The Bradshaw Foundation : Glossary of Terms & Definitions

Glossary of Terms & Definitions | A

 
 
 
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abstract image Non-figurative motif not recognizable as an object of the real world.
Acheulean Period Refers to the latter period of the early Stone Age in Africa, overlapping into the middle Stone Age, lasting from about 1.4 million to about 100,000 years ago. It is characterized by bifacial hand axes, which were first recognized at St.Acheul, France [see Hand Axe].
ahu Ceremonial platforms upon which were erected carved moai, on Rapa Nui, or Easter Island.
Altamira A cave in Cantabria, Spain famous for its Upper Palaeolithic paintings. It was the first cave in which prehistoric cave paintings were discovered. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
altered state of consciousness (ASC) a universal human experience that differs from the 'normal' state of consciousness along a continuum, ranging from daydreaming and sleep to euphoria, deep trance, and near-death experience. Altered states of consciousness are generally accompanied by visions and hallucinations. Inducements include various pathological conditions, sensory deprivation, meditation, and ingestion of hallucinogenic substances.
ancestor Somebody from whom somebody else is directly descended, especially somebody more distant than a grandparent.
anthropic Pertaining to human form.
anthropocentric Relating to imagery that predominantly depicts humanlike figures.
anthropology The study of humanity, attempting to establish what defines Homo sapiens, who our ancestors are, what our physical traits are, how we behave, why there are variations among different groups of humans, and how the evolutionary past of Homo sapiens has influenced its social organization and cul
anthropomorph A term used in rock art studies to describe a motif with human attributes.
archaeology The scientific study of ancient cultures through the examination of their material remains such as buildings, graves, tools, and other artefacts usually dug up from the ground.
atlatl A throwing stick or board designed to add greater propulsion to a dart or spear by extending the thrower's arm; replaced by bow and arrow ca. A.D. 500 in western North America.
Aurignacian An Upper Palaeolithic culture from 37,000 to 27,000 years ago, characterized by the use of bone tools and blade flint technology.
Australopithecus [australis 'southern', Greek pithekos 'ape'] is a genus of extinct hominids, made up of the gracile [gracefully slender] australopiths, and formerly also included their larger relatives, the robust australopiths. The genus Australopithecus is closely related to the human genus Homo, and may be ancestral to it. Australopithecus afarensis [Lucy, 3.9 to 3 million years ago], Australopithecus africanus [3 to 2.4 million years ago] and Australopithecus boisei [2.7 to 1.4 million years ago] are among the most famous of the extinct hominins.
Azilian The latest culture of the Upper Palaeolithic in central and south western France and northern Spain, around 8,000 BC. It was the end of the Magdalenian culture, with a warmer climate and a gradual end of the Ice Age. The type-site is Mas d'Azil in the French Pyrenees, with its painted pebbles, microliths with rounded backs [Azilian points] and crude flat bone harpoons.
 
 
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