sickle-cell trait: the condition of being heterozygous for hemoglobin A and S. yet the individual usually shows no abnormal symptoms.
side-blade:a flaked stone, bone, shell, or metal artifact inserted in the side of a shaft or projectile point to provide an extended cutting edge.
sidescan sonar: a survey method used in underwater archaeology which provides the broadest view of the sea-floor. An acoustic emitter is towed behind a vessel and sends out sound waves in a fan-shaped beam. These pulses of sonic energy are reflected back to a transducer-- return time depending on distance traveled--and recorded on a rotating drum.
silent areas: sections of the cerebral cortex, which include parts of the frontal, occipital, and temporal lobes, in which electrical stimulation produces little or no emotional or motor response.
simian shelf: a bony buttress on the inner surface of the foremost part of the ape mandible, functioning to reinforce the mandible.
simple random sampling: a type of probabilistic sampling where the areas to be sampled are chosen using a table of random numbers. Drawbacks include (1) defining the site's boundaries beforehand; (2) the nature of random number tables results in some areas being allotted clusters of sample squares, while others remain untouched.
simulation: the formulation and computer implementation of dynamic models i.e. models concerned with change through time. Simulation is a useful heuristic device, and can be of considerable help in the development of explanation.
site catchment analysis (SCA): a type of off-site analysis which concentrates on the total area from which a site's contents have been derived; at its simplest, a site's catchment can be thought of as a full inventory of artifactual and non-artifactual remains and their sources.
site exploitation territory (SET): often confused with site catchment analysis, this is a method of achieving a fairly standardized assessment of the area habitually used by a site's occupants.
site survey: the process of searching for and describing archaeological sites in a given area.
site: a distinct spatial clustering of artifacts, features, structures, and organic and environmental remains. as the residue of human activity.
skull deformation: the artificial distortion of cranial bones during growth practiced by some aboriginal cultures.
slag: the material residue of smelting processes from metalworking. Analysis is often necessary to distinguish slags derived from copper smelting from those produced in iron production. Crucible slags (from the casting process) may be distinguished from smelting slags by their high concentration of copper.
SLAR (sideways-looking airborne radar): a remote sensing technique that involves the recording in radar images of the return of pulses of electromagnetic radiation sent out from aircraft (cf. thermography).
slash and burn agriculture: a method of farming, also called swidden agriculture, by which fields are cleared, trees and brush are burned, and the soil, fertilized by the ash, is then planted.
slavery: a practice that permits some people within a society to own other persons and to claim the right to their labor.
slope distance: in mapping the inclined distance (as opposed to true horizontal or vertical distance) between 2 points.
social anthropology: see cultural anthropology. <> social category: a category composed of all people who share certain culturally identified characteristics.
social class: a category of people who have generally similar educational histories, job opportunities, and social standing and who are conscious of their membership in a social group that is ranked in relation to others and is replicated over generations.
social control: a framework of rewards and sanctions that channel behavior.
social division of labor: the process by which a society is formed by the integration of its smaller groups or subsets.
social intelligence: the knowledge and images that originate in an individual's brain and that are transferred by speech land in the last 5,000 years, by writing to the brains of others.
social mobility: the ability of people to change their social position within the society.
social norm: an expected form of behavior.
social pressure: a means of social control in which people who venture over the boundaries of society's rules are brought back into line.
socialization: the process by which a person acquires the technical skills of his or her society, the knowledge of the kinds of behavior that are understood and acceptable in that society, and the attitudes and values that make conformity with social rules personally meaningful, even gratifying; also termed enculturation.
society: a group of interacting people who share a geographical region, a sense of common identity, and a common culture.
sociobiology: the study of the biological control of social behavior.
sociocultural anthropology: a branch of anthropology that deals with variations in patterns of social interaction and differences in cultural behavior.
sociolinguistics: a branch of anthropological linguistics that studies how language and culture are related and how language is used in different social contexts.
soil resistivity: a method of subsurface detection which measures changes in conductivity by passing electrical current through ground soils. This is generally a consequence of moisture content, and in this way, buried features can be detected by differential retention of groundwater.
soil texture: the relative proportion of clay, silt and sand sized particles in a soil.
soil-sieves: small, precision metal screens, used for determining the proportions of different sized particles in a soil sediment sample.
soil-sounding radar: a method of subsurface detection in which short radio pulses are sent through the soil, such that the echoes reflect back significant changes in soil conditions.
solifluction: the slow downslope movement of surface sediments in a saturated condition. Prevalent in permafrost areas due to the seasonal thawing of the surface of the permafrost zone. Can cause complete mixture of site stratigraphy and archaeological components.
somatic: a term that refers to the body.
sorcery: the performance of certain magical rites for the purpose of harming other people.
sororate: a social custom under which a widower has the right to marry one of his deceased wife's sisters, and her kin are obliged to provide him with a new wife.
specialization: the limited range of activities in which a single individual is likely to be engaged.
specialized pastoralism: the adaptive strategy of exclusive reliance on animal husbandry.
specialized species: a species closely fit to a specific environment and able to tolerate little change in that environment.
specialized trait: a structure used basically for one function.
speciation: the evolutionary process that is said to occur when two previous subspecies (of the same species) are no longer capable of successful interbreeding; they are then two different species.
species: the largest natural population whose members are able to reproduce successfully among
speech community: a socially distinct group that develops a dialect; a variety of language that diverges from the national language in vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar.
sperm: a male gamete.
spermatogenesis: sperm production.
spheres of exchange: the modes of exchange-- reciprocity, redistribution, and market exchange-- that apply to particular goods or in particular situations.
spindle: a structure consisting of fibers radiating out from the centriole that functions in cell division.
spirit possession: the supposed control of a person's behavior by a supernatural spirit that has entered the body.
spokeshave: an artifact with a notch or concave edge, presumed to have been used in shaping wooden or bone shafts.
spontaneous generation: an old and incorrect idea that complex life forms could be spontaneously created from nonliving material.
stability: the ability of an ecosystem to return to equilibrium after disturbances.
stadia rod (also "surveyor's staff'): a long brightly painted rod, accurately calibrated in metric units (or feet and inches), used for obtaining elevations and stadia measurements of distance in mapping with a major surveying instrument.
standard deviation: a statistical measurement of the amount of variation in a series of determinations; the probability of the real number's falling within plus or minus one standard deviation is 67 percent.
standing wave technique: an acoustic method, similar to bosing, used in subsurface detection.
state: a term used to describe a social formation defined by distinct territorial boundedness, and characterized by strong central government in which the operation of political power is sanctioned by legitimate force. In cultural evolutionist models, it ranks second only to the empire as the most complex societal development stage.
statistical analysis: the application of probability theory to quantified descriptive data.
status: a position in a pattern of reciprocal behavior.
steatite: soapstone or talc; a soft gray to green stone used as a carving medium.
stela (pl. stelae): a free-standing carved stone monument.
step-trenching: an excavation method employed on very deep sites, such as Near Eastern tell sites, in which the excavation proceeds downwards in a series of gradually narrowing steps.
stereoscope: a simple optical device to allow the perception of a stereoscopic (or 3-dimensional) image from pairs of aerial photographs.
stereoscopic vision: visual perception of depth due to overlapping visual fields and various neurological features.
storage-pit (also called cache-pits): circular excavations usually less than 3 m in diameter assumed to have aboriginally functioned as storage "cellars".
strata: (1) depositional units or layers of sediment distinguished by composition or appearance. (singular: "stratum"), (2) individually sampled subareas in a "stratified-random" probabilistic sampling scheme.
stratification: the division of a society into groups that have varying degrees of access to resources and power.
stratification: the laying down or depositing of strata or layers (also called deposits) one above the other. A succession of layers should provide a relative chronological sequence, with the earliest at the bottom and the latest at the top.
stratified random sampling: a form of probabilistic sampling in which the region or site is divided into natural zones or strata such as cultivated land and forest; units ate then chosen by a random number procedure so as to give each zone a number of squares proportional to its area, thus overcoming the inherent bias in simple random sampling.
stratified sample: a sample obtained by the process of dividing a population into categories representing distinctive characteristics and then selecting a random sample from each category.
stratified society: a society in which extensive subpopulations are accorded differential treatment.
stratified systematic sampling: a form of probabilistic sampling which combines elements of (1) simple random sampling, (2) stratified random sampling, and (3) systematic sampling, in an effort to reduce sampling bias.
stratigraphy: the study and validation of stratification; the analysis in the vertical, time dimension, of a series of layers in the horizontal, space dimension. It is often used as a relative dating technique to assess the temporal sequence of artifact deposition.
stratosphere: the part of the atmosphere 20 to 50 kilometers (12 to 31 miles) above the earth's surface; the area where ozone forms.
structural functionalism: the theory that the central function of the various aspects of a society is to maintain the social structure--the society's pattern of social relations and institutions.
structural gene: a segment of DNA that codes for a polypeptide other than a regulator.
structuralist approaches: interpretations which stress that human actions ate guided by beliefs and symbolic concepts, and that underlying these ate structures of thought which find expression in various forms. The proper object of study is therefore to uncover the structures of thought and to study their influence in shaping the ideas in the minds of the human actors who created the archaeological record.
structured interview: an ethnographic data-gathering technique in which large numbers of respondents are asked a set of specific questions.
style: according to the art historian, Ernst Gombrich, style is "any distinctive and therefore recognizable way in which an act is performed and made." Archaeologists and anthropologists have defined "stylistic areas" as areal units representing shared ways of producing and decorating artifacts.
sub-bottom profiler: see underwater reconnaissance.
subcutaneous fat: the fat deposited under the skin.
subera: a division of an era. The Cenozoic is divided into two suberas, the Tertiary and Quatemary.
submetacentric chromosome: a chromosome in which the centromere lies to one side of the center, producing arms of unequal length.
subsistence pattern: the basic means by which a human group extracted and utilized energy from its environment.
subspecies: interfertile groups within a species that display significant differentiation among themselves.
substantivism: a school of economic anthropology that seeks to understand economic processes as the maintenance of an entire cultural order.
subsurface detection: a collective name lot a variety of remote sensing techniques operating at ground level, and including hosing (or bowsing), augering, magnetometer, and radar techniques.
superposition: the principle that under stable conditions strata on the bottom of a deposit were laid down first and hence are older than layers on top.
surface collection: archaeological materials obtained from the ground surface.
surface finish: in the study of ceramic artifacts, the mainly decorative outer elements of a vessel.
surface scatter: archaeological materials found distributed over the ground surface.
surface structure: the particular arrangement of words that we hear or read.
surface survey: two basic kinds can be identified: (1) unsystematic and (2) systematic. The former involves field-walking, i.e. scanning the ground along one's path and recording the location of artifacts and surface features. Systematic survey by comparison is less subjective and involves a grid system, such that the survey area is divided into sectors and these are walked systematically, thus making the recording of finds mote accurate.
survey area: the region within which archaeological sites are to be located.
surveying: (1) in archaeology, the process of locating archaeological sites. (2) more generally, the process of mapping and measuring points on the ground surface (e.g. "legal" or topographic surveying").
suspensory behavior: a form of locomotion and posture whereby animals suspend themselves underneath a branch.
sweating: the production of a fluid, sweat, by the sweat glands of the skin. The evaporation of the sweat from the skin leads to a cooling of the body.
symbol: something that can represent something distant from it in time and space.
symmetry analysis: a mathematical approach to the analysis of decorative style which claims that patterns can he divided into two distinct groups or symmetry classes: 17 classes for those patterns that repeat motifs horizontally, and 46 classes for those that repeat them horizontally and vertically. Such studies have suggested that the choice of motif arrangement within a particular culture is far from random.
sympatric species: different species that live in the same area but are prevented from successfully re-producing by a reproductive isolating mechanism.
symphyseal face: the surface of the pubis where one pubis joins the other at the pubic symphysis.
symplesiomorphic feature: see shared ancestral feature.
synapomorphic feature: see shared derived feature.
synapsids: the reptilian group from which the mammals ultimately emerged.
synchronic studies: rely on research that does not make use of or control for the effects of the passage of time.
synchronic: referring to phenomena considered at a single point in time; i.e. an approach which is not primarily concerned with change (cf. diachronic).
syndrome: a complex of symptoms related to a single cause.
synostosis: the joining of separate pieces of bone in human skeletons; the precise timing of such processes is an important indicator of age.
syntax: the arrangement of words into meaningful utterances.
synthetic theory of evolution: the theory of evolution that fuses Darwin's concept of natural selection with information from the fields of genetics, mathematics, embryology, paleontology, animal behavior, and other disciplines.
system: a series of interrelated parts wherein a change in one part brings about changes in all parts.
systematic sampling: a form of probabilistic sampling employing a grid of equally spaced locations; e.g. selecting every other square. This method of regular spacing runs the risk of missing (or hitting) every single example if the distribution itself is regularly spaced.
systematic survey: see surface survey.
systems thinking: a method of formal analysis in which the object of study is viewed as comprising distinct analytical sub-units. Thus in archaeology, it comprises a form of explanation in which a society or culture is seen through the interaction and interdependence of its component parts; these are referred to as system parameters, and may include such things as population size, settlement pattern, crop production, technology etc.
tactile pads: the tips of the fingers and toes of primates; area richly endowed by tactile nerve endings sensitive to touch.
taphonomy: the study of processes which have affected organic materials such as bone after death; it also involves the microscopic analysis of tooth-marks or cut marks to assess the effects of butchery or scavenging activities.
Tarsiidae: suborder of the order Primates consisting of the tarsiers.
taxon: a group of organisms at any level of the taxonomic hierarchy. The major taxa are the species and genus and the higher taxa, including the family, order, class, phylum, and kingdom.
taxonomy: the theory of classification.
Tay-Sachs disease: an enzyme deficiency of lipid metabolism inherited as a recessive; causes death in early childhood.
tectonic movements: displacements in the plates that make up the earth's crust, often responsible for the occurrence of raised beaches.
tectonic plate: a segment of the lithosphere.
tell: a Neat Eastern term that refers to a mound site formed through successive human occupation over a very long timespan.
telocentric chromosome: a chromosome in which the centromere is located at the very end of the chromosome.
temper: materials added to clay in the manufacture of ceramic artifacts, to prevent cracking during firing. Could include vegetal fibers, feathers, rock fragments, sand, or ground-up pot-sherds.
temporal isolation: see seasonal isolation.
temporalis: a muscle of chewing that arises on the jaw and inserts on the side of the skull.
temporomandibular joint: the joint formed at the point of articulation of the mandible and the base of the skull.
temporonuchal crest: a crest on the back of the skull, forming on the occipital and temporal bones.
tent-ring: a circle of rocks used to hold down the edges of an aboriginal tent (e.g. "tipi-rings").
tephra: volcanic ash. In the Mediterranean, for example, deep-sea coring produced evidence for the ash fall from the eruption of Theta, and its stratigraphic position provided important information in the construction of a relative chronology.
termite stick: a tool made and used by chimpanzees for collecting termites for food.
terms of address: the terms people use when they address their kin directly.
terms of reference: the terms by which people refer to their kin when they speak about them in the third person.
terrace: a fluvial terrace is a remnant of an earlier flood-plain isolated by down-cutting of the river, resulting in a step-like series of "flats" and scarps. Beach terraces are old ocean or lake beaches isolated by lowered water levels.
terrestrial quadrupedalism: see ground running and walking.
territory: an area that a group defends against other members of its own species.
tesseera: a small tablet (as of wood, bone, or ivory) used by the ancient Romans as a ticket, tally, voucher, or means of identification; or, a small piece (as of marble, glass, or tile) used in mosaic work.
test pit (also "test excavation"): a small exploratory "dig" designed to determine a site's depth, and contents prior to major excavation.
testosterone: a male sex hormone.
thalassemia: the absence or reduction of alpha- or beta-chain synthesis in hemoglobin. The homozygous condition (thalassemia major) is characterized by a high frequency of hemoglobin F and fatal anemia; the heterozygous condition (thalassemia minor) is highly variable but usually occurs with mild symptoms.
theism: belief in one or more gods of extrahuman origin.
theodolite (also "optical transit"): a transit with accurate optical readout of vertical and horizontal angles.