Tag Archive | words

Archaeological Words #5

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.


Archaeological Words #4

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.

Archaeological Words #2

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

Archaeological Words #1

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. 


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