Used in the analysis of artifact composition,
this technique is similar to XRF (X-ray fluorescence spectrometry), and is
useful for studying small changes in composition within the body of an
ELECTRON SPIN RESONANCE __ A chronometric dating technique based upon the
behavior of electrons in crystals exposed to naturally occurring radioactivity;
used to date limestone, coral, shell, teeth, and other materials. Enables
trapped electrons within bone and shell to be measured without the heating that
EL DORADO __ A Spanish phrase, meaning "the Gilded One" or "the Golden Man,"
which refers to a legendary South American king who covered himself in gold.
European adventurers (mostly Spanish) became obsessed with finding the legendary
treasures of El Dorado, and searched for a city filled with gold throughout the
16th- and 17th-centuries.
ELECTRUM __ A mixture of gold and silver.
ELEVATION __ A measurement of vertical distance in mapping.
ELUVIATION __ The process by which fine particles of soil are moved downward
through the soil profile by rain water thus leaving the coarser particles nearer
EMBALM __ Process of preserving a dead body.
EMIC __ A perspective in ethnography that uses the concepts and categories
that are relevant and meaningful to the culture under analysis.
EMPATHETIC METHOD __ The use of personal intuition (in German Einfuhlung to
seek to understand the inner lives of other people, using the assumption that
there is a common structure to human experience. The assumption that the study
of the inner experience of humans provides a handle for interpreting prehistory
and history is made by idealist thinkers such as B. Croce, R.G. Collingwood and
members of the "postprocessual" school of thought.
EMPERICAL __ Received through the senses (sight, touch, smell, hearing,
taste), either directly or through extensions.
EMPERICISM __ Reliance on observable and quantifiable data.
EMPIRE __ The behavioral component of regional systems tied together by trade
and political and military activities.
EMULATION __ One of the most frequent features accompanying competition,
where customs, buildings, and artifacts in one society may be adopted by
neighboring ones through a process of imitation which is often competitive in
ENCULTURATION __ The process by which the young learn their own culture.
ENDOGAMY __ The restriction of choice of spouses to members of one's own
ENDOTHERM __ An animal whose body heat is regulated by internal physiological
END SCRAPER __ A stone tool formed by chipping the end of a flake of stone which
can then be used to scrape animal hides and wood.
ENGINEERS LEVEL __ An optical surveying instrument designed to obtain
accurate level lines of sight and turn.
ENNEAD __ A group of 9 Egyptian deities that are associated with a major cult
center. The best known is the great ennead of Heliopolis, It consists of Atum,
Shu, Tefnut, Geb, Nut, Osiris, Isis, Seth and Nephthys.
ENTREPRENEURS __ Individuals who are willing to take risks and break with
traditional practices in order to make a profit.
ENTREPRENEURSHIP __ Economic innovation and risk taking.
ENVIRONMENT __ The sum of the external conditions and influences which
surround an object or organism -- particularly the ecological and social
settings in which people work and live.
ENVIRONMENTAL ARCHAEOLOGY __ A field in which inter-disciplinary research,
involving archaeologists and natural scientists, is directed at the
reconstruction of human use of plants and animals, and how past societies
adapted to changing environmental conditions.
ENVIRONMENTAL CIRCUMSCRIPTION __ An explanation for the origins of the state
propounded by Robert Carneiro that emphasizes the fundamental role exerted by
environmental constraints and by territorial limitations.
ENVIRONMENTAL FORMATION PROCESS __ Biological, chemical, and physical aspects
of the environment responsible for forming and modifying the archaeological
ENVIRONMENTAL ZONE __ Regional plant-animal associations that are
EOLITHS __ Very crudely chipped or shaped stones that were first thought to
be tools. Some scholars have thought they were natural pieces of stone, not
shaped by humans.
EPIDERMIS __ The outermost layer of the skin.
EPOCH __ A unit of geological time; a division of a period.
ERIKSON, LEIF __ Leader of the Vikings (also called Norsemen) who came from
Europe and discovered North America in A.D. 1000, 492 years before Columbus.
EROS __ Greek god of love. Known as Cupid by the Romans.
EROSION __ The wearing away of soil, rock and other deposits by natural
forces such as wind, flowing water or ice; weathering.
ERRATIC __ A rock which from its shape or composition is entirely foreign to the
place where it is found, having been transported by glacial activity.
ESKER __ A sand or gravel ridge formed by water flowing beneath a glacier.
ESKIMO __ l. the Native inhabitants of Alaska, northern Canada and Greenland.
Traditionally, the Eskimo lived in small bands and followed a seasonal round of
activity. These people are known for their remarkable technological and
behavioral adaptations to one of the world's most trying environments. 2. the
language of these people.
ETHNIC CLEANSING __ The systematic elimination of a particular ethnic group
from a region or society, by means including deportation, forced emigration, or
ETHNIC GROUP __ The behavioral components of groups of households that
recognize a very general common ancestry.
ETHNO_ARCHAEOLOGY __ The approach to archaeology which makes use of
observations of the "archaeological" remains of living non-literate peoples in
an attempt to gain understanding of the nature of the material evidence
associated with specific activities. This contrasts with the study of
prehistoric activity areas and the derivation of plausible inferences to define
ETHNOCENTRISM __ The judging of other cultures by the standards of one's own
culture. This common human tendency almost inevitably leads to the conclusion
that other cultures are inferior to one's own.
ETHNOGRAPHIC INFORMATION __ Information obtained from the anthropological
study of living peoples.
ETHNOGRAPHY __ The by-and-large descriptive, non-interpretive, non-comparable
study of another culture.
ETHNOHISTORY __ The study of the development of a culture by means of
archaeological, anthropological and documentary evidence.
ETHNOLOGY __ The scientific, interpretive, comparative study of other
ETRUSCANS __ People who ruled Etruia (modern Tuscany), prior to being
absorbed by the Romans.
EVIDENCE __ Data proving a point or contributing to a solution.
EVOLUTION __ The gradual process by which living organisms have developed
since the start of time.
EXCAVATION __ Systematic digging and recording of an archaeological site.
EXOGAMY __ The practice of marrying outside of one's community.
EXPERIMENTAL ARCHAEOLOGY __ Scientific studies designed to discover processes
that produced and/or modified artifacts and sites.