Glossary of Archaeological/Anthropological Terms


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KA & BA __ Although it is difficult to find modern concepts which faithfully convey the Egyptian ideal of what the Ba & Ka were, the Ba is often described as the soul of a man, the Ka as his double.

KANDILE __ Footed bowl with perforated handles used as a lamp or possibly a storage vessel in the Cycladic civilization of the Greeks.

KAOLIN __ A fine white clay consisting of decayed feldspar used to make porcelain; also known as china clay.

KATUN - A Mayan word meaning 20 years. In actuality, it is 20 times 360 days.

KAYAK __ A double-pointed, decked, skin-covered canoe found among some Eskimo groups. In some varieties, a waterproof coat covers the cockpit and fastens tightly around the neck and wrists of the traveller, thus rendering the vehicle and clothing contiguous and the kayak virtually unsinkable. A skilled individual can travel in heavy water and breakers in such a craft.
KEEWATIN LANCEOLATE __ A projectile point style defined by Harp (l96l) on the basis of his investigations along the Thelon River in the Northwest Territories. As the name implies, these specimens are un-notched and in terms of most particulars, including size, shape, thickness, type of flaking and presence and extent of basal and lateral grinding, they are essentially identical to Agate Basin points. Wright (l972) considers Keewatin Lanceolate points and the complex within which they occur to represent an occupation by Plano peoples who were ancestral to the authors of his Shield Archaic Tradition.

KERAMEIKOS __ Area in which potters lived in Athens. Also used as a burial place.

KETTLE HOLE __ A depression in the ground formed by the melting of a buried block of ice. The debris which formerly covered the ice is thus allowed to settle to the bottom of the kettle.

KHEPRESH __ The Egyptian blue crown was a ceremonial crown and/or war crown.

KHNUM __ Egyptian god of creation represented by a ram.
"KILLED" ARTIFACT __ An artifact which has been purposely broken so as to release its spirit. Killed artifacts may be found as grave goods and the implication is that this was accomplished so that the spirit of the artifacts could accompany the spirit of the deceased to the afterlife.

KILL SITE __ An archaeological site which was used primarily for the slaughter and (usually at least the preliminary) butchering of game. As one would expect, the artifacts commonly found at such sites include projectile points and large knives. Faunal remains are often extremely numerous and an analysis of these may provide details on the method used to butcher the animals.

KILN __ A brick-lined oven used to fire ceramics.

KILT __ Short skirt worn by Egyptian men.

KIN SELECTION __ The process whereby an individual's genes are selected by virtue of that individual's increasing the chances that his or her kin's genes will be propagated into the next generation. 

KIN TERMINOLOGY __ The terms that systematically designate distinctions between relatives of different categories. 

KINDRED __ A collection of bilateral kin. 

KINGDOM __ A major division of living organisms. All organisms are placed into one of five kingdoms: monera, Protista, Fungi, Planti, and Animalia.

KING TUTANKHAMUN __ The so-called Boy King because he became the Pharaoh of ancient Egypt in 1336 B.C., when he was only nine years old. King Tutankhamun's tomb was found in the Valley of the Kings in 1922 by archaeologist Howard Carter. Inside the tomb were thousands of fantastic treasures that had been placed there for the king's use in the afterlife, including the famous burial mask that covered the face of the pharaoh's mummy.
KINNIKINNICK __ A smoking mixture of the North American Indians consisting of the bark and leaves of certain plants occasionally mixed with tobacco. Some of the plants used produced a mild narcotic effect.

KIVA __ A ceremonial room, often circular and semi-subterranean, used by Pueblo Indians.

KNAPPING __ The production or shaping of stone artifacts by means of pressure and/or percussion flaking.

KNIFE RIVER FLINT __ Brown chalcedony; a dark, brown translucent siliceous stone found in the Knife River area of North and South Dakota and particularly favored for its flaking properties.

KNUCKLE WALKING __ Semierect quadrupedalism, found in chimpanzees and the gorilla, in which the upper parts of the body are supported by the knuckles rather than the palms. 

KOHL __ Eyeliner made of powdered malachite (green) or powdered galena (black).
KORE __ A maiden. Also an alternate name for Persephone, daughter of Demeter.

KOUROS __ A statue of a nude Greek youth. A young man.

KRATER __ Bowl for mixing wine and water.

KULA RING __ A system of ceremonial, non-competitive, exchange practiced in Melanesia to establish and reinforce alliances. Malinowski's study of this system was influential in shaping the anthropological concept of reciprocity.

KURDISH __ Part of the Indo-European family of languages, Kurdish is the language of the Kurds and is spoken in Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Russia.

KURDS __ A non-Arab Middle Eastern minority population that inhabits the region known as Kurdistan, an extensive plateau and mountain area extending across Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Armenia. In the late '90s, estimates projected that the Kurds number more than 20 million. The majority of Kurds are devout Sunni Muslims.

KYLIX __ A shallow footed bowl used for drinking.


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