ANT 253 - Anthropology terms

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NCSU ANT 253 with Dr. Fitzpatrick Anthropology terms topic (taken from Moodle)


A set of activities representing uniquely human group attributes such as values, beliefs, and practices


A law that provides protection for Native American burials and helps groups have a voice in the treatment and study of individuals scientifically determined to be their biological ancestors


The use of ethnography to make a comparative study of multiple cultures or regions.

Material culture

The study of past populations based on archaeological excavation of goods and their interpretation through historical analogy

C14 Half-life

The measured rate of C14 decomposition. Half of the measurable C14 is lost every 5568 years


This study only focuses on areas related to past economy and associated goods


Large stones that have been modified and often transported by humans

Linnaean classification

Classification of organisms by their taxa, genus, and species


A written study of a culture, often the result of extensive fieldwork

Number of identified specimens

Quantification system where each found part is counted as one specimen


An archaeological model for dividing artifacts into subgroups or categories to help determine their relationships


The process of removing stratified layers to uncover archaeological evidence


An archaeological method of searching a specified area for unknown archaeology sites or features


The study of changes in the coastline of the earth's crust because of receding glaciers

stratigraphic control

The mapping and excavation of a site in layers, keeping artifacts separate by location and depth


The study of changes in sea level because of glaciation


Natural items associated with archaeological sites which are not modified by humans, but may give insights into diet, culture, and lifeways

archaeological site

A place where historic or prehistoric evidence of past human activity is preserved


The study of animal remains in an archaeological context


Any object made or modified by humans

Cultural Resources Management

The practice of managing traditional, historical, and material culture


The study of fossil hominid remains and any associated evidence such as footprints

Law of Superposition

The assumption that older sediment layers are on the bottom and younger layers are on the top

Applied archaeology

Archaeology that is dedicated to solving practical modern problems. Examples include conducting contract archaeology for development projects or using data to reintroduce old technologies

Law of association

The implication that objects recovered from the same archaeological layer under similar situations were most likely deposited at the same time


The study of past human cultures through the materials and modified objects left behind

Archaeological restoration

The rebuilding of archaeological sites or features


In archaeology, the study of how a site forms over time. In paleontology, the study of how organic remains become fossilized


A discipline dedicated to the study of humans culturally and biologically


The history of humankind before writing

soil horizons

visibly and texturally different layers within the soil

minimum number of individuals

A quantification system that attempts to identify how many individuals are present rather than the number of specimens

historic preservation

The practice of safeguarding structures deemed to have historical significance


The successive formation of layers over time in an archaeological site


Any non-portable artifact, such as a burial, wall, fire pit, or midden

culture area

A geographical region characterized by the presence of a homogeneous cultural group

preservation bias

The different preservation of archaeological material

cultural tradition

Any belief or activity that is passed on from one generation to the next within a human group

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