Chapter 8 vocab (book)
• Register of Historic Places: Established and authorized in 1966 through the National Historic
Preservation Act, the register amounts to an honor role of structures, places and sites that
meaningfully reflect significant episodes, events, people, or practices inAmerican history. Sites
nominated to and accepted onto the register are deemed worthy of preservation because of their
significance to national and local history.
• National Historic PreservationAct of 1966: This legislation formally established historic
preservation as an official policy supported by the federal government of the United States. The
spirit of this law is reflected in the wording of its preface, in which the authors expressed the
belief that the history of theAmerican people, reflected in part by cultural resources, should be
preserved as a reflection of national heritage. This act also established the National Register of
• Relative Dating: Refers to dating methods that place individual artifacts, ecofacts, features, or
sites in a chronological sequence but without a determination of actual age.Applying a relative
dating technique allows a researcher to conclude that one site is older than another, or that one
artifact is younger than another, but does not provide an age in years for sites, artifacts, or any
other archaeological materials.
• Strata: The singular of strata; a single or individual soil layer
• Stratigraphy: Analysis of the sequenced layering of rock and soil. The relative ages of
archaeological materials can be determined by the position of the soil levels, or strata, in which
the materials are found by reference to the law of superposition.
• Seriation Graph: Arelative dating technique based on a common pattern of change in material
culture. In many cases when a new way of accomplishing a task is invented or introduced in a
society, it is initially adopted by a small fraction of the population and through time closely
increases popularity until it reaches a peak in its acceptance.At some point yet another way of
accomplishing the same task is invented or introduced, and this new way slowly grows in
popularity, replacing the previously accepted method, which slowly decreases in use. Individual
sites can be dated by measuring the proportions of use of different styles or methods and from
this figuring out there they fit in a general continuum of technological or stylistic change
• Chronometric Dating: Dating techniques that provide an actual age in years or a range of years
for archaeological artifacts, ecofacts, features, or sites. The precision offered by different
chronometric dating methods when applied to archaeological sites can range widely. In
dendrochronology, for example, the precise year in which a tree was cut down can be
determined an, in another example, the makers mark on a ceramic vessel can be traced to the
precise year in which the maker produced a particular style of pottery.
• Absolute Dating: provides an actual age in years or a range of years for archaeological artifacts,
ecofacts, features, and sites. The precision offered by different absolute dating methods when
applied the archaeological sites can range widely.
• Hominid: The taxonomic family that includes human beings and species directly ancestral to
humans. The first hominids are characterized by chimp size brains and exhibit a skeletal
anatomy that enabled upright walking more than 6 million years ago, during the Pliocene epoch.
Stone tool making dated to about 2.5 million years ago in the hominids, about the same time the
hominid brain exhibited a dramatic increase in size beyond that of any other ape species.
• Pongids: The taxonomic family that includes all ape species, both living and extinct. The first
pongids date to sometime after 15 million years ago in the Miocene epoch, and they flourished
thereafter. Today there are several pongid species, including gorillas, chimps, bonobos, orangutans, gibbons, and siamangs.
• Dendrochronology: Tree ring dating. The actual year a tree was cut down and used, for
example, by a past people to build a structure, can be determined by comparing the succession
of rings in the ancient tree to those of a broad master sequence whose final ring represents the
current year. The master sequence for a given region is constructed by examining a number of
trees of overlapping ages. The master sequence consists of a series of rings of various thickness
stretching back, in some areas, for more then 10,000 years. Tree ring thickness varies from year
to year consistently across a region as a result of varying temperatures and amounts of rainfall.
Ring thicknesses for even a short series of years are not repeated, so any ancient tree found in a
region can be placed within the master sequence, and the year of its final ring can be
determined, thus dating when the tree died or was cut down.
• RadiometricAges: Dating techniques that are based on the reg