Archaeology – the study of human past through material remains.
Artifact – an object that has either been created, modified, used or affected by human beings such as projectile points, ceramics, glass, and nails.
Context – an artifact’s or feature’s physical location and position, the stratigraphic layer where it was recovered, as well as other nearby artifacts or features discovered.
Ceramic – made of clay and hardened by heat such as earthenware pots, brick, or clay tobacco pipes.
Debitage – the rock debris created when making stone tools.
Feature – an unmovable part of an archaeological site that has been created, modified, used or affected by human beings such as a road, structural foundation, midden, privy, well, or hearth.
Flake – a chip of rock removed from an objective piece by pressure or percussion when making stone tools. A type of debitage.
Historic (recorded history) – period in which a culture has its own written record.
In Situ – “in position”, when an artifact is found in its original place of deposit it is said to be found “in situ”.
Law of Superposition – law stating that with undisturbed soil deposits that the youngest layer is on the top with each layer below being slightly older and the oldest layer on the bottom.
Lithic – stone, pertaining to or consisting of stone.
Material Remains – physical evidence of human activity including changes in landscape, sites, and artifacts.
Prehistoric – period before written record.
Projectile Point- pointed object hafted onto the end of a projectile such as a spear, arrow, or dart. Colloquially called an arrowhead.
Protohistoric – period in which one culture with no writing is written about by another culture.
Provenience – horizontal and vertical location of an artifact or feature.
Stratigraphy – geological study of rock and soil layers.
Stratum – a layer of sedimentary rock or soil with consistent features which differentiate it from other layers. Often referred to by archaeologists as a “strat”.