GLOSSARY


Anglo – Settlers of European background, or White people.

Anthropologist - One who studies the evolution and cultural development of people in different societies to understand human behavior.

Artifact – Anything that has been made, used, or modified by humans.

AtlAtl - A spear-thrower that works on the same principle as the device used to throw tennis balls for a dog . (Picture)

Biface - Stone tools that have been flaked on both sides to produce a sharp, symmetrical, knife-like edge. (Picture)

Bone Awl - A piece of usually large mammal bone that has been shaped into something like a knitting needle. These were used to weave baskets, mats, and other textiles that have been made by Great Basin people for the last 10,000 years.

B.P. – An abbreviation for “Before Present,” or before the year 1950. This is when C14 dating was developed and the age of things dated by this technique started to be reported as how many years older than 1950. This means that a date of 950 B.P. would be equivalent to A.D. 1000 in our calendar system.

C14 Dating – A method for dating once living things (plants, animals, or parts of them) that measures the amount of radioactive C14 that all living things have in their bodies until they die and it begins to slowly disappear.

Cache – A store of tools or food that was hidden away for later use.

Chronology – The determination of dates and sequence of events in the past.

Crescent – A “moon-shaped” flaked stone tool made and used during the Early Prehistoric period.

Dart – A light-weight spear thrown with an atlatl that was used for hunting before the bow and arrow arrived in the Eastern Sierra around 1350 years ago.

Drill – A sharp edged, pointed flaked stone tool used for boring holes in things like wood, bone, and softer kinds of rock.

Erosion (eroded) – The removal of earth and rock from a site or part of the landscape by wind, water, or other processes.

Fauna – The animals living in a particular region or time period.

Flaked Stone - Sharp-edged tools made by chipping obsidian and other glassy stone to the desired shape.

Gaming Pieces -  short rods of bone or cubes of soapstone that were used for playing hand game. This is a traditional gambling game that is still played today by many Great Basin and other Native American tribes. (Picture)

Ground Stone - Artifacts that are made by slowly hammering, grinding, and polishing less breakable stone like granite until the proper size and shape are achieved.

Handstone – A fist-sized, round, flat handheld stone used with a milling stone for grinding foods.

House Floor – The remains of a prehistoric house where people lived in the past.

Milling Stone – A large flat or dished shape stone used as a stationary surface upon which seeds, tubors, and nuts are ground with a handstone.

Mono Basin – The Eastern Sierra valley that holds the salty remains of a once larger Ice Age lake we call Mono Lake today.

Mortar – A stone or sometimes wooden bowl or cup cut into a piece of bedrock that was used to crush and grind food like acorns.

Obsidian Hydration – A dating technique that measures the thickness of the layer of obsidian that has absorbed water after an obsidian tool was made, providing an age for the artifact.

Owens Lake – The large saltwater lake that filled much of the southern Owens Valley until it dried in the early 1900s, when the water to fill it was diverted to southern California.

Owens Valley – The valley between the Sierra Nevada and Inyo/White mountains that stretches from the modern town of Bishop to the town of Cartago, California.

Paiute – The Native American people who lived in the Eastern Sierra when European settlers arrived and whose descendants continue to live there today.

Petroglyph - Pictures and designs pecked or cut into the surface of dark-colored rock to expose the lighter material underneath. Some are easily identifiable as people, animals, and other life-like things, but others are more abstract designs of unknown meaning. (Picture)

Projectile Point - A flaked stone object that is hafted to the tip of a projectile, such as a spear, dart, or arrow.

Quarry - A location where raw stone materials such as obsidian, chert and basalt, were collected for stone tool manufacture.

Scraper – A flaked stone tool used to peel, shave, or plane things like wood, bone, or food.

Site – A place with evidence of earlier human activity.

Shaft Straightener - A grooved piece of talc or soapstone. These were heated in fires and used to straighten cane or phragmites dart shafts.

Shell Beads – Beads made from one of several species of sea shells imported from southern California.

Threshing Floor – A flat stone or packed earth surface used to remove and mass process wild seeds still attached to the plant.

Volcanic Tableland – The geologic formation at the northern end of Owens Valley that was an important seed collecting area for Native American people.

 


WEB SITE DESIGNED BY // BRIAN JAMES // 2011
INFORMATION COMPILED BY// MARK BASGALL : MICHAEL DELACORTE : BRIDGET WALL // 2011