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Archaeology Vocabulary Get ready to dig…Like in the DIRT!!
archaeology The study of past civilizations by examining artifacts and other remains
anthropology The study of human beings and their culture
paleoanthropology The study of prehistoric human beings and how they lived
geology The study of the earth and its composition
history A record of what happened in the past, or an explanation of the past
prehistory History BEFORE the invention of writing (adj. prehistoric)
primary source A source produced during the same time period as it describes; a firsthand or eyewitness account
secondary source A source produced at a later date by those studying primary sources
artifact An object that was made by humans and that is of archaeological importance
fossil The remains or imprint of a plant or animal from a past age
oral tradition History that is passed down by word of mouth, or storytelling
cultural diffusion The spreading of ideas from one group of people to another
excavation The act of digging out a site by removing dirt; can also refer to the site itself (verb excavate)
stratum A layer of the earth, especially in an archaeological dig
stratigraphy The act of removing one stratum at a time, especially in looking for artifacts
“in situ” “in the place” where an artifact was found
chronological order In order of time, from earliest to latest
dating The act of determining when an artifact or fossil was made; there are many methods of dating an object
radiocarbon dating Determining the date of an object by measuring the amount of carbon decay
Digging Up the Past: Paleoanthropology and Archaeology
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