IBU - The tent of purification. This is the place where Egyptian
mummification was performed.
ICE AGE __ The period of Prehistory between 35,000 and 12,000 years ago, when
huge ice sheets covered much of northern Europe and North America.
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-CREEPER __ An Eskimo invention consisting of a spiked piece of ivory or
bone which is attached to the soles of mukluks to facilitate movement over the
ICE MAN __ The name given to the 5,300-year-old body of a man found preserved
in a glacier on the border between Italy and Austria in 1991.
ICE SHEETS __ Ice sheets or glaciers covered 30 percent of the world,
including much of North America, during the Ice Age.
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
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
IDEALIZE __ To present something as more perfect than it is.
IDEO-FUNCTION __ The role an artifact has in a society's ideology.
IDEOLOGY __ A society's beliefs, attitudes, values, knowledge, and
IEB __ This is the heart. The Egyptians believed the heart was the center of
all consciousness, even the center of life itself. When someone died it was said
that their "heart had departed." It was the only organ that was not removed from
the body during mummification. In the Book of the dead, it was the heart that
was weighed against the feather of Maat to see if an individual was worthy of
joining Osiris in the afterlife.
IGLOO __ An often dome-shaped Eskimo structure built by the piling of blocks
of snow and intended as a shelter for either people or animals.
IGNEOUS __ Formed from molten lava which has hardened on or below the surface
of the earth.
IMAM __ There are many usages of this word. Generally and in lowercase, it
refers to the leader of congregational prayers; it implies no ordination or
special spiritual powers. For many Sunni Muslims it is a figurative term for the
leader of the Islamic community. Among Shii Muslims the word has many complex
meanings; generally it indicates that particular descendant of the House of Ali
ibn Abu Talib, who is believed to have been God's designated repository of the
spiritual authority inherent in that line. The identity of this individual and
the means of determining his identity has caused divisions among Shii Muslims.
IMPACTS __ The changes that archaeological resources undergo as the result of
INCA __ A culture that thrived in the 15th century A.D. Inca culture was
centered in the town of Cuzco, in what is now Peru, although the Incas
controlled a territory spanning 2,600 miles, from what is today the southern
border of Colombia to central Chile. Inca is commonly spelled INKA.
INCENSARIO __ A Mesoamerican incense burner.
INCEST __ Sexual intercourse between closely related persons.
INCEST TABOO __ The prohibition of sexual intimacy between people defined as
INCIPIENT __ Beginning; in an initial stage; not fully developed or
INCISED __ A decoration found on pottery consisting of lines drawn into wet
clay. When fired, the arrangement of lines leaves a permanent design on the
INCLINED SIGHTS __ In mapping, a vertically angled line of sight.
INCLUSION __ An intentional cultural association, such as grave-goods with a
INCLUSIVE FITNESS __ An individual's own fitness plus his or her effect on
the fitness of any relative.
INCREMENT BORER __ A hand-operated coring device for obtaining tree-ring
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
INDEX __ A spirit-bubble leveling device on the vertical circle of major
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.
INDIGENOUS __ Native to, originating in or occurring naturally in a given
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.
INDUCTION __ A method of reasoning in which one proceeds by generalization
from a series of specific observations so as to derive general conclusions (cf.
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 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 of the artifacts of a single material (bone, stone, ceramic,
etc.), made by members of a culture.
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.
INHUMATION __ The placement of the dead in an excavated pit beneath ground
INISKIM __ A fossil ammonite whose natural appearance resembles a bison.
INKA __ A culture that thrived in the 15th century A.D. Inka culture was
centered in the town of Cuzco, in what is now Peru, although the Inkas
controlled a territory spanning 2,600 miles, from what is today the southern
border of Colombia to central Chile. Inka is commonly spelled INCA.
INNOVATION __ The process of adopting a new thing, idea, or behavior pattern
into a culture.
IN SITU __ In the original place.
INSTINCT __ A genetically-determined pattern of behavior that is
characteristic of a species and is often a response to specific internal or
INSTITUTIONS __ A society's recurrent patterns of activity, such as religion,
art, a kinship system, law, and family life.
INSTRUMENT __ A general term for major optical surveying equipment, including
transits, alidades, and surveyor's levels.
INSTRUMENT HEIGHT __ The elevation of the line-of-sight of a surveying
instrument above the immediate ground surface.
INSTRUMENT POSITION __ The location at which a surveying instrument is
established to obtain a sighting.
INTAGLIO __ Design cut into the surface of a hard material.
INTERGLACIAL __ A warm interlude between two glacial periods.
INTERMEDIATE PERIODS __ Times of confusion in Egyptian history when different
parts of the country were ruled simultaneously by different kings.
INTERSTADIAL __ A brief, warm period within a glacial period.
INTRUSIVE __ An artifact or feature found within a feature, component or
stratum of which it was not originally a part.
INTRUSIVE OBJECT __ An object that is believed to have entered the body of a
person and to be the cause of illness and/or death. Such diagnoses are common
among many pre-industrial cultures worldwide. The cure often consists of the
removal of the object by a shaman or sorcerer. Sometimes this is accomplished by
(apparently) sucking the object through a bone tube (sucking tube) and then
displaying the object as proof of the cure.
INUIT __ l. an Eskimo word meaning literally "The People". 2. the name by which
the North American (and Greenland) Eskimo refer to themselves. 3. the language
of these people, more properly termed "Inuktitut".
INUKSUK __ The Eskimo word for the likeness of a human made by piling stones.
These are often erected in a long V-shaped formation bordering a drive lane.
Caribou, mistaking the inuksiuk (plural) for people, can then be stampeded
towards the narrow end of the V where a corral and/or hunters await them.
IRON AGE __ The third age in Thomsen's three-age system, referring to the
period when iron tools were manufactured.
IRON PYRITE __ A metallic, yellow-to-brown sulfide of iron. This widely
occurring mineral is also known as fool's gold. The mineral is cubic in crystal
IROQUOIAN __ A family of languages whose speakers originally occupied much of
the St. Lawrence River valley and isolated portions of the east-central United
States. The major languages within this family include Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga,
Mohawk, Oneida, Wyandot (Huron), Cherokee and Tuscarora.
ISIS __ Egyptian goddess venerated as ideal mother, wife of Osiris and mother
ISLAMIST __ One who seeks to make Islam a more prominent part of the political
and social order, usually by implementing some version of Islamic law, or Sharia.
Often used as a more accurate replacement for the term "fundamentalist."
ISLAMIZATION __ The process of Islam's becoming a more prominent part of the
political and social order. This may be through adoption of laws based on Islam,
a stricter code of behavior for Muslims in a community, or significant portions
of a population converting to Islam.
ISOLATED FIND __ The recovery; usually from the surface, of a single artifact
with no other artifacts in association.
ISOSTASY __ The rising of a land surface following the removal of the
enormous weight of glacial ice. This phenomenon is of particular importance in
Manitoba archaeology as the south-to-north tilting of the landscape due to the
retreat of the Wisconsinan ice sheet influenced the shoreline of glacial Lake
Agassiz and thus the areas which were available for human occupation.
ITHYPHALLIC __ From the Greek word meaning; "with erect penis". Various gods
are represented in this form. Most notably Min and Amun.