Last one of these for a short while. Not at all least, however, are the nouns associated with flint tools. The original contributors to the world of flint descriptions clearly though of the prehistoric tools as like pets, given the use of ‘dorsal’ and ‘ventral’ surfaces for top and bottom (like with fish), and proximal and distal for front and back (like with animal bone). Breaking them causes a ‘bulb of percussion’, leaves ‘conchoidal ripples’ and can be worked further with ‘retouch’. Flints are a world to themselves.
Latest in my random series of the bizarre, unusual and ridiculous words of the archaeological world is actually a whole series. The shapes of objects in profile, in section or in plan are often described using nouns and adjectives stolen from the more technical world of geometry. This ends up with us using the wonderful phrases of ‘concavo-convex’, ‘reniform’, and ‘oblanceolate’. The whole system seems to break down once we encounter shields – trying to described the shape of a shield without using the phrase ‘shield-shaped’ is far too difficult without coffee.
Did you know that instead of ‘Heads or Tail’s We should really be saying ‘Obverse or Reverse’. The obverse is the side of a coin with an issuer’s mark or head of a given state/empire/revolution on it. Its reverse side usually includes an image of something related to said ruler, or an icon of religious, social, personal, economic, or aesthetic significance.
Absolutely nothing to do with the Roman word, but ‘Trunnions’ is a fantastic word! These are the two circular pivot discs on the side of cannons. You can really get behind ‘trunnions’. Good swear word potential
Recently taught to me by the eternally enthusiastic John Cruse, “Harps” or “Harping” is the name for the grooves on n underside of a Roman quern stone; they are diagonal to the circumference of the base and fill in a square frame, starting in the corner and getting larger. Just like with a harp.