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Delaware Department of Transportation

Archaeology/Historic Preservation

DelDOT's Cultural Resources - Archaeology/Historic Preservation Glossary

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ABMC (American Battle Monuments Commission) - "A federal agency established by Congress to commemorate the service and achievements of U.S. armed forces where they have served overseas since 1917, and within the U.S. when directed by public law. The commission is responsible for designing, constructing, operating and maintaining permanent American cemeteries in foreign countries, establishing and maintaining U.S. military memorials, monuments and markers where American armed forces have served overseas since April 6, 1917, and within the U.S. when directed by public law. Also, the commission is responsible for controlling the design and construction of permanent U.S. military monuments and markers by other U.S. citizens and organizations, both public and private, and encouraging their maintenance."

Aboriginal - Prehistoric peoples in North America.

Abrader - Cobble tool used to smooth and shape stone tool edges during the manufacturing process. 2 A rock that shows evidence of being used for the shaping of wood and bone implements.

ACHP (Advisory Council on Historic Preservation) - "An independent federal agency established in 1966 that promotes the preservation, enhancement, and productive use of our nation's historic resources, and advises the President and Congress on national historic preservation policy"

Activity/Function Area - A section of an archaeological site where a definable activity took place, like a butchering, nut processing, or tool refurbishing area; characterized by specific tools and other artifacts resultant from the activity.

Adaptation - Cultural and physical adjustments made by individuals and groups to new environmental settings.

Adamesque - This refers to the style of the eighteenth century British architect Robert Adam (1728-92).

Amidships - Halfway between the bow and the stern of a vessel.

Adze - An axe-like tool with a blade at right angles to the handle.

Aeolian - Wind blown / deposited sediments. Ex. sand dunes.

Agrarian - Relating to or concerning the land and its ownership, cultivation, and tenure.

A-Horizon - The top layer of soil, consisting of organic humus, characterized by the downward movement of water; also called zone of leaching.

Albany Slip - Dark brown slip found on the interior of jugs, crocks, or pans of American manufacture. First made in Albany, New York, in the early nineteenth century.

Alluvial - Refers to deposits (alluvium) of fine rock material transported by and found along the floodplain of a stream.

Alluvium - Deposits of gravel, sand, and soil which are transported by flowing water. Ex Sediments that accumulate on flood plains as a result of overbank floods.

Alveolus - The portion of the maxilla or mandible into which the teeth fit.

Amaranth - One of the annuals in the genus Amaranthus, it was cultivated for food and for its showy red and green flower clusters.

American Stoneware - Highly fired ceramic with a gray, vitrified body, often salt-glazed and painted with a cobalt blue decoration. Though first produced in the early 18th century, it was popular as a utilitarian ware after the turn of the nineteenth century.

Anadromous Fish - Schooling fish that migrate in large numbers into freshwater streams from the ocean during spawning periods, often in the spring or fall. Ex. salmon, shad, or sturgeon.

Andesite - Fine grained, often porphyritic, volcanic rock that is similar to rhyolite, but contains less silica.

Annular Decoration - Concentric bands of colored slip applied by lathe to ceramics before glazing, popular in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

Anomaly - (See Magnetic Anomaly).

Antemortem - Occurring before death.

Anvil - Relatively flat stone, often pitted, used to support the core in bipolar stone tool manufacture. The anvil surface alternately may have served in the processing of foods such as nuts.

Ap-B-C Profile - A standard coding sequence for soil development. The Ap horizon is the plow zone; the B horizon is a zone leached by ground water; and the C horizon is the parent material on which the soil has developed.

Apothecary - One who prepares and sells drugs and medicines; pharmacist.

Arch - A form of construction, usually of masonry, whereby the downward thrust of wall massing over an opening is carried laterally to abutments or vertical supports. Often further described by its outline.

Archaeology - Study of past cultures through the systematic excavation and analysis of material remains.

Archeological Resource - Any material remains of past human life or activity greater than 100 years old which are of archeological interest as defined by Section 4(a) of the Archeological Resources Protection Act and 43 CFR Part 7.3.

Architecture - When used in the context of database systems, architecture refers to the overall structure of the database, and how it organizes information.

Architrave - The lowest member of a classical entablature. A molded lintel spanning between two columns. Ex. he molded frame surrounding a door or window.

Archival Research - Research done at places in which public or historical records, charters and documents are stored and preserved.

Argillite - Mildly metamorphosed siliceous rock composed of compact clay or silt-sized particles. Harder than claystone but softer than shale, used by aboriginal peoples for making stone tools. Argillite weathers easily, leaving a softened clay-like rind on artifact surfaces, found in great quantity in the Delaware Valley north of Trenton, New Jersey.

Argillic - Literally clay-like; refers to clay-like soil horizons.

Argillic Horizon - A B soil horizon in which argillite minerals have accumulated due to illuviation.

ARS (USDA Agricultural Research Service) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) chief scientific research agency, and is one of four agencies in the USDA's Research, Education, and Economics mission area. "ARS conducts research to develop and transfer solutions to agricultural problems of high national priority and provide information access and dissemination to ensure high-quality safe agricultural products, assess the nutritional needs of Americans, sustain a competitive agricultural economy, enhance the natural resource base and the environment, and provide economic opportunities for rural citizens, communities, and society as a whole."

Arthritis (Osteoarthritis) - Degenerative joint disease; remodeled changes in the skeleton which most frequently come about as the result of destruction of weight-bearing joints.

Artifact - Any object shaped or modified by man, or as a result of human activity. Ex. fragments of broken pottery, stone tools.

Assemblage - A collection or group of objects (e.g., stone tools) that are related in time and space within an archaeological site. Contemporary assemblages maybe similar from one site to another.

Astragal Molding - A bead molding decorated with a string of beads or bead and reel shapes.

Atlatl - A throwing board or spear thrower, used in both the Old and New Worlds. The atlatl functions like an extension of the arm, providing more thrusting leverage. 2 A wood or bone throwing stick used to propel spears with more force than by the arm alone.

Attribute - A discrete characteristic of an object.

Attrition - Occlusal tooth wear.

Auger - A large tool for boring holes deep in the ground.

Automatic Machine-Made Glass - Mechanical technique of glass manufacture introduced in the early twentieth century.

Axis - An imaginary line to which are referred the parts of an existing building or the relations of a number of buildings to one another.


Ballclay - Fine white clay used for making tobacco pipes and marbles.

Balloon Framing - A method of timber-frame construction used in the U.S.A. and Scandinavia: the studs or uprights run from sill to eaves, and the horizontal members are nailed to them.

Baluster - A short post or pillar in a series supporting a rail or coping and thus forming a balustrade.

Balustrade - A railing consisting of a handrail on baluster, sometimes on a base member and sometimes interrupted by piers, columns or posts. 2 An entire railing system including a top rail, its balusters, and sometimes a bottom rail.

Band-level Organization - Small, confederations of family groups who subsist by hunting and gathering. Bands do not usually have a formal political organization, and their composition is often fluid, or seasonal.

Bargeboard - A board which hangs from the projecting end of a roof, covering the gables, also known as a vergeboard.

Basal - Reference to the base of a projectile point.

Basalt - Fine-grained, dark-colored, volcanic rock rich in ferromagnesian minerals.

Baseboard - A molding that conceals the joint between an interior wall and a floor.

Base Camp - A prehistoric dwelling site for hunter-gatherers from which resource procurement forays are made.

Bathymetric Recording Sonar - An electronic ranging instrument that measures and displays the vertical depth of water (bathymetry) from the sonar transducer (transmitter) by using pulses of high frequency sound and measuring the time elapsed until the echo is received. If equipped with a recording device, it is often called a recording bathymetric sonar. The word "sonar" is derived from "Sound Navigation And Ranging."

Battering Tool - A stone tool used for flint knapping such as a hammerstone, or for food processing.

Bay - A vertical division of the exterior or interior of a building marked not by walls but by fenestration or door openings. 2 The subdivision longitudinally of a building by piers, arches, girders, etc.

Bay/Basin Feature - Also known as whale wallows, these shallow ponds, thought to have been formed during the end of the Pleistocene, represent a favored prehistoric settlement location.

Bay Window - An angular or curved projection of a house front filled by fenestration.

Bead Molding - A small cylindrical molding enriched with ornament resembling a string of beads.

Bedload - The material carried in the bed of a stream - usually larger material, such as sand, gravel, and cobbles - that rolls, tumbles, or bounces along.

Bellflower - Any of various plants of the genus Campanula, characteristically having blue, bell-shaped flowers.

Bentware - The wooden rims for carriage wheels.

BEP (Bureau of Engraving and Printing) - "A federal bureau within the Department of the Treasury tasked with the design and manufacture of official US security documents including Federal Reserve Notes, identification cards, naturalization certificates, and other special security documents."

B-Horizon - A soil layer characterized by the accumulation of material leached downward from the A-Horizon above; also called zone of accumulation. Highly weathered B-horizons are often too ancient to contain prehistoric artifacts.

BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs) - "A federal management and regulatory bureau within the Department of the Interior (DOI) responsible for the administration and management of land held in trust by the United States for American Indian, Indian tribes, and Alaska Natives." The BIA's mission is to: "...enhance the quality of life, to promote economic opportunity, and to carry out the responsibility to protect and improve the trust assets of American Indians, Indian Tribes, and Alaska Natives."

Biface - Flaked stone which has been worked on both faces (opposite sides). A biface may have been used as a cutting, scraping, chopping tool, a tool that was in the process of being manufactured, or as a projectile or knife at the tip of a spear or arrow.

Bifacial Tool - An artifact with flakes removed from both surfaces along a single edge.

Bifurcate - A projectile point from the Archaic Period (6500 B.C.); it is a small point with a notched base.

Billet - A club like rod made of anything but stone (usually antler) that is used to remove flakes in the process of making stone tools.

Bimodal - Having two separate statistical modes, or most frequent value in a set of data.

Bioturbation - Disturbance to soils from root action.

Bipolar - Lithic manufacturing technique of resting core on anvil and striking the core with a percussor; bipolar flakes typically exhibit sheared cones of force, diffuse bulbs of percussion, closely spaced ripple marks, and crushed and splintered platforms; bipolar cores are typically tabular in shape, exhibit heavy crushing and battering, and flake scars tend to be oriented along the long axis of the core.

Bi-Polar Core Technology - Expedient technology for producing flakes using unprepared amorphous cores. The core is set on an anvil and randomly struck with a hammerstone or billet to produce flakes.

Bi-Polar Percussion - Method of tool production in which the core is rested on an anvil and struck from above, resulting in the splitting or shattering of the core. Bipolar percussion produces blocky, often wedge-shaped debitage with crushed proximal and/or distal ends.

Blade - Thin, parallel-sided flake that is at least twice as long as it is wide.

BLM (Bureau of Land Management) - "A federal management bureau of the Department of the Interior responsible for the management and conservation of public surface acreage as well as subsurface mineral estate, and cultural resources within public land. These public lands make up more than 40 percent of all land managed by the Federal government."

Bloomery Furnace - Type of iron works where bar iron was produced. Bloomeries needed little capital, but didn't produce pig iron, a more useful industrial iron.

Blown-in-Mold - Process of glass contained manufacture in which glass was forced by means of air pressure from a blowpipe into a mold. This method was commonly used prior to the advent of machine-molded glass in the early twentieth century.

Blt Horizon - The first B soil horizon below the A horizon. There may be several B horizon characterized by different sediments, color, or degree of weathering or illuviation.

Board-and-Batten - A type of wall cladding for wood-frame houses; closely spaced, applied boards or sheets of plywood, the joints of which are covered by narrow strips of wood called battens.

Bolection Molding - A molding used to cover the joint between two members with different surface levels. It projects beyond both surfaces.

Boreal - The forest areas and tundras of the North Temperate Zone and Arctic region.

Borrow Operations - Large-scale gravel or sand excavation, usually by means of heavy machinery, for use in construction.

Box Cornice - A hollow cornice, built up of boards, moldings, shingles, etc.

B.P. - Years before present, which has been standardized at A.D. 1950.

Bracket - A supporting member (sometimes carved) projecting from the face of a wall. In American architecture it is frequently used for ornamental as well as structural purposes.

Brackish - A freshwater/saltwater mix.

Broadcloth - A densely textured woolen cloth with a plain or twill weave and a lustrous finish.

Broad Glass - Also called cylinder glass; window panes formed from a flattened glass cylinder.

Builder's Trench - Feature related to the construction of a foundation.

Bulb of Force - Small swelling on the ventral surface at the proximal end of a flake, resulting from the conchoidal fracture of the stone core. The bulb is a characteristic of human alteration of stone, and therefore important in the identification of lithic artifacts.

Bulkhead - A horizontal or sloping structure providing access to a cellar stairway or to an elevator shaft.

Bull's Eye - A circular window or louver.

Burgomaster - The chief magistrate of a town in certain European countries.

Burial Vault - An arched structure, usually of stone, brick, or concrete used to encase a burial coffin.

Butchery Waste - Bone thrown away during the butchering of the animal carcass; parts not used for food.

Butted - To be joined at the ends.

Butt Hinge - A hinge composed of plates attached to abutting surfaces of a door and door jamb and joined by a pin.


Cache - A collection of artifacts and/or ecofacts which has been deliberately stored for future use.

Calkin - A sharp pointed piece of iron on a shoe for a horse or an ox; used to prevent the animal from slipping.

Cantilever - A horizontal projection (e.g., a step, balcony, beam or canopy) supported by a downward force behind a fulcrum. It is without external bracing and thus appears to be self-supporting.

Capital - The moldings and carved enrichment which form a finish to the top of a column, pilaster, pier, or pedestal.

Caplifters - Handles or other fixtures/hardware on later nineteenth century decorated coffins.

Carding Mill (or Factory) - A mill which refines wool.

Cartwright - Cart and wagon maker.

Carolina Artifact Pattern - One type of broad inter-site artifact frequency patterns based upon the relationships of eight categories (groups) of artifact classes. This pattern is associated with British colonial America sites and settlements within the area of colonization.

Casement - The hinged part of a window, attached to the upright side of the window-frame. 2 A window which swings open along its entire length.

Cast Stone - A mixture of stone clips or fragments, embedded in mortar, cement, or plaster, treated to simulate stone.

Catchment (Area) - The distance from a site within which people will travel to obtain resources.

CC Index - A set of CC index values for English ceramics has been generated for the period 1787 to 1880. CC ware was the cheapest refined type of ceramic for this period and was used as a base for the index. The index values were created by dividing the cost of CC ware into the cost of the other ceramic types. These index values are used to compare the cost between excavated ceramic assemblages.

C-Horizon - The parent material (sediment) on which a soil has developed.

Celt - Ungrooved, wedge-shaped, ground and often polished stone tool, used as an ax or adze.

Cemento-Enamel Junction - The line at the base of the crown of a tooth, between the enamel of the crown and the cementum of the root.

Census, U.S. - An official count of the nation’s population taken every 10 years, often including a collection of demographic information.

CFA (Commission of Fine Arts) - "The Commission is authorized to advise on the location of statues, fountains and monuments in public areas in the District of Columbia, advise on plans for public buildings erected by the Federal Government within the District of Columbia and to regulate the height, exterior design and construction of private and semipublic buildings in designated historic areas. The Commission of Fine Arts is composed of seven members. They are appointed by the President a serve without compensation for four-year terms."

C-Horizon - A soil layer composed of incompletely weathered parent material.

Chalcedony - Transparent or translucent, microcrystalline silica milky or grayish rock, with distinctive microscopic crystals arranged in slender fibers in parallel bands.

Chamfer - A flat surface made by cutting off an edge or corner.

Chert - Compact, opaque to slightly translucent, microcrystalline silica rock. Iron-rich cherts are referred to as jasper. 2 Cryptocrystalline rock of variable color and texture used as raw material for making stone tools. 3 A fine-grained, siliceous, sedimentary rock.

Chimney Stack - A group of flues contained within a common covering. Also called a "chimney pile".

Chine Log - A longitudinal supporting beam fastened inside the hull of a flat-bottomed vessel at the joint between the side and bottom.

Chi Square Test of Association - A test used to determine if variables within a sample are statistically associated, that is, to determine if statistically significant differences exist which cannot be attributed to chance.

Chip - Form of debitage, sometimes referred to as shatter, that does not possess flake attributes such as a bulb of force or striking platform.

Chronology - Sequence of prehistoric cultures represented in a region. 2 Pertains to the basic temporal units of prehistory and the time span reflected in archaeological site stratigraphy.

Clapboard - Exterior wood siding applied horizontally and overlapped.

Clerestory - Horizontal glazing of wall space. Often extends the length of a story, thus, a "clear story." May also be horizontal roof or monitor glazing.

Clevis - A U-shaped metal piece with holes in each end through which a pin or bolt is run, used for attaching a drawbar to a plow.

Client-Server Architecture - A software model whereby, in the case of database systems, data are stored and processed centrally on a server, while functions such as data entry or reporting take place on distributed client computers. Servers typically are enterprise database systems, such as Oracle ©, PostgreSQL ©, or Microsoft SQL Server ©, while clients are normally lighter-weight systems such as Microsoft Access © that are specialized for interface design.

Clinker -Burned or partially burned pieces of coal or coal impurities.

C.M.U. - Concrete masonry unit sometimes called a cinder block.

Coarse Earthenware - Ceramic with a soft, non-vitreous paste fired at 1000-1900oF. Coarse wares, whether red or buff bodied, usually were used in food preparation and storage.

Cobble - A water worn, or rounded stone, frequently used as raw material for stone tool manufacture by prehistoric people.

Cobble Tool - Stone tool, such as a hammerstone, a netsinker, or an abrader, made on a stream cobble that usually exhibits pitting, smoothing, or other types of modification as a result of use. 2 Cobbles used for various tasks with little or no prior modification; battered, crushed, pitted, and/or smoothed surfaces identify these cobbles as tools.

Colonnade - A row of columns carrying an entablature or arches.

Column - A cylindrical support for roofs, ceilings, etc. May be composed of base, shaft, and capital.

Colluvial - Refers to weathered rock material transported by gravity.

Colluvium - Coarse-textured sediments that accumulate primarily at the base of slopes as a result of slopewash and rock slides from higher elevations.

Common Bond - A brick pattern in which every fifth or sixth course consists of headers.

Common Rafters - Rafters of equal size found along the length of a roof or sometimes interrupted by main trusses containing principal rafters.

Computerized Data - Data that are collected, stored, and accessible through a computer or other electronic means.

Console - A projecting, scroll-shaped member usually used for support but also for ornament.

Contracting Stem Point - A point that has a stem with sides which come inward; opposite of flared point.

Cooper - One who makes or repairs wooden tubs and casks.

Corbel - A horizontal bracket form produced by extending successive courses of masonry or wood beyond the wall surface.

Cordwainer - Eighteenth and nineteenth century term for a leather worker and sometimes shoemaker.

Core - A piece of stone from which other pieces of stone are flaked off to make artifacts.

Cornice - The crowning member of a wall or entablature. 2 The exterior trim of a structure at the meeting of the roof and wall.

Cortex - Outer weathered surface or rind of a stone, usually exhibiting a different color and texture from the interior material. Observations of coretex provide information on tool manufacturing techniques and methods of raw material procurement; presence of cortex indicates early-to middle-stage tool manufacturing activity.

Coulbourn Ware - A Woodland I (400 B.C. - 100 B.C.) conoidal shaped ceramic of coiled construction tempered almost entirely with clay nodules or clay fragments whose exterior may be cord marked or net impressed.

Coulter - A blade or wheel on a plow for making vertical cuts.

Coursed Rubble - Rough unhewn building stones that are roughly dressed and are laid in deep courses.

Cracked Rock - Includes all fragments of lithic debris that cannot be attributed to stone tool production; represents cobbles and/or chunks of local bedrock that may have been used in heating or cooking activities (fire-cracked rock, boiling stones).

Craftshop - The location of activity where piecework or other hand-power and craft-oriented trades, as opposed to machine manufacturing, are performed.

Crassotrea Virginica - The species of oyster found in the waters of the Delaware region.

Crazing - Crazing is the cracking of the glaze on ceramic vessels which are caused because the glaze has a different rate of contraction than the body. When the vessel is heated or cooled, the different rates of expansion and contraction between the glaze and body cause small cracks to appear in the glaze.

Creamware - Refined earthenware with a buff body and clear lead glaze producing a cream colored surface. Creamware was originally manufactured in England in the mid-eighteenth century, and continued to be made into the nineteenth century. 2 A cream-colored ceramic used to make plates and other dishes, introduced by Josiah Wedgwood in 1762 and common until 1800.

Cretaceous Geologic Period - The third period of the Mesozoic era characterized by the development of flowering plants and the disappearance of dinosaurs.

Cribra Orbitalia - Porosity in the upper surfaces of the orbits which may be related to anemia or other deficiency.

Cripple - Historic term meaning wetland or marshland.

Cross-Mend - The pieces of ceramic in different features that fit together in a reconstructed vessel.

Cross-Section - A transverse of a portion of a feature, horizontally and vertically removing soil from one section.

Crossette - The side projections at the top of an architrave.

Crown - To surmount or be the highest part of.

Cryptocrystalline - Indistinctly crystalline; having an indistinguishable crystalline structure. 2 Rock type that shows no crystalline structure when observed under a low-power microscope. This type of rock is well suited as raw material for manufacturing stone tools.

Cultigen - Domesticated plant (e.g., maize, beans, squash, sunflower) cultivated by prehistoric peoples that originates from a wild ancestral form.

Culture - A uniquely human system of habits and customs acquired by man through a non-biological, uninherited process, learned by his society, and used as his primary means of adapting to his environment.

Cupola - A small structure built on top of a building, usually for ornamental purposes. Also a vertical cylindrical furnace for melting of iron in the foundry.

Curated Technology - When artifacts are reused and transported so often that they are rarely deposited in contexts which reflect their actual manufacture and use.

Cut Nail - Nail cut from sheet iron, first produced in the late eighteenth century, that gradually replaced the hand wrought nail.

Cyma Recta - A molding having a profile of double curvature that is concave at the outer edge and convex at the inner edge.

Cyma Reversa - A molding having a profile of double curvature that is convex at the outer edge and concave at the inner edge.


Dames Quarter Black Stone Tempered - A Woodland I (1200 B.C. - 700 B.C.) modeled and possibly coiled ceramic characterized by flat bottoms and tempered with crushed black hornblende or gneiss. Surfaces are usually smooth and occasionally the flat bases are mat impressed.

Data - Any documentary, tabular, or location information collected, maintained, and/or disseminated by a SHPO, THPO, or FPO, either manually or through electronic means, that contributes to documentation of an historic property or properties for the purpose of historic designation, preservation, or protection.

Database Management System (DBMS) - A program or collection of programs that enables you to store, modify, and extract information from a database. DBMS can have different types of structures and usually include ways of managing both the input and output of information within the database.

Datum - Fixed zero point used to maintain vertical control in excavation. A datum line is a horizontal reference line for making scaled drawings of excavations.

Deadwood - The reinforcing structure at the stern of a vessel built in between the keel and the upper part of the hull, at the place where the rudder was mounted.

Debitage - Waste material from the manufacture of stone tools, including cores, flakes, and chips.

Deciduous - Leaf-bearing trees that shed in autumn.

Deciduous Dentition - The primary dentition which are shed as the permanent dentition erupts ("milk teeth")

Decortication - Removal of the cortex from a piece of stone.

De Facto - In reality or fact.

Demography - The size, density, distribution, and vital statistics of a human population; also refers to the study of these population characteristics.

Dental Caries - Lesions on the enamel surface of teeth which are the result of decay.

Denticulate - Finely toothed; minutely dentate. A tool with small (toothlike) projections on the edge.

Dentil - A small ornamental block, forming one of a series set in a row. A dentil molding is formed by such a series.

Dentin - The main tissue of the tooth which surrounds the pulp cavity and is covered with enamel.

Detritus - Particles of rock or other material worn or broken away from a mass, as by the action of water or glacial ice; any disintegrated material; debris.

DHS (Department of Homeland Security) - A federal security and law enforcement agency established for the enforcement of the United States' domestic borders, provide relief in the event of natural disaster, and administer immigration into the United States. The department consolidates the functions and facilities of several previous federal agencies, including U.S. Customs Service, Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Transportation Security Administration, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Secret Service, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Diachronic - Referring to two or more reference points in time. 2 The study of a discrete area through time, i.e. culture history.

Diagnostic - Artifact with identifying traits that categorize the item to a specific time period. 2 An artifact that can clearly be dated and/or identified as to maker, date, place or origin.

Diagnostic Artifacts - An artifact with specific temporal or cultural significance.

Diaphysis - The mid-portion of a long bone (shaft) which is one of the primary centers of ossification.

Dietary Refuse - Bone that comes from the table; food scraps.

Difference-of-Means Test - A statistical test that determines if the means (averages) of variables, or measurements are different.

Difference-of-Proportion Test - A statistical test that measures the degree of difference between samples from two different populations of things.

Digital - Information that can read, write, or be stored in a numerical format for the purposes of being accessed, stored, or modified through the use of electronic equipment such as a computer, scanner, GPS unit, or other device.

Digitize - The conversion of one type of media (text, image, audio, video) to a digital format for the purposes of being viewed, modified, or stored by electronic equipment such as a computer, scanner, GPS unit, or other device.

Dipt - The Staffordshire potters' term for refined earthenwares that are slip decorated such as mocha, common cable, variegated, and blue banded. These wares were the cheapest types of bowls, mugs, and pitchers available with color decoration from ca. 1790 to 1860.

Direct Percussion - Part of the lithic reduction process, a percussor is directly applied to the worked material with a sharp blow.

Discards - Stone tools that are too heavily reshaped and modified to be further used.

Discriminant Function - A linear equation that assigns an unknown case to one of a number of categories (such as sex or population).

Displacement Tonnage - The amount of water in tons displaced by the underwater volume of a vessel; abbreviated "displ."

Distal - Portion of the flake farthest from the striking platform; or, the pointed end of a biface.

Distal End - The pointed end of a projectile point.

DOD (Department of Defense) - The federal agency that manages the facilities, operations, and personnel of the various armed forces of the United States through the Department of the Navy, the Department of the Army, the Department of the Air Force, along with the Commander-in-Chief and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

DOE (Department of Energy) - "A federal management agency established to defend energy security, maintain the safety, security and reliability of the nuclear weapons stockpile, clean up the environment from the legacy of the Cold War, and develop innovations in science and technology through research and development. The Department now operates research laboratories and facilities, power marketing administrations, and an energy information administration, as well as managing the environmental cleanup from 50 years of nuclear defense activities in communities across the country."

DOI (Department of the Interior) - The Department of the Interior (DOI) is the nation's principal conservation and land-management agency. The DOI is a large decentralized federal agency that administrates public surface land use, cultural resources management, reclamation projects, conservation projects, energy development projects, mining projects, and federal tribal relations. In addition, the DOI raises revenues collected from energy, mineral, grazing, timber, recreation, land sales, and other revenue producing activities. A number of Bureaus and Services are administrated by the DOI, including the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Reclamation, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, Minerals Management Service, and the Office of Surface Mining.

Doric Order - The column and entablature developed by the Dorian Greeks, sturdy in proportion, with a simple capital, a frieze and a cornice.

Dormer (Window) - A window in a sloping roof, with vertical sides and front. 2 A window which projects from a sloping roof.

Dorsal - Outer surface of a flake. The dorsal surface exhibits the remnant flake scars of prior flake removals and/or cortex. 2 Facing side; outer surface.

DOT (Department of Transportation) - "A federal regulatory agency that aims to serve the United States by promoting a fast, safe, efficient, accessible and convenient transportation system that meets the vital national interests and enhances the quality of life of the American people. Leadership of the DOT is provided by the Secretary of Transportation, who is the principal adviser to the President in all matters relating to federal transportation programs. The Office of the Secretary (OST) oversees the formulation of national transportation policy and promotes inter-modal transportation. Other responsibilities range from negotiation and implementation of international transportation agreements, assuring the fitness of US airlines, enforcing airline consumer protection regulations, issuance of regulations to prevent alcohol and illegal drug misuse in transportation systems and preparing transportation legislation." In some references "DOT" also refers to a state Department of Transportation, usually cooperating with USDOT.

Double Hung Window (d.h.) - A window having two vertical sliding sashes, each closing a different part of the opening.

Double Pile - Two rooms deep.

Dower - The portion of the estate of a deceased person that the law allocates to the surviving spouse.

Dripline - A slight trench or depression left in the soil where a roof overhang was present.


Early Stage Biface Discard - A biface that was used in an early stage of manufacture and then discarded before being more finely finished.

Early Stage Biface Reject - A biface that never passed beyond the initial steps of stone tool production due to either flaws in the raw material or manufacturing error.

Earthenware - Kind of ceramic (pottery) fired at a rather low temperature, softer than stoneware or porcelain. Earthenware is usually divided into "coarse earthenwares," rougher types used to make pots and crocks for kitchen or dairy use, and "refined earthenwares," which were made for display on the table.

Eaves - The edge of a roof that projects over an outside wall.

Eclectic - Architecture that is based on, or imitative of, many styles selected by personal preferences.

Ecofacts - The non-artifactual remains (floral or faunal) found in archaeological sites such as seeds, bones, plant pollen, fish scales, charred nuthulls, and related items.

Ecotone - An ecological community of mixed vegetation formed by the overlapping of adjoining communities.

EDA (Economic Development Administration) - A federal regulatory agency developed in 1965 in accordance within the U.S. Department of Commerce pursuant to the Public Works and Economic Development Act to "generate jobs, help retain existing jobs, and stimulate industrial and commercial growth in economically distressed areas of the United States." The administration works in partnership with state and local governments, regional economic development districts, public and private nonprofit organizations, and Indian tribes in order to achieve their goals.

Edaphic Factors - Environmental factors due to the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of the soil.

Edge Damage - Wear on stone tool edges as a result of use in cutting, scraping, and other activities. 2 Known by a variety of terms including "microflaking" and "utilization damage," this refers to the scars created along the edge of a utilized tool; visible as tiny flakes removed from the utilized surface.

Egalitarian - This adjective applies to the societies in which all individuals are roughly equal in social status and economic wealth.

E-Horizon - Light-colored soil horizon usually underlying the A-horizon and characterized by less organic matter and/or lower amounts of iron and aluminum compounds than the underlying horizon.

Ell - A wing of a building at right angles to the main structure. 2 An extension at right angles to the length of a building.

Elliptical - An arch that is a half ellipse from a center on the spring line.

Embossed - Having letters, numbers, or designs molded in relief.

Embrasure - A recess for a window, door, etc., or a small opening in the wall.

Empirical Data - Information obtained through reliance on experience or observation along, often without due regard for system or theory.

Enamel - The hard substance that covers the dentin and forms the outer surface of a tooth crown.

Enamel Hypoplasia - Lines of disrupted development in the enamel surface of teeth.

Entablature - The top member of a classic order, being a continuous lintel supported on columns. It is divided horizontally into three main parts: the uppermost is the cornice, the middle one the frieze, and the lowest the architrave. Each has the moldings and decorative treatment that are characteristic of the particular order.

Enthesophytes - Ossified projections or spurs at the points of ligamentous and tendinous attachment.

Ephemeral Site - A site that was occupied for a very short period of time; transitory.

Epidermis - Outer skin.

Epiphysis - One of the ends of a long bone which is one of the secondary centers of ossification.

Escutcheon - A hardware form, specifically a protective or ornamental shield such as around a keyhole; used in reference to doors, furniture, coffins, etc.

Estuary - A semi-enclosed body of water where fresh and salt water mix due to the action of currents and tides. 2 The part of the wide lower course of a river where its current is met by the tides.

Ethnobotany - The analysis and interpretation of plant lore and agricultural customs of a people.

Eustatic Sea Level Rise - The worldwide rise in the level of the sea resulting from the influx of water caused by melting of the great glaciers since the close of the final Pleistocene (q.v.) Ice Age around 10,000 years ago.

Expedient Tool - Stone tool lacking formal characteristics of consistent shape and outline form but with simply modified edges specific to a task. These tools are usually flakes that have been only slightly retouched along a single edge.

Extant - Still in existence.

Eyebrow Window - A small window, usually wider than high, placed close beneath the eaves to ventilate or illuminate an attic story.


FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) - A federal regulatory agency that is responsible for the enforcement of civil aviation safety regulations, the development of civil aeronautics, the operation and development of both civil and military air traffic control, the regulation of United States commercial space transportation, and the control and mitigation of environmental factors associated with aviation.

Facie - A stratigraphic body distinguished from others by appearance, composition, or mode of deposition.

Facing - The finishing applied to the outer surface of a building.

Fallow Field - A plowed but not planted field.

Fall Line - A transition zone from the Piedmont Uplands to the flatter Coastal Plain.

False Plate - A plate which has no structural usage. See Plate.

Fanlight - A window, often semi-circular, over a door with radiating glazing bars suggesting a fan.

Fascia - A horizontal band of vertical face, usually in combination with moldings, as in the lowest member of a cornice. 2 A board that is attached vertically to the end of roof rafters.

Fast Land - Well drained elevated upland terrain situated adjacent to a waterway; frequently used as a loading and unloading place for watercraft.

Fauna - Animal life. Bone and shell are faunal remains often found on archaeological sites.

Faunal Remains - Animal remains from archaeological sites studied to learn of past foodways and the ecological relationships between humans and animals.

FCC (Federal Communications Commission) - "An independent regulatory federal agency established to regulate both interstate and international communications via radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable."

Feature - Any soil disturbance or discoloration that reflects human activity, or an artifact that, being too large to remove from a site, normally is recorded only; for example, house, storage pits, etc. can also be a very dense collection of artifacts; for example, a lithic chipping feature.

Federal Style - The dominant architectural style of the United States from about 1780-1820. Exhibits exterior symmetry, pedimented doorways, semi-circular or elliptical fanlights with or without sidelights, and decorated cornices, especially with dentils.

Feldspar - Silicates of aluminum, containing sodium, potassium, calcium, or barium or combinations of these elements. Clay is the chief substance formed when weathering decomposes feldspars.

Felloes - Wooden materials manufactured for use in the building of carriage wheels.

Ferrous - Containing iron.

FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) - A federal regulatory agency under the direction of the Department of Homeland Security that represents the federal response to natural disasters that may occur within the domestic borders of the United States in the form of coordinating disaster relief, reconstruction, and the restoration of ravaged areas.

Fenestration - The arrangement in a building of its windows, especially the more important and larger ones. 2 The arrangement of windows in a building.

FHWA (Federal Highway Administration) - A federal administrative agency that is organized under the U.S. Department of Transportation. The primary responsibility of the FHWA is to enforce and develop highway safety legislation as well as maintain and improve the nation's extensive surface transit corridor network. The agency provides financial and technical support for the construction, improvement, and preservation of highways owned by state, local, and tribal governments. This budget is divided between two major programs: the Federal-Aid Highway Program and the Federal Lands Highway Program.

Field Reconnaissance - The walking of a field to examine the surface for any artifacts, architectural remains, or obvious archaeological features.

Fieldstone - Rough building stones generally not laid in regular courses. May be finished or uncut stones.

Fill - The soil inside a feature.

Fire-Cracked Rock - Stone which has been exposed to extreme heat, producing spalling, cracking and/or reddening of its interior and exterior surfaces.

First Land - Solid land.

Fish and Sherds Model - This is a mathematical model used to estimate the total number of vessels on a site based on the excavated sample. It is based on the biological model for estimating the population of fish in a pond or lake by tagging a sample of fish, releasing them, and then recapturing some of the tagged fish in a second sampling. The model is described in Miller and Moodey 1986.

Fission of Social Units - The dispersal of a macroband into macrobands, possibly on a seasonal basis, for the purpose of resource acquisition, trade and exchange, or some other specialized purpose.

Flake - Form of lithic debitage resulting from the manufacture of stone tools, or struck from a core for use as an expedient tool. Flakes are formed by either a controlled act of pressure, or a striking action of percussion. They are distinguished from natural spalls by the presence of attributes such as a striking platform and bulb of force.

Flake Scar - The place from which a flake was removed from a piece of stone, usually a smooth and shallow concavity.

Flemish Bond - A brick pattern in which each course consists of headers and stretchers laid alternately; each header is centered with respect to the stretcher above and below.

Flintknapping - Stone tool manufacture, consisting of a process of reduction in which the knapper removes flakes from a stone in a sequential manner to form a tool.

Floodplain - Level or nearly level ground bordering a stream and subject to repeated flooding.

Flora - Plant life.

Floral Remains - Includes both charred and uncharred plant materials such as seeds, nuts, shells, and wood.

Flotation - Method used to separate floral and faunal remains from the soil and other artifacts. A soil sample is immersed in water and the organic remains float to the surface, where they are collected for analysis.

Flow Blue - Form of transfer printing in which an excessive amount of link was employed and allowed to bleed beneath the glaze.

Fluted - Decorated with parallel grooves.

Fluvial - Produced by the action of flowing water.

Foodways - The interrelated systems of food procurement, preparation, and consumption.

Footring - A raised ring on the base of certain ceramic vessels, on which the vessel rests.

Fore and Aft Rigging - When a vessel's sails are positioned in line with the longitudinal axis of the vessel, as opposed to perpendicular (square rigging).

Forecastle - This superstructure in the forward (front) part of a vessel, immediately behind the bow. It is commonly used for equipment storage or seamen's quarters. The term has come to be abbreviated as "fo'c's'le."

Formation - A distinctive unit of rock or sediment, often named by the geologist that first describes it, e.g., the Columbia Formation.

FPO (Federal Preservation Officer, or Office) - Historic Preservation Officers designated to federal agencies in accordance to Section 110 of the NHPA 1966 (amended 1992) who serve to administer the preservation programs attached with the activities of various federal agencies as mandated in NHPA 1996.

Frame House - A timber house of frame construction usually covered with shingles or weatherboarding.

Free Blown - A bottle blown without a mold.

Frieze - Any long and narrow horizontal architectural member, especially one which has chiefly decorative purpose. 2 Area immediately below a cornice.

Frontier Artifact Pattern - Another type of inter-site artifact frequency pattern; generally associated with military and trading post sites on the periphery of or beyond the limits or the actual area of colonization.

Frontispiece - An ornamental porch or door surround.

FSA (USDA Farm Service Agency) - "A federal regulatory and management agency regulated by the Department off Agriculture (USDA) that administers and manages farm commodity, credit, and conservation, disaster and loan programs as laid out by Congress through a network of federal, state and county offices."

Fusion/Fission Social Organization - Large (fused) social groups consisting of sets of individual nuclear families that inhabited macroband base camps during the season when those areas contained rich resources. When resources became depleted, macrobands would break (fission) into smaller units and move to different resource settings to inhabit microband base camps. 2 The coalescence of microbands into a macroband for the purpose of mate selection, large work projects, or some other general purpose; may also be seasonal.

FWS (Fish and Wildlife Service) - "The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is a federal conservation bureau within the Department of the Interior. Their mission is to work with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. FWS manages the National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS) of more than 520 National Wildlife Refuges and thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. Under the Fisheries program they also operate 69 National Fish Hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological services field stations."


Gabbro - Coarse-grained, dark igneous (volcanic) rock.

Gable - A triangular-shaped piece of wall closing the end of a double pitched roof.

Gambrel Roof - A roof formed by a single slope on each of two opposing sides.

Gazebo - A small look-out tower or summerhouse with a view, usually in a garden or park.

Geoarchaeology - Study of archaeological soils and site formation processes.

Geocoding - The process of assigning a location, usually in the form of coordinate values (points), to an address by comparing the descriptive location elements in the address to those present in the reference material. With geocoded addresses, address locations can be spatially displayed and patterns within the information recognized.

Geomorphological Setting - The geologic study of he configuration and evolution of land forms.

Geomorphology - The study of landforms; concentrates on both the description of landforms and the chemical and physical processes that create the features present on the surface of the earth.

German Siding - Drop siding with a concave upper edge which fits into a corresponding groove in the siding above. Drop siding is an exterior wall cladding of wooden boards which are tongued and grooved or rabbeted and overlapped so that the lower edge of each board interlocks with a groove.

GIS (Geographic Information System) - A realm of computerized theory and methods, as well as a set of software tools, GIS enables the processing, storing, maintenance, management, analysis, and visualization of digital geographic data.

Glacial Outwash - Material carried away from the foot of a melting glacier by running water. Glacial outwash streams are commonly very dirty, and result in extensive deposits of gravel, sand, silt, and clay.

Glazing Mill - A mill where various mineral oxides are mixed and refined into the vitreous substance with which potter's ware is incrusted.

Glebe Land - A plot of land granted to a clergyman as part of his benefice during his tenure of office.

Gley - A soil horizon in which the material is bluish gray or blue-gray, more or less sticky, compact, and often structureless. It is developed under the influence of excessive moisture.

Gneiss - A coarse-grained rock with alternating bands of coarse and more fine-grained material.

Gorget - A perforated think ground stone tool.

Gothic Arch - A pointed arch.

Gothic Revival - A movement originating in the eighteenth and culminating in the nineteenth century, flourishing throughout Europe and the United States, which aimed at reviving the spirit and forms of Gothic architecture.

GPS (Global Positioning System) - A device that uses satellite signals to determine precise geographic positions on the earth. GPS is used for navigation as well as data collection.

Graminae - The plant family of grasses.

Granary - A storage building for grain.

Graver - A lithic tool with a protruding edge or point.

Graveshaft - A long, narrow cavity dug into the earth for the purpose of housing a burial.

Gray Literature - Documentary material that is not commercially published and therefore is not available through conventional sources. These documents are typically technical reports, working papers, business documents, and conference proceedings and are often kept in the various offices to which they are submitted. Archeological reports, architectural surveys, and historic contexts fall under this category of document.

Greek Revival (Style) - A period of English architecture extending from approximately 1750 to 1850, marked by interest in Greek antiquities. It was popular in America at the beginning of the nineteenth century and continued throughout the century. 2 Architectural style common from circa 1825 to 1860, characterized by a low-pitched gabled or hipped roof and a wide band of trim at the cornice line (where the roof joins the wall).

Grid - The 2-dimensional intersection network defining the squares in which archaeologists excavate.

Grist Mill - A mill for grinding grain.

Gross Tonnage - The measurement of the total cubic of a vessel in tons of one hundred cubic feet; abbreviated "tonn."

Groundstone Tool - A tool that has been produced by pecking, grinding, and sometimes flaking, they have been systematically shaped and polished to form a variety of tool types (e.g., axes, adzes, and gouges) or ornaments (e.g., gorgets).

GSA (General Services Administration) - The GSA is a federally funded management agency that provides workplaces by constructing, managing, and preserving government buildings and by leasing and managing commercial real estate. In addition the GSA offers private sector professional services, equipment, supplies, telecommunications, and information technology to government organizations and the military.


Haft - Handle or shaft, usually made of bone or wood. Ethnographic studies and residue analysis indicate that hafting was attached to stone tools with vegetal cordage or sinew, often using glues derived from horn or bone.

Hafting Element - Proximal end of a projectile point or other stone tool fashioned to receive a half. The hafting element was often ground to reduce abrasion on cordage.

Hall-Parlor Plan - A house containing two rooms side by side, with the ridge of the roof running parallel to the long wall of the structure.

Hammerstone - Tough, usually round or ovoid stone exhibiting worn or pitted surface areas from use as a percussor in the production of stone tools, used as a hammer and which is sometimes grooved for hafting to a handle. Usually ungrooved, however, it has a variety of forms ranging from a crudely shaped sphere to a finely ground ovoid with a battered end.

Header - A masonry unit, laid so its ends are exposed, and overlapping two or more widths of masonry and tying them together.

Hell Island Ware - A Woodland I (A.D. 600 - A.D. 1000) conoidal shaped ceramic tempered with finely crushed quartz and mica inclusions, whose exterior surface may be fabric impressed or cord impressed.

Hemp - A plant which produces a tough fiber used in making cordage.

Hewn - Of wood, roughly dressed by ax or adze.

Hinterland - The land directly adjacent to and inland from a coast. Also a region remote from urban areas; back country.

Hipped Roof - A roof which pitches inward from all four sides.

Historic - The time period after the appearance of written records. In the New World, this generally refers to the time period after the beginning of European settlement at approximately 1600 A.D.

Historic (or Historical) Archaeology - The study of material culture in an historical perspective from initial European settlement to today.

Historic Property - A building, archeological resource (site), structure, object, or district that a SHPO, THPO, or FPO maintains or seeks to maintain information about, for the purposes of historical designation, preservation, or protection at the federal, state, tribal, or local level. This includes artifacts and remains within such properties, but not separate records or artifact collections.

Historic Property Inventory - A list (or group of lists) of historic or potentially historic properties, including various types of property-based data collected and maintained by SHPOs, THPOs, or FPOs for the purpose of designation, preservation, or protection.

Historic Property Survey - The systematic gathering and recording of predesignated or designated documentation on a potential historic property or properties.

Historical - The time period after the appearance of written records. In the New World, this generally refers to the time period after the beginning of European settlement at approximately 1600 A.D.

Historical Archaeology - The study of material culture in an historical perspective.

Hole-Set Post - Posts set directly in the ground connected by sills, a common practice in earthfast construction.

Holocene - The latest division of the Quarternary period in geological consisting of the time between the end of the Pleistocene (q.v.) around 8000 B.C. (10,000 B.P.) and the present; the current period in geological time.

Home Manufactures - Trades or crafts performed in the home producing goods for sale or trade outside of the domentis sphere.

Hopper - A vertically-hinged window.

Horizon - A layer of soil, usually on a plane parallel to the natural surface, that reflects in its color and texture the process of soil formation.

HUD (Housing and Urban Development) - A federal regulatory agency established to increase home ownership, support community development, and increase access to affordable housing, free from discrimination. This department is headed by the U.S. Secretary for Housing and Urban Development and is supported by many program and support offices throughout the federal and state governments.

Humus - Soil, usually on top of the ground, that contains a large proportion of rotted and rotting vegetable material.

Hundred - A subdivision of some English and American counties.

Hunter-Gatherers - Peoples whose means of resource procurement is solely by hunting wild game and collecting wild seeds, nuts, and other vegetal material.

Hydrology - The scientific study of the properties, distribution, and effects of water on the earth's surface, in the soil and underlying rocks, and in the atmosphere.

Hydrophyte - A plant that grows in and is adapted to an aquatic or very wet environment.

Hydrophytic - A type of plant that grows in and is adapted to an aquatic or very wet environment.

Hydrophytic Association - A group of plants that grow in and are adapted to an aquatic or very wet environment. 2 This is a statement that the archaeologist tries to prove it true (or, sometimes, false). The opposite of this statement is the "mull hypothesis". If the Null Hypothesis can be proved false, then the Hypothesis will be accepted as true until new evidence comes along that calls it into questions.

Hypothesis - A tentative assumption made in order to draw out and test its logical or empirical consequences.


I-House - A form of house that is two stories high, one room deep, with roof ridge parallel to the front wall.

Illuvation - The movement of colloids, soluble salts, and mineral particles (clay) down through a soil profile through the leaching action of water.

IMLS (Institute of Museum and Library Services:) - The Institute of Museum and Library Services is a federal management and regulatory agency that is the primary source of federal support for the nation's libraries and museums. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development of library and museum professionals. "

Incipient Ranked Society - A society with a political organization in which some people have higher status than others, but no real extra, or formal power.

Incluse - An impressed initial or mark on a tobacco pipe bowl.

Inclusions - Mineral, crystalline, or other material that is included within a larger, more uniform rock matrix.

Indentured (Servant) - A contract binding one party into the service of another for a specific term. 2 A person bound to work for another for a specified period of time, especially in return for payment of travel and maintenance expenses.

Indirect Percussion - In the lithic reduction process, a punch is held against the worked material and the punch is struck a sharp blow with a percussor.

Industrial Sash - A window composed of metal frames and wireglass often with hopper windows.

In Situ - Position of an artifact or feature as encountered in the soil. From the Latin, meaning "In the original place."

Interface - A surface regarded as the common boundary of two bodies or spaces.

Interproximal - Between the teeth.

Intersite - Between sites; often used in the context of comparison. 2 Between, among sites.

Intersite Analysis - Analysis between different sites.

Intestate - A person who dies without making a will.

Intrasite - Within a site.

Intrasite Analysis - Analysis within the site.

Intrasite Patterning - Horizontal and vertical site structure; focuses on the delineation of task-specific activity areas and site formation processes.

Inventory - Information retained in an agency's files or records, either gathered manually or in electronic format survey forms related to historic properties.

Ironstone - Sedimentary rock of iron-cemented sand, sometimes referred to as ferruginous quartzite. 2 Hard, refined earthenware with a white body under a clear glaze, introduced in the early nineteenth century and still manufactured today. 3 A hard, sedimentary rock, such as siderite, high in iron content.

Isotatic Rebound - The upward recovery of the earth's crust following the removal of a load, such as a glacier.

Italianate - The eclectic form of country-house design, fashionable in England and in the United States in the 1840's and 1850's, characterized by low-pitched, heavily bracketed roofs, asymmetrical informal plan, square towers, and often round-arched windows.


Jardiniere - A decorative container for plants or flower pots.

Jasper - Ferruginous chert, whose usual brownish red color is imparted by quantities of limonite and goethite. Iron Hill Jasper is chlorite rich, often exhibits hydrous chalcedonic banding, and is typically yellow-brown in color, but ranges from yellow to black. 2 Impure, slightly translucent cryptocrystalline quartz. Jasper outcrops in northwestern Delaware and is found in cobble deposits on the Coastal Plain.

Jasperoid - Cryptocrystalline rock formed by the replacement of some other material in a larger rock body.

Jigger & Jolly - These are mechanical devices for producing ceramic vessels which began to replace hand thrown pots in the 1840's. The Jigger was used to throw plates while the jolly was used to throw cups and bowls.

Joinery - Specific methods used by carpenters and cabinet makers to connect wooden pieces.

Joist - Any horizontal beam intended primarily for the construction or support of a floor or ceiling.

Jurisdiction - FPO - properties owned/managed by the federal agency; THPO - properties owned/managed by the tribe or that the tribe feels responsible for; SHPO - the state boundaries.


Keel - The main longitudinal strength member of a vessel's framework that is set at the bottom of the hull along the centerline. 2 A ridge down the center of a stone tool that is caused by the termination flakes which were removed from the edge; also termed carinate.

Keystone - The central wedge-shaped stone at the crown of an arch.

Kinship - Socially recognized relationships based on real or imagined descent and marriage patterns.


Lacustrine - Reference to a glacial lake deposit.

Lamellae - Thin, discrete layers of soil of varied color or texture within a stratigraphic profile.

Laminae - A thin layer or sediment that is typically 0.05 to 1.0 mm thick.

LANDSAT - Refers to images obtained by earth-orbiting satellites. The LANDSAT satellites have sensors that scan the surface of the earth continuously as the satellite circles the earth. Readings of brightness in several wavelengths (colors) of light are radioed to receiving stations in a form that can be analyzed by computer.

Lap - To overlap one surface with another, as in shingling.

Late Stage Biface Reject - A biface which was either broken during the later stages of manufacture, or which had been reduced improperly, so that further reduction would not produce a usable tool.

Late State Biface Reject (LSBR) - Bifacially modified preform "rejected" in the later stages of manufacture by a flintknapper because of breakage, material flaws, or other attributes that would inhibit its completion into a usable stone tool.

Lateral - Marginal portion of a flake or tool, on either side of the longitudinal axis.

Lateritic - A soil zone leached of silica with concentrations of iron and aluminum hydroxides.

Lath - A riblike support of wood or metal upon which plaster is spread.

Lathe - A machine on which a piece is spun on a horizontal axis and shaped by a fixed cutting or abrading tool.

Lattice - An open framework made of strips of metal, wood, or the like interwoven to form regular, patterned spaces.

Legacy Data - Historic property inventory data not currently accessible by electronic means.

Level - Arbitrary depth of soil within a natural stratum.

Limace - A small chisle-like stone tool for engraving bone. (Also called a "slug shaped uniface").

Lintel - The horizontal structural member which supports the wall over an opening, or spans between two adjacent piers or columns.

Lipped Lintel - A lintel with a rounded overhanging edge.

Lithic - Pertaining to or made of stone.

Lithic Artifact - Pertaining to or consisting of stone.

Loam - A loose soil composed of roughly equal parts of silt, clay, and sand, especially a kind containing organic matter and of great fertility.

Locus - A defined archaeological site or testing location.

Loess - A buff to gray, fine-grained, calcareous silt or clay, thought to be a deposit of wind-blown dust.

Louver - One of a series of overlapping boards or slips of glass to admit air and exclude rain.


Machine Made - Glass blown by a glass-blowing machine, like almost all contemporary bottle and jar glass. The first such machine was introduced in 1889, the first fully automatic version in 1903.

Macro-Band Base Camp - For a hunter-gatherer society, an archaeological site one hectare or larger in area characterized by a wide variety of tool types, abundant ceramics, semi-subterranean house structures, storage pit features, and abundant debitage from tool manufacture and reduction.

Macroband - An organized social group of several families - possibly arranged along kinship or ideological lines; typical size may be 40-60 people.

Macrobotanical Analysis - Study of plant remains for information on past environments and foodways.

Magnetic Anomaly - An anomalous disturbance to the natural configuration of the Earth's magnetic field caused by the presence of an object or objects containing magnetic material, such as iron. Magnetic anomalies are often associated with iron artifacts contained in or associated with underwater cultural deposits such as the wreckage of sunken vessels.

Magnetometer - An instrument employed to measure the magnetic field, that detects the presence of objects containing iron by the disturbance they create in the earth's magnetic field. (See Proton Magnetometer).

Mantuamaker - A dress, cloak, or coat maker; more specifically, a maker of mantuas, a loose-fitting gown commonly worn in the eighteenth century.

Manumission - To release from slavery; to liberate from personal bondage or servitude.

Manumit - To be freed from slavery or from personal bondage or servitude.

Marcey Creek Plain - A Woodland I (1200 B.C. - 900 B.C.) ceramic tempered with crushed steatite characterized by flat-bottomed vessels made by modeling with lug handles sometimes used. The first true ceramics of Delaware.

Marine Proton Magnetometer - A proton magnetometer having a sensor that can be used underwater. (See Proton Magnetometer).

Marl - Soft and unconsolidated calcium carbonate, usually mixed with varying amounts of clay or other impurities.

Marsh - A tract of soft wet land usually characterized by grasses, cattails, and related vegetation.

Matchboard Siding - Exterior siding of wood boards which have a tongue along one edge and a groove along the other; when installed, the tongue and groove fit together to hold securely.

Material Culture - That segment of man's physical environment which is purposely shaped by him according to culturally dictated plans.

Mean Ceramic Date (MCD) - A date for a ceramic sample determined through the median manufacture dates for the ceramic types and the frequency of the types in the sample.

Medial - Central portion of a flake or tool, between the proximal and distal ends.

Mega Fauna - A number of species of presently extinct mammals including mammoths and mastodons.

Mesic - A vegetation pattern characterized by relatively wet-adapted plant species, such as oak and hemlock forests.

Mesic Forest - A forest of relatively, wet-adapted plant species, such as hemlock forests.

Messuage - A building, especially a dwelling, often cited in deeds and other property transaction records.

Metadata - Data that are used to characterize other data. In the case of digital images or spatial data, it is commonly a file that contains the reference or contextual information for those data.

Microband - A component of macroband, perhaps one or two extended families, which periodically operates independently of the macroband group.

Micro-Band Base Camp - A component of macro-band, perhaps one or two extended families, which periodically operates independently of the macro-band group.

Microdebitage - Lithic flakes and shatter smaller than 6 millimeters.

Microenvironment - A characteristic biotic assemblage, often exploited by a distinctive ecological niche.

Micro-Flake - A lithic flake smaller than 1/4 inch. Usually recovered only from flotation samples which are passed through very fine screens.

Midden - A refuse heap.

Migmatite - Rock consisting of thin, alternating layers and lenses of granite and schist.

Milk Pan - Wide, shallow pan with a pouring spout, usually made of coarse earthenware, used to separate cream from milk.

Minguannan Ware - A Woodland II (A.D. 1000 - A.D. 1600) ceramic tempered with sand, grit, and crushed quartz whose surface treatment includes smoothed surfaces, corded surfaces, and smoothed-over-corded surfaces. Decorations include incising, cord-wrapped-stick, and direct cord impressions.

Minimum Number of Vessels (MNV) - The smallest number of ceramic or glass vessels that could have produced the sherds from an archaeological assemblage.

Minimum Number of Units (MNU) - The smallest number of bones (such as ribs or skulls) that could have produced the bone fragments found on an archaeological site, or in one context.

Minimum Vessel Count - This is the minimum number of vessels that are represented by the sherds from an archaeological assemblage.

Mitigate - To make or become less severe or intense by excavating.

Mitigation - In archaeology, refers to minimizing the destruction or disturbance of an archaeological site by a construction project, erosion, farming practices or the like, through excavation of the site and recovery of the information about past life that it contains.

Mockley Ware - A Woodland I (A.D. 110 - A.D. 1000) conoidal shaped ceramic tempered with oyster shell or ribbed mussel whose exterior surface may be smoothed, cord marked, or net impressed.

Models - Constructs of adaptations which anthropologists use to explain and/or theorize about the mechanics of culture; example is a settlement pattern model.

Modillion Cornice - A cornice supported by a series of small ornamental brackets under the projecting top moldings.

Moh's Scale of Hardness - Ten minerals designated as standards of hardness, with 1 being the softest and 10 the hardest.

Moiety - One of two equal parts; half.

Mold Blown - A bottle that has been blown inside of a mold, so that blowing air into the bubble in the glass forces the glass to press out against the mold, acquiring the shape of the mold. An ancient technique, it became very common in the 1820 to 1920 period, when it was used to provide standardized bottles for mass-produced consumer goods. These bottles often bore the name or symbol of the product they held.

Molding - A deviation from a plain surface, involving rectangular or curved profiles, or both, with the purpose of effecting a transition or of obtaining a decorative play of light and shade.

Monitor - A continuous section of roof raised to admit light on a vertical plane.

Mottling - Spots or blotches of different color or shades of color interspersed with the dominant color.

Mullion - An upright post or similar member dividing a window into two or more units or lights, each of which may be further subdivided into panes.

Munsell Notation System - A standard means of describing all color gradations along scales of value, hue, and color. Archaeologists use this system in describing and standardizing soil color descriptions.


NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) - A federal administrative agency responsible for the safeguarding and preserving of Government records and developing educational programs and services built around this documentary heritage. NARA works in coordination with the Information Security Oversight Office, the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, and the Office of the Inspector General.

NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) - A federal agency established for the research, development, implementation, and administration of space exploration, multidisciplinary scientific research, and aeronautics research, NASA maintains numerous facilities throughout the United States to achieve these goals including NASA Headquarters in Washington, 10 field centers, and a variety of installations including laboratories, air fields, wind tunnels, and control rooms.

National Harbor of Refuge - The artificial harbor created during the 19th century by the construction of sea walls inside the mouth of Delaware Bay at Lewes, Delaware. It provided shelter from storms and ice to the abundant maritime traffic utilizing Delaware Bay and has been placed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

NCSHPO (National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers) - "The National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO) is the professional association of the State government officials who carry out the national historic preservation program as delegates of the Secretary of the Interior pursuant to the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended (NHPA) (16 USC 470)."

Neritic - The waters and deposits of a shoreline.

Newel - The principal post at the end of a flight of stairs; it carries the handrails and the strings which support the steps.

NIGC (National Indian Gaming Commission) - "As an independent federal regulatory enforcement agency established pursuant to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 (Act). The Commission's primary responsibility is to regulate gaming activities on Indian lands for the purpose of shielding Indian tribes from organized crime and other corrupting influences; to ensure that Indian tribes are the primary beneficiaries of gaming revenue; and to assure that gaming is conducted fairly and honestly by both operators and players."

Non-Parametric - This adjective applies to a family of statistical measurements that are applied to data for which no assumptions can be made about the nature of the distribution of the data points; that is, the data are not distributed in a "normal" fashion. Such measurements are, therefore, called "distribution-free".

Non-Spatial Data - Data that are essentially documentary in nature, including text, photographs, or other graphics, such as scanned text and maps.

Norite - A variety of gabbro.

Notched Point - Areas cut into a point which were used to bind the point to a shaft.

NPS (National Park Service) - The National Park Service is a management bureau within the U.S. Department of the Interior organized for the maintenance of the U.S. National park system and the preservation of natural and cultural resources for the purposes of recreation and education. NPS staff cooperate with internal (e.g., the parks) and external (e.g., the SHPOs) partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world.

NRCS (USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service) - "The Natural Resources Conservation Service is a federal conservation agency operated under the Department of Agriculture (USDA) that provides leadership in a partnership effort to help America's private land owners and managers conserve their soil, water, and other natural resources."

NRHP (National Register of Historic Places) - "The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worth of preservation regulated by the National Park Service (NPS). Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archaeological resources."


Occlusal - The biting surface of the tooth that contacts the teeth from the opposing jaw.

Odorimetric - A distance scaling based on the principle that faunal remains, because of their odor during decay are deposited at a distance from the living area.

Orphans Court Records - The County Court responsible for the welfare of orphans when a father died without a will. Orphans court watched over the estate until the children (if any) reached majority. A guardian was appointed by the Court, who was to make periodic returns of the estate to the Court. When the youngest heir came of age, then the property could be divided among the heirs. These court records are filled with information regarding income, property, education, repairs of houses and outbuildings, contracts, and other useful material about eighteenth and nineteenth century life.

Osteophytes - Growths on the surfaces of bones associated with degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis) or trauma.

Osteoporosis - Bone loss, usually associated with aging.

Outbuilding - A building other than the principal building on a property; for example, on an eighteenth or nineteenth century Delaware farm: smokehouses, dairies, stables, and corn-cribs were typical outbuildings.


Palustrine - Pertaining to material deposited in a swamp environment.

Palynology - The scientific study of pollen and other spores and their dispersal, and applications thereof. 2 Study of pollen, applied to reconstructing past environments.

Pane - A sheet of glass for a comparatively small opening in a window or door.

Panned - Covered with a replacement material, often referring to aluminum.

Paradigm - An intellectual tradition that conditions the way in which its followers generate, perceive, and interpret data; a pattern or model.

Parenchyma - Tissue composed of soft, unspecialized, thin-walled cells.

Parturition Scars - Modifications of the surface of the bony pelvis (on the dorsal surface of the pubic symphysis or the preauricular region of the ilium) which may be the result of pregnancy and/or childbirth.

Patent - Document granting ownership of land without a clear previous legal owner, as with new colonists in North America.

Patent/Proprietary Medicine - Non-prescription drug with a registered trademark.

Pathology - The study of disease.

Patroons - Proprietor of a manorial estate in Dutch New York; the captain or officer commanding a ship.

Peak - A tapering, projecting point; pointed extremity as in the peak of a roof.

Pearlware - Refined earthenware containing a small amount of cobalt in the glaze, giving the ware a slightly blue-tinted color. Pearlware was made from the 1770s to the 1830s. Used for plates, teacups, and other dishes, introduced by Josiah Wedgwood.

Pedestrian Survey - The walking and collecting of an archaeological site without the excavation of subsurface units.

Pediment - The low triangular gable formed by the roof slopes on top and the horizontal enclosing member, generally a cornice, beneath. 2 A wide, low-pitched triangular gable surmounting a building facade, doorway, or window opening.

Pedology - A branch of geology that focuses on the study of soils and soils development.

Pent Roof - A narrow roof of one slope.

Pedogenic - Referring to the development of soils in place.

Pedology - A branch of geology that focuses on the study of soils and soils development.

Peg Construction - Built using cylindrical pieces of wood to fasten wood members.

Penciled - In brickwork, the painting (especially in white) of the mortar joints.

Pendant - An ornamental member suspended from above.

Pennsylvania Bank Barn - A two-level barn style attributed to colonial Southeastern Pennsylvania. The main features of this structure are a lower level for stock and an upper level for grain storage. The "bank" is constructed by building the bar in the side of a hill, or by constructing a ram or bridge to the side of the building opposite the forebay. Also known as a "forebay", "overshot", or "foreshoot" barn.

Pent Roof - A roof of a single sloping plane projecting from a wall, usually of small size.

Perch - A measure of distance and acreage used by early surveyors, equal to 16.5 feet. Also called a pole, rod, or rood. A perch is equal to one-quarter of a chain, which is 66 feet long, and eighty chains equals 1 mile, or 6,280 feet. Finally, 1 acre is composed of 10 square chains, or 43,560 feet.

Pewter - A shiny gray metal, an alloy of tin, antimony, and lead, used to make dishes.

Phase I - The first stage of archaeological fieldwork, which determines the absence or presence of a site.

Phase II - The second stage of archaeological fieldwork, in which sites are further investigated to determine their boundaries and integrity for National Register eligibility.

Phase III - The final stage of archaeological fieldwork, also called Data Recovery. Usually involves intensive archaeological and historical investigations to recover detailed information about the site.

Physiographic Evolution - The evolutionary changes in landforms over time, such as caused by the effects of inundation due to sea level rise, erosion, or tectonic activity.

Physiographic Province - See "Physiographic Zone".

Physiographic Zone - Regions or areas that are characterized by a particular geography, geology, and topography.

Phytolith - A mineral structure, usually composed of opal or calcite, that is secreted by living plants; it has identifiable attributes that are specific to certain plants. Phytoliths can be recovered from Archaeology sites and used to identify plants even after they have decayed.

Piedmont Region - An area of gently rolling to hilly land lying between the Appalachian Mountains and the Atlantic Coastal Plain. The division between the Piedmont Region and the Coastal Plain is marked by the Fall Line.

Pier - A freestanding mass, generally rectilinear in shape, supporting one side of an arch or one end of a beam, lintel, or girder. A thickening of a wall in the form of a vertical strip to strengthen it or to carry a heavy load for which the wall would not be strong enough.

Pilaster - The projecting part of a square column which is attached to a wall; it is finished with the same cap and base as a freestanding column.

Pile - Refers to the floor plan of a building; the number of rooms deep.

Pintle - The pin upon which a hinge rotates.

Plank - A long, wide, sawn piece of timber, usually used for flooring.

Plaster - A mixture of lime, sand, and water, sometimes with hair or other fiber added, applied as a thick paste upon a firm base of masonry or lath to form, when hard, a smooth and nearly impervious surface for wall or ceiling.

Plate - In wood-frame construction, the horizontal member capping the range of exterior wall studs, supporting the rafters.

Plat - Property map.

Platform - See "Striking Platform".

Pleistocene - A division of the geologic Quarternary Period, which began around 2.3 to 3 million years ago and is associated with rapid hominid evolution from Australopithecinae to Homo sapiens. It lasted until 8000 B.C. (10,000B.P.) and is characterized by the Great Ice Ages.

Plinth - The projecting base of a wall or column pedestal, generally molded at the top.

Plow Zone - In a plowed field, the upper layer of organic soil (surface layer of A-horizon) which is continually reworked by the plow. In the Middle Atlantic region this is about 8-12 inches.

Point - Thin, symmetrical tool form, usually bifacially flakes, having one end pointed and the other modified for hafting. Regularities in morphological design, or style, are recognized, and comparisons with radiocarbon dated materials provide an important tool for chronological analysis. This term includes tools that may have been used as spear points, arrow points, or knives.

Pollen - The fine, powder-like material produced by the anthers of flowering plants (functioning as the male element in fertilization) by which these plants may be identified.

Porcelain - High-fired, vitreous ceramic that is translucent in strong light. Chinese porcelain is found on colonial sites from the mid-sixteenth century onward, however European porcelain was not produced until the mid-eighteenth century.

Porotic Hyperostosis - Porosity in the outer surface and thickening of the bony table of the cranium which may be related to anemia or other nutritional deficiency.

Porringer - A small, handled bowl for eating soups or stews.

Postcranial - That portion of the human skeleton below the skull.

Post and Tie-Beam Pairs - Prefabricated units consisting of two opposite upright posts tied together by a connecting horizontal beam.

Post Hole - A hole dug in the ground into which a post is placed.

Postholer Test - Same as post hole excavation unit.

Post Mold - The organic stain in the ground which is left by a decayed wooden post. A post mold stain may occur inside of a post hole stain on an archaeological site.

Potlid - Thin, round fragment of stone which has spalled of the main body due to extreme change in temperature.

Prehistoric - Time period before written records; in the Mid-Atlantic region, generally before ca. 1600 AD. In the New World this generally refers to indigenous, pre-Contact societies.

Primary Lithic Resource - Outcrops of workable stone that are found within the matrix of their original formation.

Privy - An outhouse.

Probate - The official proving of a will as authentic or valid.

Processing Waste - Bone thrown away after it has been used to make food, such as cow skulls used for making headcheese.

Procurement Site - A place that is visited because there is a particular item to acquire; i.e., lithic outcrops.

Profile - A side view of a feature or test unit.

Projectile Point - A functional class into which pointed, chipped stone tools are placed, though many of these tools are multifunctional (i.e. knives, spear points, arrow points). Also, projectile point types based on forms are used as temporal indices for constructing culture history.

Projecting - To extend forward or out; protrude.

Prosophographical - A study of a specific group of persons sharing similar occupations or position in a community.

Proton Magnetometer - A sensitive type of magnetometer employing a sensor containing a wire coil surrounded by a liquid containing an abundance of protons. This type of magnetometer has proven to be the most useful for field surveys conducted for archaeological purposes, especially underwater. (See Marine Proton Magnetometer.)

Provenience - The exact vertical and horizontal location where an artifact or feature was found on an archaeological site.

Proximal - Portion of a flake retaining the striking platform and bulb of force; or, the basal portion of a biface. The "shaft end" of a projectile point. Near the center part of the "body" or point of origin or attachment; the platform end.

Pseudo-Cord - Method of impressing designs in ceramics by use of a cord-wrapped stick.

Pubic Symphysis - The joint at the front of the pelvis where the two innominate bones articulate at the midline.

Pyramidal - Having the shape of a pyramid.

Pyroxenite - A medium or coarse-grained rock consisting of pryoxene minerals.


Quarry - Locale at which stone, in suitable form for tool manufacture, was extracted.

Quarry Reduction Station - A place where material obtained from a quarry, such as large flakes, cores and very early stage bifaces were taken for further reduction into smaller primary-thinned bifaces.

Quarry Site - An archaeological site located at either a primary or secondary outcrop of lithic material used in the manufacture of stone tools.

Quartz - Extremely hard, transparent or translucent mineral of silicon dioxide, having a vitreous luster and occurring in both crystal and massive form. 2 Crystalline form of silica used as raw material for manufacturing stone tools.

Quartzite - Highly silicified / metamorphosed sandstone (metaquartzite), or sedimentary sandstone cemented by silica (orthoquartzite). Used as a raw material for making stone tools.

Quoin - The bricks or stones laid in alternating directions, which bond and form the exterior corner angle of a wall. A structural element often used purely for ornament.

Quarter-round - A molding having a profile of a quadrant of a circle.


Radiocarbon Dating - Method used to date organic material based on the measured decay of radioactive carbon in an organism (also known as C14 dating).

Rail - A horizontal member in the frame of a door, window, panel, etc.

Ranked Society - A society in which there is unequal access to the higher status categories; many people who are qualified for high status positions are unable to achieve them.

RD (USDA) Rural Development) - "The Rural Development agency is a federal management subsidiary of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) responsible for the development of rural areas in the US. The RD uses its financial programs to support such essential public facilities and services as water and sewer systems, housing, health clinics, emergency service facilities and electric and telephone service. The promote economic development by supporting loans to businesses through banks and community-managed landing pools, as well as offer technical assistance and information to help agricultural and other cooperatives get started and improve the effectiveness of their member services. They also provide technical assistance to help communities undertake community empowerment programs.">

Real Property - Property that includes land, improvements to land, or anything attached to the land. This includes buildings, fences, ditches, trees, and any land improvements.

Rebar - Short for reinforcing bar, an iron or other metal bar used to strengthen materials, most commonly poured concrete.

Reclamation (Bureau of Reclamation) - A federal management bureau administered by the Department of the Interior responsible for public waterway management including the construction and maintenance of water diversion and storage facilities and the sale of water usage rights. In addition, Reclamation is responsible for the production of hydroelectric power in several western states.

Redware - Red bodied earthenware.

Reeding - Decoration consisting of a parallel convex moldings touching one another.

Refined Earthenware - Ceramic with a soft, non-vitreous body fired between 1400-1900oF. Refined earthenwares are used commonly as tableware.

Reject - A stone tool thrown away due to a material flaw or manufacturing error; a frequent result is the breaking of the artifact.

Regolith - Weathered, broken up bedrock. Often in a transition zone between C soil horizons and solid bedrock.

Relational Database Management System: (RDBMS) - A database consisting of a set of linked (related) two-dimensional data tables. Common examples of relational database platforms include Oracle, PostgreSQL, MySQL, and Microsoft Access, although there are many more.

Remote Sensing - The use of data collection equipment to compile information concerning a location or area by non-intrusive means. Examples are satellite imagery, magnetic field measurements, and aerial photography.

Research Design - A strategy developed at the beginning of a project to guide the researchers.

Residue Analysis - Chemical analysis of a variety of use-related, protein-based residues present on lithic and ceramic artifacts; includes animal remains such as blood and fish oil or plant products such as seeds, grains, and sap.

Resorption - The process of bone destruction.

Retouched Flake - Flake with a trimmed or sharpened edge.

Return - The right-angled change of direction of a molding or group of moldings. 2 The extension of a molding or cornice at an angle to the main part.

Reveal - That part of a door or window jamb that lies between the door or glass and the outer wall surface. A splayed reveal is cut diagonally.

Reverse Assembly - When, in construction of aisled buildings, the wall plate is carried on the end of the tie-beam which in turn is carried on the post.

Rhyolite - Fine-grained, highly siliceous, usually porphyritic volcanic rock, generally light gray in color and often banded. An extrusive, igneous rock with abundant quartz.

Ridge - The horizontal length of the peak of a roof above the shingling or other roofing material.

Ridge Line - The horizontal line where the upper edges of two sloping roof surfaces meet.

Ridgepole - The top horizontal member of a sloping roof, against which the upper ends of the rafters are fixed.

Risers - The vertical face of a step.

Robber's Trench - A trench dug and then backfilled by a person "robbing" the brick or stone of a foundation wall of a building being torn down or an abandoned well.

Robinson Coefficient of Agreement - A test used to measure statistically significant similarities between two sets of values.

Rockingham/Bennington - Buff-bodied refined earthenware with a mottled yellow and brown glaze. The two varieties are very similar, and the names refer to the place of manufacture, Rockingham for English vessels and Bennington for American (it was first made in this country in Bennington, Vermont). Manufactured from the late eighteenth century in England, and from the 1840's in the United States, into the twentieth century.

Rolling Mill - A machine used for rolling metal. Also the factory where sheet metal is manufactured.

Ropewalk - A long, covered walk, building or room where ropes are manufactured.

Rosette - A painted, carved, or sculptured ornament having a circular arrangement of parts resembling the petals of a rose.

Round Arch - An arch of semi-circular form.

Rowlock Arch - An arch of semi-circular form.

Rubble Masonry - Rough unhewn building stones generally not laid in regular courses.

Rusticated - Masonry in which the principal face of each stone is rough.


Salinity Regime - Waters having certain levels of salinity or saltiness.

Sandstone - Common sedimentary rock composed of concreted sand grains.

Sash - A frame for glass to close a window opening composed of two vertical sliding members.

Sawtooth Monitor - A monitor formed by a clerestory and sloped roof. A series of sawtooth monitors appear similar to the serrated teeth of a saw.

Scalar Flakes - An irregular overlapping use-wear pattern on stone tools consisting of fish scale-like flake scars.

Scanned - Any text, map, etc, recorded in an electronic format.

Schist - Medium or coarse-grained foliated metamorphic rock, usually containing mica.

Schooner - A vessel having two or more masts with the sails mounted in fore and aft rigging.

Scientific Agriculture - A nineteenth century movement to promote the use of botany, agronomy, and soil chemistry to improve agriculture.

Scoliosis - Lateral curvature of the spine.

Scraper - Bifacially or unifacially worked tool with a steep-angled working edge used for scraping various materials, including fleshy material from hides. Scrapers are described as end scrapers or side scrapers, depending on whether the working edge is found on the distal or lateral margin of the tool.

Second Empire Style - Architectural style common from circa 1855 to 1885, characterized by mansard (dual-pitched hipped) roof with dormer windows on steep lower slope.

Secondary Lithic Resource - Cobbles and boulders of variable size that have been removed from the matrix of their original formation, transported by alluvial or glacial agents, and redeposited at a new location which may be quite distant from their original source.

Sediment - Particles of rock and mineral (soil) material laid down through the action of wind, water, and / or glaciers.

Segmental Arch - An arch formed on a segment of a circle or an ellipse.

Selden Island Ware - A Woodland I (1000 B.C. - 700 B.C.) ceramic of modeled or coiled construction with round or flat bases. The flat bases are associated with modeled vessels and the round bases are associated with coiled vessels. Cord impressed exteriors are common and the temper is steatite.

Semi-Circular Arch - An arch of semi-circular form. Also known as a round arch.

Seriation - A temporal ordering of artifacts based on the assumption that cultural styles (fads) change such that the popularity of a particular style or decoration can be associated with a certain time period.

Serrated - Having a saw-like edge with regular notched indentations.

Settlement Patterns - The disposition of prehistoric peoples across the landscape as reflected in the artifacts and archaeological sites they left behind (ex. base camps, hunting sites). The archaeological study of settlement patterns examines such data as dwelling size, village arrangement, presence of fortifications and house arrangements within the palisades, and the change or retention of a pattern through time.

Shallopmen - The sailors of shallops.

Shallops - Small, shallow draft vessels capable of maneuver on inland tidal creeks by oar or sail; usually with a 2-4 man crew. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, these vessels were important in the shipping of agricultural produce and other goods in the Delaware region.

Shapefile - A file format developed by ESRI, Inc. that is used to store the geometry, geographic location, and attribute information for geographic data. Shapefiles contain data for polygon, line, or point features.

Shatter - A piece of waste stone (debitage) not possessing flake attributes such as a bulb of percussion or a striking platform.

Shed Roof - The roof of an addition to a building having only one sloping plane.

Shelf - A horizontal board or slab of other material to serve as a resting place for small objects, as a bookshelf, a mantel shelf, a linen shelf.

Sherd - A fragment of a ceramic (broken pottery) or soapstone vessel.

Shim - A thin, often tapered piece of material, as metal, wood or stone, used as a leveler or filler between materials such as stone or metal.

Shovel Test Pit - Small test excavation used in archaeological surveys to evaluate artifact density and determine the vertical and horizontal dimensions of sites.

SHPO (State Historic Preservation Officer, of Office) - "State Historic Preservation Officers (SHPOs) administer the national historic preservation program at the State level, review National Register of Historic Places nominations, maintain data on historic properties that have been identified but not yet nominated, and consult with Federal agencies during Section 106 review. SHPOs are designated by the governor of their respective State or territory. Federal agencies seek the views of the appropriate SHPO when identifying historic properties and assessing effects of an undertaking on historic properties. Agencies also consult with SHPOs when developing Memoranda of Agreement."

Side-Gable - In which the ridge of a gable roof lies parallel to the front of a building.

Sidelight - One of a pair of narrow windows flanking a door.

Siliceous - Composed, or formed primarily of silica.

Sill - The horizontal member immediately supported by a foundation.

Siltation - Process of filling of a channel with silt or mud.

Single-Pile - One room deep.

Site - Any area or location occupied or utilized by humans.

Skeg - A timber or beam at the after end of a vessel below the keel that extends rearward beneath the propeller/rudder machinery and serves to protect them if the vessel runs aground.

Slag - The byproduct of the incomplete combustion of coal, particularly soft coal. Commonly known as "clinkers".

Slate - Low-grade metamorphosed shale or mudstone that cleaves into thin sheets due to the parallel alignment of minerals.

Slip - Mixture of fine clay and water used in decoration and luting.

Slitting Mill - A mill that cuts iron into rods of varying lengths and widths; often in conjunction with rolling mills and nail factories, or in iron wheel manufacturing.

Sloop - A single masted sailing vessel with the sails mounted in fore and aft rigging. Larger vessel than a shallop capable of carrying a larger cargo but requiring greater draft and thus limited to coastal and oceanic transport and shipping.

Smelt - To melt or fuse ores, separating the metallic constituents.

Snuff - A preparation of finely pulverized tobacco usually inhaled through the nostril or "dipped" (placed between the cheek and gum).

Socioeconomic - Applies to the inter-relationship between economic wealth (or poverty) and social position or status.

Soffit - The exposed undersurface of any overhead component of a building.

Soil Horizon - Soils are divided in 3 horizons, (A, B, and C) which reflect different kinds of chemical and physical processes that have resulted from changing climatic conditions.

Soil Profile - Vertical cut in the soil, revealing the sequence of horizontal layers, or soil stratigraphy.

Solarized - Feature of certain late nineteenth and early twentieth century glass in which manganese was added to enhance clarity; exposure to ultraviolet rays in sunlight tints the glass a distinctive amethyst color.

Sonar - See Bathymetric Sonar.

Spandrel - The triangular space between the left or right exterior curve or an arch and the rectangular frame work surrounding it.

Spatial Data - Usually stored as coordinates and topology; data that can be mapped; often accessed, manipulated, or analyzed through GIS.

Spheno-Occipital Synchondrosis - The articulation between the sphenoid and occipital bones at the base of the skull.

Spindle - A round stick with tapered ends used to form and twist yarn. Any various rods or pins holding a bobbin in a textile machine.

Spokeshave - A stone tool with a semicircular concavity used for smoothing spears or arrow shafts.

Spondylosis Deformans - A degenerative spine disease in which there are osteophytes bridging between the ventebral discs. It is found most often in elderly individuals and more commonly in males than in females.

SQL (Structured Query Language) - A standardized computer language for interacting with relational databases.

Staging/Processing Site - A temporary camp where preparations are made for another operation such s a hunting foray.

Standing Seam - A seam in a metal roof made by turning up the edges of two adjacent sheets of metal and folding them over.

Steatite - Soft, chemically weathered volcanic rock, usually a greenish gray color, composed primarily of talc and serpentine. Steatite is also known as soapstone due to its soapy feel, and was used to carve into bowls and other implements.

Stem - Projection at the proximal end of certain lithic points, shaped to attach the tool to a haft.

Stemmed Point - A point that has an obvious area which was used to bind or haft a point to a shaft. 2 - A projectile point that has an obvious hafting element for attachment to a shaft.

Sterile Soil - Soil that contains no trace of human activity.

Sterncastle - The elevated superstructure in the stern (rear) of a sailing vessel. Sterncastles are normally associated with vessel design of 17th century vintage or earlier.

Stilyard - The Roman balance; an instrument for weighing bodies, consisting of a rod or bar, marked with notches, designating the number of pounds and ounces, and a weight which is moveable along this bar, and made to balance.

Stoneware - Vitreous, opaque ceramic fired at 2100-2400oF.

Strata - The various layers of human or geological origin which comprise archaeological sites.

Stratigraphy - The examination of the soil layering on an archaeological site; the characteristics of each individual stratum and its relationship to others in the sequence is critical to understanding the temporal and spatial characteristics of the site.

Stratum - A single definable layer of soil that has its own set of physical characteristics that can be distinguished from adjacent soil layers, both above and below.

Stretcher - A masonry unit laid horizontally with its length in the direction of the face of the building.

Striations - Microscopic lines that show patterns; usually a thin line or band, especially one of several that are parallel or close together.

Striking Platform - Stone surface area which receives the force that detaches a flake from a core. The remnant platform is found on the proximal end of the flake, and can be described as bifacial, faceted, simple, or cortical.

Stringcourse - A narrow horizontal band of masonry which projects slightly from the wall. It is used primarily as a space divider.

Stucco - Plaster for exterior walls.

Stud - An upright post in the framework of a wall for supporting sheets of lath, wall board, or similar material.

Subsistence - A source or means of obtaining those materials essential to the maintenance of life such as food and shelter; in archaeology, subsistence deals primarily with dietary composition and food procurement strategies.

Subsoil - Sterile, naturally occurring soils not changed by human occupation.

Subsurface - Below the surface, not visible from the surface.

Summer Beam - In early New England house construction, a large horizontal beam which runs from the chimney girt at right angles to the main girder in the outer frame, at a point opposite to the chimney.

Sunburst - A pattern or design consisting of a central disk with radiating spires projecting in the member of sunbeams.

Sundry - Various, miscellaneous small articles or items.

Supine (position) - Lying on one's back.

Surface Collection - Act of walking along a surface such as an open field, and collecting artifacts seen on the surface of the ground.

Surface Treatment The way the outside of a ceramic vessel was handled. Some vessels were smoothed and left plain, while some were decorated with carvings. In Delaware it was common to shape ceramics with a paddle wrapped in cord (string), producing a distinctive ridged appearance; this is called cordmarking.

Surround - Materials, usually wooden moldings, that frame wall openings.

Susquehannock Indians - Iroquoian people living along the lower reaches of the Susquehanna River during the Woodland II and Contact periods.

Suture - An interlocking joint between two cranial bones.

Swingletree - The pivoted horizontal crossbar to which the harness traces of a draft animal are attached and which is in turn attached to a vehicle or an implement.

Synchronic - The study of a discrete area in a regional manner at one point in time.


Tablet - An enframed or otherwise limited space, usually for an inscription.

Tablewares - Ceramics used at the dining table rather than in the kitchen, such as plates and small bowls.

Tabular Database - A database consisting of a single two-dimensional array of columns and rows (i.e., a table). Spreadsheets such as Microsoft Excel © files are the most common example of this type.

Tau Statistic - This is a computed number which indicates the relationship between two rank orderings of data. It can vary between +1 and -1. +1 indicates that the two orderings are the same. -1 indicates that the orderings are exactly opposite; for example, in orderings with five ranks, the first ordering is 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and the second is 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. A value of 0 indicates there is no relationship between the orderings.

Tax Assessment Error List - It is a supplementary tax assessment list made after the initial tax assessment to correct errors.

Taxables - A historic term for a person taxed for real or personal property. Most taxables were white males over the age of 21 who were eligible to vote. Widows, minors, and the estates of deceased persons, however, were also sometimes taxed.

Teamster - A person who drives a team of horses and wagon.

Teawares - Ceramics used in preparing and serving tea, such as teacups, saucers, teapots, cream pots.

Temper - Material added to clay in the manufacture of pottery to prevent cracking and shrinking during firing and use. In the Mid-Atlantic region, common tempering materials included crushed steatite, quartz, shell, sand and fragments of fired clay also known as "grog".

Terminus Post Quem (TPQ) - The use of this term in archaeology was originated by Ivor Noel Hume at Colonial Williamsburg. It is Latin for "ending point, after which". It refers to the date of manufacture for the most recently manufactured artifact from a particular location, or 'context'. The archaeologist knows that all the materials from that location must have been deposited after that date.

Tertiary Geologic Period - The first period of the Cenozoic era, extending from the Cretaceous period of the Mesozoic era to the Quaternary period of the Cenozoic era, characterized by the appearance of modern flora and of apes and other large mammals.

Test Unit - Area of standard size (e.g. 1m x 1m square) in which soils are excavated systematically by natural strata and/or arbitrary levels. A group of contiguous test units is referred to as an excavation block.

Thermally Altered - Changed in some way by exposure to high temperatures. The flaking characteristics of some types of stone are improved by heat treating. Thermal alteration often results in reddening or other color changes in stone and characteristic breakage.

THPO (Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, or Office) - Historic Preservation Officers designated by Indian tribes delimited in the National park Service list of tribal offices in accordance with Section 101(d)(2) of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 for the purposes of Section 106 compliance. THPOs are empowered with the same responsibilities as SHPO and are consulted with by federal agencies in lieu of SHPO when a Section 106 compliance undertaking that either occurs on or may affect cultural resources located on tribal lands.

Tie-Beam - The horizontal beam which connects two opposite upright posts.

Tie-Beam Pair - Two opposite upright posts (connected by a tie-beam).

Tithable - Subject to a tithe or tax.

Tool Kit - A collection of artifacts from a sealed context within a site interpreted as being designed for a specific function.

Tongue-and-Grove - Applied to boards having a tongue formed on one edge and a groove on the other for tight jointing; also called matched boarding, matched flooring, and the like.

Topography - The surface physical features and configuration of land.

Total Number of Fragments (TNF) - Number of bone fragments found on an archaeological site, or in one context.

Townsend Ware - A Woodland II (A.D. 1000 - A.D. 1650) ceramic tempered with crushed shell with fabric-impressed exterior surfaces. Decorations include incising, cord-wrapped stick and direct cord designs.

Traditional Cultural Property/Place (TCP) - Places or resources that are deemed to be important and integral to maintaining a Native American tribal group's traditional culture or religion. TCPs may not be necessarily associated with easily definable sites or objects, such as is the case with mountain peaks or landscapes that may be considered sacred by Native American tribal groups.

Transect - A single strip of land crossing an area possibly containing an archaeological site. Archaeologists may search a transect rather than survey the whole area.

Transect Sampling - A means of archaeological research design in which the sampling element is a square or rectangular grid.

Transfer Print - Design from an inked copper engraving which is transferred to a ceramic surface. This technique for mass production was first used in the 1750s and continues today.

Transom - An opening over a door or window, usually for ventilation, and containing a glazed or solid sash, usually hinged or pivoted.

Transverse Fracture - A fracture or break running diagonally across a point or biface.

Treads - The horizontal part of a step.

Treasury (Department of the Treasury) - "The Treasury Department is the executive agency responsible for the operation and maintenance of systems that are critical to the nation's financial infrastructure. The Department works with other federal agencies, foreign governments, and international financial institutions to encourage global economic growth, raise standards of living, and to the extent possible, predict and prevent economic and financial crises. The Department of the Treasury is organized into two major components the Departmental offices and the operating bureaus."

Trimble Unit - A brand of GPS. Most popular are the various Trimble handheld GPS units that combine the data collector and the GPS receiver into one device.

Tripartite - Composed of or divided into three parts. 2 Three adjacent windows contained within one bay of a building.

Truncation - Partially cut off; for example, plowing "truncates" features and strata in archaeological sites.

Tuscan Order - A simplified version of the Doric order, having a plain frieze.

Tyloses - botanical; punctuated vessels filled with cellular tissue.

Type - An archaeological research tool by which individual artifacts are placed into categories using recognizably similar attributes. The typing of artifacts most often involves ceramics and projectile points and their temporal nature in culture history or for functional studies.


Unconformity - A surface of erosion or non-deposition that separates strata.

Uniface - Flaked stone tool which has been worked on only one surface. A uniface may have been used as a tool, such as a scraper, or represent a tool in the process of manufacture and the edges of the tool steep-angled.

Unifacial Tool - An artifact with flakes removed from one surface along a single edge.

Unimodal - Having one most frequent value, or peak, in a set of data. Normal distributed data are unimodal.

Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) - Standardized coordinate system based on the metric system and a division of the earth into 60, 6-degree-wide zones. Each zone is projected onto a Transverse Mercator projection, and the coordinate origins are located systematically. Both civilian and military versions exist.

Uplands - Terrain that is elevated above sea level and is well drained.

U.S. Census - A count of the nation's population taken every ten years as a basis for determining states' representation in the U.S. House of Representatives. Some censuses include information on a person's place of residence, sex, age, family status, ethnic background, occupation, literacy, etc.

USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) - The USDA is a federal management and regulatory agency headed by the Secretary of Agriculture, responsible for the regulation and management of the food and agricultural industries, natural resources, agricultural scientific research, the improvement of rural areas in the United States, and the conservation of existing natural environments and resources. The agency works in coordination with many other federal offices, including the Inspector General, the General Counsel, the Office of the Secretary for Civil Rights, and the Office of the Secretary for Administration, among others. Several additional agencies fall under the auspices of the USDA including Rural Development, Farm Service Agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Agricultural Research Stations, and the USDA Forest Service.

USDAFS (USDA Forest Service) - "The Forest Service was established as a federal management agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) responsible for managing public lands and facilities within national forest and grasslands."

Utilized Flake - Flake with a dulled or damaged edge, consistent with having been used as a tool.


Variance - The variance of a set of n measurements y1, y2,...yn is the average of the square of the deviation of the measurements about their mean.

V-bottom Hull - A hull design in which the vessel's bottom when viewed in cross section rises from the centerline at the keel in a flattened "V" which ends where it meets at a sharp angle (chine) the more vertical sides of the hull.

Vegetal Waste - Waste from vegetables, especially plants used for foods - for example, corn husks and cobs.

Ventral - Inner surface of a flake. The bulb of force is visible on the ventral surface of a flake.

Veranda - A long gallery-like porch, sometimes two-storied.

Vergeboard - See "bargeboard".

Vernacular - Pertaining to the style of architecture and decoration peculiar to a specific culture.

Vessel - A container, such as bowl, bottle, plate, or jar. Archaeologists conventionally refer to all the glass and ceramic household objects they find as "vessels". See also "Minimum Number of Vessels".

Vestibule - A small room between an outside door and an inside one, the latter frequently opening into a hall.

Volumetric - Pertaining to a measurement of volume.


Wainscot - An overlining for interior wall surfaces, usually less than the full height of the story.

Ware Plain - A Woodland I (1200 B.C. - 900 B.C.) ceramic tempered with crushed sand or quartz characterized by flat-bottomed vessels with lug handles and resembling Marcey Creek vessels.

Waste Flake - Discarded lithic flakes not suitable for use, usually resulting from platform preparation, trimming, quarrying or mining waste, and removal of cortex.

Waster - Broken or otherwise damaged bricks or ceramics generally discarded after manufacture.

Water Table - The projecting base of a wall.

Weatherboard - A horizontal exterior wall board laid with the lower edge overlapping the next board below.

Wetlands - Poorly drained, often moist terrain situated adjacent to a waterway, frequently marshy or covered by water at high tide. Generally not suited for building structures, but may be used for duck hunting blinds.

Wharf - A structure built along or at an angle from the shore of navigable waters so that ships may lie alongside to receive and discharge passengers and cargo.

Whiteware - Refined earthenware with a white body and clear glaze, introduced in the 1820s and still produced today.

Wing - A secondary mass of a building, sometimes an addition, often at right angles to the main portion of the building and forming an ell.

Wire Nail - Steel nail with a round shaft, like a modern carpentry nail. Invented in the 1860's but not common until the 1890's.

Wolf Neck Ware - A Woodland I (700 B.C. - 400 B.C.) conoidal shaped ceramic tempered with crushed quartz whose exterior surface may be cord marked or net impressed.

Work Boat - A utilitarian watercraft constructed and used for commercial purposes, such as hauling freight or fishing; normally ranging in length between 25 feet (8 meters) and 100 feet (30 meters) in length.


Xeric - A vegetation pattern characterized by relatively dry-adapted plant species, such as oak and hickory forests.

Xeric Forest - A forest characterized by plants adapted to dry conditions, such as grasslands and forests of oak and hickory.

Xerophyte - A plant that grows in arid conditions.


Yellow-Glazed Earthenware - White bodied earthenware with a bright yellow lead glaze made in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century.

Yellow Ware - Buff-yellow bodied refined earthenware with a clear glaze, first produced in the late 1820s and manufactured into the twentieth century.

Yeoman - An eighteenth century and earlier term for a farmer and owner of a small farm.


Z Score - A test that allows the comparison of values from two different normal distributions and uses the score obtained to measure deviation from the population mean.

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