ULU __ A half-moon shaped Eskimo woman's knife. Typically, it is made
of ground slate, and is fitted with a wooden handle.
UMIAK __ A large,
open, flat-bottomed boat consisting of walrus hide over a spruce frame
and used primarily by Eskimo women.
UNCONFORMITY __ The surface of a
stratum that represents a break in the stratigraphic sequence.
UNDERWATER ARCHAEOLOGY __ The process of excavating archaeological
material covered by fresh or seawater.
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.
UNDERWORLD BOOKS __ A textual and pictorial compositions that is
found in New Kingdom tombs. It follows the daily passage of the sun god
across the sky and through the underworld.
UNIFACE __ A lithic
artifact which has been worked or retouched on one face only.
UNIFACIAL FLAKING __ The removal of secondary flakes from only one
surface of a stone nucleus.
UNIFORMITARIANISM __ The principle that maintains that processes seen
operating today also operated in the past.
UNILINEAL DESCENT GROUP __
A kin group in which membership is inherited only through either the
paternal or the maternal line, as the society dictates.
EVOLUTION __ A pattern of cultural progress through a sequence of
evolutionary stages; the basic premise of the early cultural
UNIT __ One of the squares excavated on an archaeological site; a
UNIT PRODUCTION __ The manufacture of an artifact by a craftsman
who performs all the operations in its production.
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 questions.
URAEUS __ A symbol of Egyptian kingship. A rearing cobra was worn on
the king's forehead or crown. The cobra was associated with the "eye" of
the sun. It was a protector of the king, spitting out fire.
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
URBANIZATION __ The proportionate rise in the
number of people living in cities in comparison to the number living in
URBANIZED SOCIETY __ A society in which a majority of
people live in cities.
URN __ A pottery vessel, usually rather large, deep, and without
handles. Urns were most often used for holding the ashes and bones of
the dead and were sometimes buried.
USE LIFE __ The average time that
artifacts of a particular type remain in use.
USE WEAR __ The gradual
attrition or accumulation of materials that occurs on an artifact during
USHABTI __ Literally translated it means "to answer." It is a
small mummiform figure placed in tombs to do work in the afterlife on
behalf of the deceased. In some tombs of the late New Kingdom whole
gangs of ushabti workers were included with different tools for doing
different work. A complete collection would consist of 401 ushabti: one
for each day of the year, 365 plus 36 foreman.
Pertaining to the characteristics of an artifact determined by the
physical requirements of the job it was made to perform.
abbreviation for Universal Transverse Mercator; a rectangular grid
system found on all standard military maps which has been advocated for
use in site designation and location by some archaeologists.
VALDERS __ a re-advance of Wisconsin ice in the Lake Superior and
Michigan basins at approximately ll,800 B.P.
VANDALISM __ The
malicious and intentional destruction or defacing of property.
VARIABLE __ Any property that may be displayed in different forms.
VARNAS CASTE __ Groups in Hindu India associated with certain
VENTRAL __ l. the flat or concave face of an artifact. 2. that face
of an artifact which was nearest to the center of the core from which it
was manufactured. 3. of or pertaining to the front of the body; towards
VENUS __ Roman name for Aphrodite, goddess of love and
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.
__ 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.
DATUM __ A base measurement point from which all elevations are
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.
VILLA __ Roman country house or estate.
VIKINGS __ A culture originating in Scandinavia (now Norway, Denmark
and Sweden) around the mid-8th century A.D. The Vikings were fierce
conquerors, brave explorers, and skilled craftspeople; they invaded and
settled countries throughout Western Europe. They were the first
Europeans to discover America (in about A.D. 1000), almost 500 years
VIROLOCAL __ Pertaining to the pattern in which a
newlywed couple takes up residence in the home, village or territory of
the husband's family. Virilocality generally results in patrilocality.
VISION PIT __ A subterranean pit in which a youth would wait while on a
vision quest. Some Thunderbird Nests may have served essentially the
VISION QUEST __ Among some native North American
peoples, a puberty rite in which young boys would seek visions and/or a
spirit helper. Physical hardships such as lack of water, food or sleep
and inadequate clothing in the winter were commonly part of the
VITREOUS __ Pertaining to, or resembling glass.
VIZIER __ High ranking official in the ancient Egyptian government.
VOLCANIC ASH __ Layers of airborne pumice resulting from violent
volcanic eruptions. Provide valuable dating markers when found in
VULCAN __ Roman god of fire. Called Hephaistos by the Greeks.