The Main Lexicon

June 2000 - G. Buccellati, August 2022 - J. Walker
[September 2022 - M. De Pietri]
A Digital Monograph
The home for this page is GRAMMAR

Table of contents

7.1 Introductory
7.2 Simple and complex lemmata
7.3 Current version
7.4 Universal Codes
7.5 Variants for variable B10 (Definition)
     (1) Features (stationary elements)
          1. Horizontal surfaces
          2. Layering or buildup
          3. Amorphous amassment (fills, dumping, collapse)
          4. Ordered aggregation (walls, installations)
          5. Other features
     (2) Items (movable elements)
          1. Metal
          2. Stone
          3. Clay
          4. Organic
          5. Glass
          6. Other items
     (3) Alphabetical list of codes for features and items
     (4) Incidentals
7.6 Variants for variable D3 (Ware or material)
7.7 Variants for variable F2 (Contact association)
7.8 Variants for variable K4 (Shape for ceramic vessels)
7.9 Variants for variable O11 (View range)
7.10 Variants for variable O12 (View orientation)

7.1 Introductory

     A lexicon has been defined (12.4) as the list of attribute states or variants, i.e., the specific information that fills a given roster slot (attribute argument or variable). The term “lemma” (plural “lemmata”) refers to the concrete lexical item(s).
     The list is open ended, and as such it is susceptible of additions at any time. Thus, whether or not or a lexical entry “earring” for the roster slot B10=“definition” is present in our lexicon, or a lexical entry “green” for the roster slot K5=“color,” and whether or not it has been used in the past, it can be introduced at will the first time it becomes pertinent. It is important that in such cases a precise definition be given within the record itself: this is done by using the category –rd “roster definition” under incidentals (17.4 (4)).
     In this perspective, a formal listing of lexical entries would seem unnecessary. If that is not so, and if I undertake to give just such a list in this chapter, it is for two major reasons.
     (1) In most cases where a lexical entry is expected, there is a correlative need for sorting. Thus, for example, it is obviously desirable to sort the entries for the roster slot “definition” in such a way that we have all ceramic vessels together, all seal impressions together, and so on. A uniformity of lexical entries is expected to make such sorting possible: it would not work to call the same type of object “ceramic vessel” or “pottery item,” “seal impression” or “rolling,” and so on.
     The simplest function of a lexical list is, therefore, to provide consistency in the use of appellations for distinct phenomena. In the input phase, it will also serve as a list of abbreviations, or codes, that can be more easily utilized in a uniform manner. Just as we saw in the case of the roster (16.1), this aspect of the current presentation is of no concern to a normal user of the system, since in the display version as embodied in the browser edition all abbreviations are resolved, and thus no knowledge of the codes is expected.
     (2) More important is the conceptual dimension of the lexicon. Terms like “floor” and “fill” appear at first to have an evident meaning – the first term referring to a walking surface, and the second to material deposited within a given space. But closer inspection will reveal great variations. These have to be spelled out, and this goes to the core of the conceptual dimension of the lexicon. What is important in this endeavor is not so much to canvass a dictionary for definitions and paraphrases, but to articulate the variations into structured sets, where the definitions arise from contrasts among the members of the set. This I seek to do, to a limited extent and only for some basic categories, in this chapter.
     The individual lexical items given below reflect different degrees of specificity, and no attempt is made to provide a finer hierarchy in this regard within each of the categories. It is also important to note that the record may well reflect successive moments through which different, and progressively higher, degrees of specificity are ascertained and assigned to the data. At Mozan, this has often been the case, for instance, in the case of cl “clay lumps.” It was imperative, when collecting them in the field, that no attempt be made to determine whether they were sealings, and if so whether they were impressed with the rolling of a seal, for to attempt even a modicum of cleaning before they had become dry might seriously jeopardize their integrity. But after cleaning in the laboratory, such determination could, and would, be made. We estimate that we have collected some 10,000 cl clay lumps, of which only about 2,000 turned out to be sl “sealings,” of which again only some 1,600 bore a si “seal impression,” and a few even turned out to be tablet fragments. Progressively finer descriptions were then possible, e.g., as to iconography, epigraphic content, etc.

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7.2 Simple and complex lemmata

     A simple lemma is based on a single set of parameters that is used to define a variant within a variable, e.g., “brown” within the variable “color.” With greater precision, a lemma may be based on the use of standards (e.g., the Munsell variant “5YR8/2” within the variable “color”; see below, 20, for a discussion of standards).
     A complex lemma is a combination of simple lemmata and is used in the same way to define a set of variants within a variable. thus, a ceramic “ware” is set of pertinent attributes for matrix, inclusions, manufacturing technique and measurements, each of which is defined separately as a simple lemma.

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7.3 Current version

     The current version is indicated by a code that relates the lexicon to the roster, thus LZmr-003 is the 3rd version of the lexicon applicable to the main roster, LZca-002 is the 2nd version of the lexicon applicable to the Ceramic Analysis roster.

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7.4 Universal codes


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7.5 Variants for variable B10 = df: Definition

     Th. sentence to be completed ZG831 mDP
     It must be stressed that the lexicon is an open system (7.1), so that features that occur rarely may be named in an ad hoc fashion as necessary. For instance, such entries as “pile of bricks” may be used for a stack of brocks ready for use in constructing a wall. The only twoconstraints are that initial hyphen is reserved for incidentals, and that the maximum length allowed is 20 characters.
     Labels that are more specifically typological are given in italics at the end of each group of definitions. These typological definitions may be given under B10, in addition to the more generic definition. Thus something defined first as co “collapse” may also be defined as bf “brickfall.” Conversely, if a wall has (even just partly) collapsed into an open pit, then the typological definition as “brickfall” would accompany the emplacement definition f2 “fill in secondary context.” In addition, the qualification bf “brickfall’ may also be entered under A5, if distinct brickfalls are numbered sequentially, and under M1 as a determination as to primary function.
     In some cases, a typological definition that includes a higher degree of specificity may apply to more than one type of material – for instance, a sculpture may be in stone or bronze. For this reason, it is advisable, though it is not strictly required by the system, to give in every case the more generic definition, e.g., ma “metal artifact” as well as sc “sculpture.” (In the topical lists given below, a term like “sculpture” may accordingly be entered twice, under ma “metal artifacts” and under la “lithic artifacts.) A more precise definition of the type of ware or material (e.g., arsenical bronze) will be found under the roster slot K3=wm “ware or material.”

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(1) Features (stationary elements)

     The main criterion for sorting the different types of features, in terms of emplacement, is the manner of alignment of the components of any given feature. Accordingly, four types can be distinguished.
  1. Horizontal surfaces: the alignment is along a single plane.
  2. Layering or buildup: this refers to the inert, i. e. gradual and unintentional, buildup that occurs on top of a surface, and which is characterized by the horizontal alignment of inclusions, each of which tends also to have a horizontal angle of repose.
  3. Amorphous amassment: this refers to fills, dumping or collapse that result in the random alignment of inclusions. The term “fill” refers, strictly speaking, to a situation whereby the material “fills” a given space that is bounded, as is the case with discards dumped into a pit or walls collapsed inside a room. The category, however, subsumes also cases when the material is not bounded, but has piled up without containment, as with a brickfall that took place onto an open space.
  4. Ordered aggregation:: this refers to the ordered organization of components, such as the bricks within a wall. Wider nesting results in complex elements, such as when four walls can be understood as a self-standing construction (e.g., a grave). Larger structures (e.g., a house) are best considered under typology.
     Note that, for ease of reference, the descriptive terms are taken from the depositional, rather than the emplacement, aspect that characterizes the feature – thus “fill” instead of something like “amorphous amassment.”

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1.Horizontal surfaces

sfsubfloorHard layer, suitable for compaction and/or additional cover on top; it may at times be inferred to have resulted from the leveling of a pre-existing collapse
ffloor surface in generalFloor whose type is not specified or clear.
fafloor, type aplastered or lined
fbfloor, type bhighly compacted
fcfloor, type cmedium compacted
fdfloor, type dcompacted naturally
pvpavementfloor defined structurally by distinct surface elements, generally afinished cover or a coating laid on prepared surface
pkpackingThe prepared surface underlying and supporting a pavement
papavement, type acoating that is heavier than fa: cement, bitumen for example
pbpavement, type blarge components: flagstones, bricks or tiles for example
pcpavement, type csmall components; pebbles, sherds for example

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2. Layering or buildup

aaccumulation   Gradual buildup, generally bounded to at least one side, e.g., by walls or abutting at least one wall.
  Depositionally, an accumulation may be inferred to have occurred through two major processes.
(1) Occupation is the process resulting from human activities, whereby debris (including artifactual fragments such as sherds, and organic material such ash) comes to be embedded and compacted into a coagulated layer.
(2) Sedimentation refers to the precipitation of natural material, such as dust, windblown sand or organic particles.
aaaccumulation A   Occupation immediately above floor surface, with sherds lying perfectly flat on the surface, vessels sitting upright, large pot smashes suggesting that the original ceramic vessel broke in place, etc. This is what is generally referred to as a “living floor,” and it is of particular importance for stratigraphic considerations.
abaccumulation B   Accumulation above accumulation, without distinct floor surface underneath, but well defined in terms of layering of matrix and distribution of inclusions
acaccumulation C   Not above floor, e.g. abandonment
adaccumulation D   Natural accumulation (i.e., sedimentation)
ash ashBurned organic material often found in a lens or layer
baband Horizontal deposit with sharp lower and merging upper boundaries, and and merging side boundaries
bmbrickmelt Layer consisting of the material used to make brick, but individual bricks cannot be distinguished
llens Same as accumulation, not abutting walls, but with sharp boundaries on the sides, and generally small in size.
lalens type a Same criteria as for as accumulation A
lblens type b Same criteria as for as accumulation B
lclens type c Same criteria as for as accumulation C
ldlens type d Same criteria as for as accumulation D
ly layer   Horizontal deposit with sharp lower and upper boundaries, with merging side boundaries
lys conflation of layers   Composite of multiple, clealy defined layers, or a merging of such layers
lm laminations   A special kind of lens, characterized by the even horizontal layering of very uniform soil, with an even layering and a sharp horizontal face, giving the appearance of compaction, but in fact quite brittle; it may be inferred that it was produced by the settling of water dripping from above (as with a light rain) after which it was left to dry without disturbances.
mudmud   A special kind of lens, similar to a lamination but with greater compaction, for which one may infer that it was produced by a sizeable downpour, such as heavy rain, rather than by a light drizzle
ts topsoilGenerally a band or layer found on the surface and rich in organic material

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3. Amorphous amassment (fill, dumping, collapse)

co collapseUniform matrix (e.g., bricks), with individual inclusions showing similar “angle of repose” (so as to suggest disaggregation of a built-up installation during collapse), often not contained within bounded space; it may be inferred that the collapse happened through intentional destruction by human agents of preexisting installations, or through erosion due to natural agents (especially rain and wind)
fi fillIn general, a soil matrix with inclusions not laid horizontally, at least not uniformly so (e.g., sherds or bones with different and sharp “angles of repose”), often contained within a bounded space, from which one can infer intentional and one-time dumping
f1 fill in primary contextMaterial placed in a hole or trench for which it was dug (e.g.refuse in a pit dug for that purpose)
f2 fill in secondary contextExample: waste discard within a pit originally meant for storage
gully gullyA channel created by flowing water that erodes and carries away soil
bf brickfallBricks and mortar associated with the collapse of a specific wall
of organic fillSpecifically dumped organic fill or midden
rfroofing materialMaterial associated with the collapse of a specific roof

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4. Ordered aggregation (walls, installations)

apron apronA decorative layer of large worked stones abutting the top of a revetment wall
baulk baulkA temporary "wall" of unexcavated material retained between loci. The purpose is to maintain stratigraphy and to provide a route for removal of spoils
be bench A low, narrow platform usually attached to a wall and designed for seating
bk-isbrick installationAn ordered construction of bricks whose purpuse either cannot be immediately determined or cannot be readily defined using exsisting codes
bp brick pile Individual bricks laid side by side, often set on their narrow side and leaning on each other, without the cohesion resulting from mortar binding
cr corridorA narrow passageway between two parallel walls
cut cutThe outer excavated edge of a pit into which fill is placed
dw doorwayAn opening in a wall extendingn up from the floor intended to permit the passage of people or goods.
drain drainA narrow channel built to carry water away from the source where it is used or collected to a sink for discard
dam damA wall built between two supporting structures and perpendicular to a water channel intended to control or impede the flow of water
escar escarpmentA floor of hard material (stone or compacted baqaya) at the base of a revetment wall designed to carry water away from the wall and thus avoid undermining it
glacis glacisA hard, compacted coating of baqaya or other soil extending back from the top of a revetment wall and intended to direct rainwater over the wall top, thus preventing erosiom of the back of the wall
is installationIn a general sense: a discrete whole whose component parts are ordered according to a structured organization, from which one can infer that it was set up intentionally to serve as a specific functional aggregate (13.4); this definition is used when more specific criteria are lacking
pf platformA raised installation with a large horizontal surface
pt pitA hole intentionally dug to contain discarded material or store material for future use
pt-a pit aggregateThe cut of a pit and its fill
pt-c pit cutThe hole intentionally dug for a pit
r roomA space usually enclosed by four walls intended to serve a specific purpose, a kitchen for example
s structureSimilar to an installation, but having fewer components and less organization
st isolated stoneFree standing stone of significant size not associated with another feature
st-is stone installationAn ordered construction of stones whose purpose cannot be immediately determined or does not fit a named definition
stair stairA rectangular block that facilitatess movement from one level to another
staircase staircaseA series of stairs that facilitates movement between levels with significant vertical separation
tr trench, troughA shallow, narrow, long pit often used to house a foundation or drain
w wallA free-standing structure of narrow width, significant length and height often constructed of stone or brick. Separates two functional areas
well wellA deep pit-like structure, sometimes lined, dug to access a water source from a higher level
wf wall face or plasterThe exterior surface or coating of a wall

bn bin One or more structures used to confine or store a commodity
bu burialA simple structure, usually a pit, containind the remains of a human or animal. (not built up, see gv, hb)
gv graveA built up structure used to house human remains and often containing grave goods (see bu,hb)
he hearth A simle structure, either a pit or a semi-enclosed stone or brick space usually used for cooking
hs houseA collection of rooms organized for family occupation
ki kilnAn installation, usually formed by modofying a deep pit, used for firing ceramic vessels
ov ovenAn enclosed stone or clay structure used for cooking or baking
ta tannurA free-standing clay cylinder usually used for baking bread

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5. Other features

hoholeShallow depression formed by removal of soil
rh rodent holeA long narrow hole dug by a burrowing animal.
mix mixed featuresA combination of features from different categories (e.g. stone wall and accumulations against it). Usually applied to aggregates, not individual features
ucuncertainA feature that could be defined as one of several choices
ukunknownA feature that cannot be defined
vmvolumetric materialAn artificial feature, i.e., one that does not match an ancient depositional reality, e.g., a portion of a baulk that is removed without reference to its stratigraphy
vrvariousA feature that can be defined by several choices. Also, when used as a category and called varia, catalogs features or items that have insufficient data to automatically assign an established category

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(2) Items (movable elements)

      The main criterion for sorting the various types of artifacts is the ware or material of the specific item. This is in some respects analogous to the criterion used for features, in that the definition is based on the consistency of the item and on the identification of traits that are apparent even at a low level of specificity.

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1. Metal

mametal artifact Generic term (also category) for any item made from metal
sg slagResidue from metal smelting often found as tiny green particles
ar arrowheadPointed metal object, often molded, hafted onto a thin wooden shaft and launched by a bow
axax Fist-sized metal object with a sharpened edge used for chopping, hafted onto a wood shaft
bd-mmetal bead Bead made of metal instead of stone
coincoin Small metal disk of precious metal,usually decorated, that serves as a medium of exchange
macemaceCeremonial staff carried by public officials. Head is often decorated. Shaft often wood
je jewelry itemMetal object fashoned to adorn or decorate the human body, eg bracelet
pendant-m metal pendantMetal central element of a necklace or bracelet
pi pinLong, thin metal object used to fasten garments
spoonspoonMetal object similar in form and function to modern object with the sme name
sc sculptureMolded metal object that accurately depicts a specific diety, human, or animal, (contrast and compare with a figurine made in clay)
spdspearhead Pointed molded metal object, larger than an arrowhead, hafted onto a long shaft, and designed for thrusting
str-mmetal strainer Small can with holes fitted on the end of a hollow reed thst filters out solids from sipped liquids
to-mmetal tool Item fashioned from metal that assists in the performance of a repetative task

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2. Stone

ar-sstone arrowhead Pointed, small, chipped stone tool, hafted onto a wood shaft, and designed for launching with a bow
ax-sstone ax head Similar to a metal ax in use, but made of stone
awl-sstone awl Pointed stone tool used to punch holes in softer material
spd-sstone spearhead Pointed chipped stone tool, larger than an arrowhead, hafted onto a long shaft, and designed for thrusting
dbdebitage Very small pieces of unused stone or obsidian removed in the process of fshioning a tool
pol polishing stone
Stone tool used for burnishing unfired ceramics or polishiing metal items
to-sstone tool Item fashioned from worked stone that assists in the performance of a repetative task
dsdoor socket Stone toroid (donut) used as the bottom pivot point of a door
flakeflakePiece of stone or obsidian removed from a core that can be further worked into a stone tool
grgrind stone large stone tool used for grinding . Includes both mortar and pestal
je-s stone jewelry
Jewelry item made from stone in lieu of metal
lalithic artifact Generic term (also category) for any item made from clay
ls lithic specimenUnworked stone selected for its unique properties (e.g., a gypsum pebble)
bd beadSmall spherical, cubical, cylindrical, or pyramoidal stone, often colored or semi-precious, with a small hole drilled through it. Often strung with others as a bracelet or necklace
bl blade
Worked stone tool fashioned for cutting or scraping
mace-sstone maceMace fashoned from stone rather than metal
pendant-s stone pendantStone central element of a necklace or braceletl
sc-s stone sculptureSculpture fashioned from stone rather than metal
se sealCarved stone cylinder or stamp containing either geometric designs, scenes depicting humans and animals, writing, or a combination of the preceding. It is rolled across wet clay to indicate ownership of a container or seal a doorway

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3. Clay

qp pottery lotceramiac vessels and sherds taken from a measured volume of excavated soil, a q-lot.
cvceramic vesselvessels made from fired clay suitable for storing commodities as well household and industrial uses
andironandiron A small, cubical clay oven-structure fired with charcoal and used for both sacrifices and cooking
bd-cclay bead Bead made of clay rather than stone
clclay lump Piece of clay, irregularly formed, that possibly has a seal impression or may be a tablet
cmclay model Small replica of a larger object, often a building, made of baked clay
kwkiln waste Vitrified, amorphous matter from ceramic kiln (cf. kwr, slag)
kwrkiln waster kiln waster: misshapen or molten ceramic piece(s) or fragment(s). The difference between kw and kwr is significant, for a waster (kwr) retains at least partially the shape of the object that had been initially intended, and as such it qualifies as a proper artifact
bbowl Alternatve definition for bowl
bobowl Rounded clay vessel with a wide opening at its top (rim/height: 3/1)
btbottle Rounded clay vessel with a narrow opening at the top (rim/height: 1/5)
caclay artifact Generic term (also category) for any item made from clay
chariotchariot model Clay model of a wheeled cart usually drawn by horses and used for rapid travel.
ccup Alternatve definition for cup
cupcup A small bowl used for drinking beverages
didish Low, flattened circular clay vessel (small platter)
gogoblet Small, rounded clay vessel with a narrow mouth (proportions as for small jar)
hjar shoulder Jar shoulder
jjar Alternative definition for jar
jajar Large, rounded clay vessel with a narrow mouth (rim/height: 1/3)
l plate
Baked clay item similar to, but smaller than a platter
ppot Alternative definition for a pot
popot Large, rounded clay vessel with a wide mouth (rim/height: 1/1)
plplatter Low, flattened circular clay vessel (rim/height: 5/1)
dstand Fired clay platform designed to support a large vessel
bkbrick Speciman of building material saved for expert analysis
sbsling ball Hard, baked clay, egg-shaped object used as ammunition for a slingshot
se-cclay seal Seal (usually a stamp seal made from baked clay
sherdsherd Individual fragment of a broken ceramic vessel
siseal impressiom Refers to the impression left by a seal (the seal itself may be reconstructed as a “trace,” see 13.3)
slsealing Refers to the object used to seal an opening (generally a container or a door), whether it has been sealed with a seal or not
sstrainer Alternative definition for clsy strainer
strclay strainer Bowl-shaped baked clay item with holes designed to separate liquids from solids
tokentoken Object that represents something else. e.g. a spherical piece of baked clay
fgfigurine An artistic rendering in baked clay of an animal or human, It may have served as a toy or had a cerimonial or votive function
k worked disk
Wheel-like baked clay item that is not holed
vother vessel Clay vessel whose shape does not match those currently defined
w bowl carination
Out-turned portion of the rim of a clay vessel
whwheel Holed baked clay disk associated with chariot or wagon models

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4. Organic

qb bone lot
Bones taken from a measured volume of excavated soil, a q-lot
bd-shshell bead Bead made from shell rather than stone
bibitumen Thick, black petroleum residue used, among other things, to repair ceramics (glue), line vessels, and waterproof surfaces
a-boneanimal bone Specimen of a particular bone of interest from an animal
babone artifact Generic category that collects any object of interest made of bone
needleneedle Pointed sliver of bone with a hole for holding thread and used for sewing
seedseed Part of a mature plant that is able to generate a new plant
shellshell artifact Generic category that collects any object of interst, either a shell or item made of shell
wawood artifact Generic category that collects any object of interest made of wood
cscarbon specimen Charcoal or seeds collected for analysis
ashsash sample Sample of ash collected for analysis
awlawl Pointed bone or stone tool used to punch holes in softer material
boardboard (as on back of sealings)
charcoalcharcoal Organic material heated to a high temperature in an environment devoid of oxygen
hbhuman body Bones and other decayed material associated with a human being found in a grave (gv) or burial (bu)
ininlays Decorative additions applied to the surface of wood objects (generally made of shell or mother-of-pearl)
roroot The underground parts of a plant
pegpeg A wood dowel used to secure two objects, e.g. a closed door to its frame
stringstring A length of woven fiber used to secure two objects or used in conjunction with wet clay to seal a vessel
toothtooth Speciman of a tooth from a human or animal

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5. Glass items

gaglass artifact Generic category that collects any object made of glass
je-g glass jewelry
Jewelry item made of glass or frit in lieu of metal
bd-g glass bead
Bead made of glass or frit
pendant-g glass pendantGlass or frit central element of a necklace or braceletl

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6. Other items

oaother artifact An item not otherwise able to be defined under other categories. (Also a category) If used, a text entry description under code "ds" is required
smsample Exemplar of a thing whose individual parts cannot be counted, e.g. sand. (non count, see sp)
spspecimen Exemplar of a thing whose individual parts can be counted, e,g, seeds (count, see sm)
bracbracelet Jewelry item comrised of strung beads or fashioned from metal designed to be worn around the wrist
so soil sampleSmall quantity removed for analysis, usually for botanicals
necknecklace Jewelry item comprised of strung beads and pendants or fashoned from metal designed to be worn around the neck
totool Any item fashoned to assist a person in performing a task, e.g. a pestle. contrast with jewelry (je) designed to be decorative
vsvessel An object made to contain a liquid or granular substance, e.g. a jar
weweapon A tool made for fighting or warfare
sustatue A large, free standing sculpture depicting a diety or human
eepigraphic Refers to anything with writing on it, e.g., a sherd, a seal, a seal impression
ttablet Refers to an object shaped for writing, whether in fact epigraphic or anepigraphic

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(3) Combined alphabetical list for features and items

a accumulation: gradual buildup, bounded by walls or abutting at least one wall
aa accumulation, type a: above floor surface (“living floor”)
ab accumulation, type b: above accumulation
ac accumulation, type c: not above floor, e.g. abandonment
ad accumulation, type d: natural accumulation (i.e., sedimentation)
ar arrowhead
ax ax(head)
ba band (horizontal deposit with sharp lower and merging upper boundaries)
ba bone artifact
bd bead
be bench
bf brickfall (specific collapse)
bk brick
bl blade
bn bin
bo bowl (rim/height: 3/1)
board (as on back of sealings)
bp brick pile
bt bottle (rim/height: 1/5)
bu burial (not built up, see gv, hb)
ca clay artifact
cb carbon
cl clay lump (and possible tablet)
co collapse (not contained within bounded space)
cr corridor
cv ceramic vessel
d doorway
di dish (small platter)
e epigraphic: refers to anything with writing on it
f floor surface in general
f1 fill in primary context (e.g., within a foundation trench)
f2 fill in secondary context (e.g., discard within a pit originally meant for storage)
fa floor, type a (plastered or lined)
fb floor, type b (highly compacted)
flake -
fc floor, type c (medium compacted)
fd floor, type d (compacted naturally)
fg figurine
fi fill in general (contained within bounded space)
go goblet (proportions as for small jar)
gv grave (built up, see bu,hb)
hb human body (see bu, gv)
he hearth
ho hole
hs house
ia item aggregate (e.g., vessels on floor)
in inlays (generally made of shell or mother-of-pearl)
is installation
ja jar (rim/height: 1/3)
je jewelry item
ki kiln
kw kiln waste: vitrified, amorphous matter from ceramic kiln (cf. kwr, slag)
kwr kiln waster: misshapen or molten ceramic piece(s) or fragment(s)
la lens type a (same criteria as for as accumulation a)
lb lens type b (same criteria as for as accumulation b)
lc lens type c (same criteria as for as accumulation c)
ld lens type d (same criteria as for as accumulation d)
lm lamination
ln lens, same as accumulation, but not abutting any walls
ls lithic specimen
ly layer ((horizontal deposit with sharp lower and upper boundaries)
ma metal artifact
or organic refuse or midden
ov oven
pa pavement, type a: coating (heavier than fa: cement, bitumen)
pb pavement, type b: large components (flagstones, bricks or tiles)
pc pavement, type c: small components (pebbles, sherds)
- peg
pf platform
pi pin
pl platter (rim/height: 5/1)
po pot (rim/height: 1/1)
pt pit
pv pavement in general (floor defined structurally by distinct surface elements)
qb bone lot
qp pottery lot
r room
rf roof collapse and roofing material
rh rodent hole
ro root
s structure
sc sculpture
sc sculpture
se seal
sf subfloor
sg slag (from metal smelting)
sh spearhead
shell -
si seal impression
sl sealing
sm sample (non count, see sp)
so soil
sp specimen (count, see sm)
st-is stone installation (isolated stones, threshold, steps,…)
su statue
t tablet
ta tannur (bread oven)
to tool
tr trench, trough
ts topsoil: this is generally a band or layer
vs vessel
vol volumetric feature
w wall
wa wood artifact
we weapon
wf wall wace
wh wheel

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(4) Codes for incidentals

[Codes in red have been created in September 2022 for CONSERVATION -- ZG911 mDP.]
Related to excavation
--i introduction
-ae aerial photography
-dy daily
-eq equipment
-fl file log
-iv inventory
-lb labeling
-lg log
-mk marker
-mt methods and techniques
-ns notes on time sequencing
-ov overall shot
-ph phase
-rd roster definition
-rs record shot
-sf staff
-sg strategy
-sn section
-so site overall
-sp special project
-sr strata description
-st storage
-su summary
-sy surveying
-tr transmittal
-vr varia
-wa work activities
-wk workmen
-zx site general, excavations
Unrelated to excavation
-bf burlap fixing
-cl cleaning
-cy city scenes
-da damages
-eh expedition house
-el expedition life
-fn fauna
-fr flora
-gm general maintenance
-gv general view
-hl health and medical
-id individuals
-lhi left-hand-side intro
-lhm left-hand-side miscellaneous
-lhs left-hand-side stratigraphy
-lht left-hand-side typology
-ls landscape
-nm name, address, reference
-ny next year
-oa official activities
-pc people and customs
-pr public relations (excludes visitors)
-pw public works
-re restoration
-si stone re-installation
-tv travel
-vb village, general
-vs visits and visitors
-we weather
-wr weed removal
     A full alphabetical listing follows:
-aeaerial photography
-bfburlap fixing
-cycity scenes
-ehexpedition house
-elexpedition life
-flfile log
-gmgeneral maintenance
-gvgeneral view
-hlhealth and medical
-lhileft-hand-side introduction
-lhmleft-hand-side miscellaneous
-lhsleft-hand-side stratigraphy
-lhtleft-hand-side typology
-mtmethods and techniques
-nmname, address, references
-nsnotes on time sequencing
-nynext year
-oaofficial activities
-ovoverall shot
-pcpeople and customs
-prpublic relations (excludes visitors)
-pwpublic works
-rdroster definition
-rsrecord shot
-sistone re-installation
-sosite overall
-spspecial project
-srstrata description
-vbvillage buildings
-vgvillage, general
-vsvisits and visitors
-wawork activities
-wrweed removal
-zxsite general, excavations

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7.6 Variants for variable D3 = wm: Ware or material

      One will find here only major categories that are easily recognizable during excavations. Finer definition, e.g., with regard to the nature of a metal to be redefined as a certain type of copper alloy, will be given as a special lexicon, of the type described presently in 21.

clclay (finer definitions of ceramic wares are given in 21.2)
glglass or frit
lilithic (finer definitions will be given in 21; here only obsidian is identified, since it is easily recognizable at first glance)
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7.7 Variants for variable F2=tc: Contact association


      This lexical category is one of the most powerful in the whole grammar, on two grounds (see also 5.9; 31.2).
      In the first place, the categorization given here aims at being exhaustive. In this respect, and unlike other lexica, it is meant as a closed system, to which no other terms can be added. It is conceived, in other words, as a paradigm with a precise structural configuration that excludes variations or expansions. Clearly, this is not a matter of semantics. To say that a jar sits in a pit, or that a pit contains a jar, are equivalent formulations of the same reality, semantic variations applicable to the same paradigmatic slot.
      The second reason for the importance of this particular paradigm is that it serves as the basis for the construction of the depositional synopsis (the equivalent of the so-called “Harris matrix”), which is derived automatically from the data once their contact association has been observed and defined according to the terms of the paradigm (see below, 32). Besides the practical advantage of such a procedure, one must note the all important conceptual correlation that is thereby established between emplacement and deposition. The observation of physical contact is demonstrable and documentable, and on it rests a univocal conclusion as to the depositional processes that have brought about the situation as observed. In other words, the data as observed are physically present in the ground and can be described in relationship to volumes, but the inference that is drawn from it speaks to the depositional process in a way that is predefined and hence predictable. It should be noted that, except in the case of bonding (3b), it is always clear which of the two volumes is the subject of the verb and which is the object. What is crucial in terms of the depositional inference just mentioned is that the subject is always in a temporal relation of posteriority vis-à-vis the object (except for 3b). This also makes recording easier, in that during the recording phase the contact association is always entered only once, namely under the element that serves as subject.

Nature of the verbal categorization

      Three additional points must be stressed. The first is that each definition is meant to define a term that is part of a paradigm, i.e., a term that is in structural contrast with all the other elements of the paradigm. It matters little whether we say that some­thing “leans” or “is placed” against something else. What really matters is the paradigmatic definition that defines this process in contrast with all the others.
      The second is that the exclusivity I claim may well be disproved. I argue for it on the basis of my (inductive) experience with data against which I have tested this paradigm over the years, and I also argue for it on the basis of a (deductive) logic that seeks to interpret a priori the universe of possible relationships. Corrections and additions are certainly possible. But what must be kept in mind is that they must be done systemically, i.e., with a vie towards respecting the integrity of the correlations among all members of the set, and not in an ad hoc fashion that simply adds synonyms or paraphrases.
      The third is that each and every relationship is in the active voice, and it entails a single subject and a single object. Descriptively, it of course makes sense to say that an accumulation is cut by a pit (in the passive voice). It is only a practical choice that privileges the active instead pf the passive voice, because in so doing we achieve a uniformity that allows the person who does the recording to enter the relationship only once, when it affects the subject, leaving it to the programs to generate the converse for the object.


     Here I will define in detail the nature of each term of the paradigm in an order that reflects the temporal sequence inherent in each action, from the point of view of the object. Thus the process described under 1a “truncation” is the first event that can affect the object of the pertinent sentence (e.g., a floor that is truncated by a pit), and 5b describes the last event that can so affect it (e.g., a pottery lot sits in an accumulation overlaying a floor).


      The following chart provides a synopsis of all ten types, with a sketch that represents graphically the situation intended. In these sketches, the subject is highlighted with a dark, and the object with a light color. At the top is the last, and at the bottom the earliest, process that can affect the object.

     Chart 7-7
     Type of contact association

to cut
pit cuts floor

to intrude
pit intrudes fill

to lean against
partial contact at top
jar leans against wall

to rest on
partial contact at bottom
jar rests on floor

to abut
adjacency of edges
floor abuts wall

to bond with
interlocking of edges
wall bonds w/ wall (note that in this case either wall can serve as subject or object)

to cover
total superposition
floor covers wall

to overlay
partial superposition
floor overlays wall

to cap
matching of edges
lid caps jar

to sit in
matching of sides
sherds sit in accumulation

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7.8 Variants for variable K4=sh: Shape – for ceramic vessels

(M. Kelly-Buccellati)

     These codes are applicable for pottery shapes only, i.e., they are applicable when the variants for roster slot B10=df “definition” include either cv or any of the following: bo, bt, di, go, ja, po, pl. Note: the symbol >> means “considerably greater than.”

Overall shape

obbowl(rim > height)
occup(small bowl)
ojjar(rim < height)
oppot(rim = height)
oplplatter(rim >> height)
osstandno solid base
oxothershape should be described as a local note, e.g., ox @vat


rhhole mouth


bfvflat, slightly concave
bfxflat, slightly convex
bhfhigh footed
blflow footed
bspslightly pointed


hitabinterior triangular tab
hlugtriangular lug
hscsmall semi circular
hshstrap handle


x1interior ledge for holding cover
x2interior groove

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7.9 Variants for variable O11: View range

ffar shot
mmedium shot
ttight shot
wwide shot

     For an explanation of the concepts behind the codes see above, 16.19 (O21).

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7.10 Variants for variable O12: View orientation


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