Abraded - term used to described an artifically smoothed surface on which rock art was placed.
Abrader(archeological) - a rough-surfaced stone tool used for smoothing other artifacts or surfaces.
Abstract image - an image that cannot be readily identified even though it possess a clear and definite form.
Accelerated mass spectroscopy - a radiocarbon dating technology in which a nuclear accelerator is used to measure the decay of radioactive carbon in samples of organic material that are too small for measurement using conventional techniques.
Adaptation - the use of physiological and behavioral characteristics to solve survival problems and reproduce in a given environment.
Anthropology - the social science that examines human culture and experience, past and present. The four primary sub-fields of anthropology are archeology, cultural anthropology, linguistic anthropology, and physical anthropology.
Anthropomorphic image - an image resembling a human figure or a recognizable human part, such as a hand or foot.
Archaic Era - a prehistoric era dating between 8,000 - 500 B.C. during which Native Americans lived in small communities supported mainly by hunting and gathering of natural resources; the first garden crops were also domesticated during this era.
Archeology - the sub-field of anthropology that examines past human culture through the excavation and analysis of material remains.
Artifact - an object made by a human, such as a tool, dwelling, or art object.
Aspect - the horizontal angle (i.e., compass direction) of a rock surface or rock art image.
Belief System - a coherent set of ideas, beliefs, principles, and values that reflect a community's "way of knowing."
Binder - a liquid or semi-liquid substance, such as egg white or oil, that can be mixed with a pigment to create paint.
Biofilm - a thin layer of material that develops on rock surfaces as a byproduct of microbial activity.
Bluff face - a vertical bedrock exposure, providing a surface on which rock art can be placed.
Brushed - a technique used to produce pictographs that employs a brush to apply the paint, producing an image with tell-tale brush marks.
Cave room - a large opening within a cave, providing wall and/or ceiling space on which rock art can be placed.
Combination rock art - rock art consisting of a pecked or engraved design that has also been painted.
Cultural Anthropology - the sub-field of anthropology that examines present human culture through direct participant-observation.
Cultural landscape - the landscape inhabited by a human group, including any modifications and constructions and the special meanings assigned to specific places.
Culture - the beliefs, knowledge, and behaviors that characterize the life of a particular community.
Ethnic group - a community that identifies its members according to specific criteria (tracing ancestry to a specific country or region, for example) and which also distinguishes itself from other communities by means of specific beliefs or behaviors.
Exposed boulder - a large rock, detached from its bedrock source, providing a surface on which rock art can be placed.
Feature(archeological) - a disturbance left in the ground that represents past human activity; for example, a campfire will produce a feature consisting of burned sediments surrounded by charcoal, ash, and scorched rocks.
Finger painting/fingerstroked - a technique for producing pictographs in which the finger is used to apply paints to rock surfaces.
Full-body image - fan image in which the form is completely filled in.
Geometric image - an image that depicts a readily identifiable geometric shape, such as a square, rectangle, circle, oval, spiral, etc.
Graffiti(rock art) - names, dates, slogans, and other "messages" that people write or paint on publicly accessible surfaces.
Ideology - a system of ideas, principles, and values that characterize the belief system of a community.
Incising - a technique for producing petroglyphs that employs a sharp instrument (including sharp-pointed rocks) to cut an image into a softer rock surface.
Inclination - the vertical angle of a rock surface or rock art image relative to the ground.
Line drawing(same as Stick figure) - rock art consisting of a series of connected lines to produce a "stick figure" image.
Midden - a layer of sediment that contains added organic material, along with artifacts and other features, resulting from past human occupation.
Mississippian Era - a prehistoric era dating between A.D. 900 and the arrival of Europeans, characterized by large, complexly organized Native American societies with agricultural economies and long-distance trade connections.
Motif - a specific design, such as a handprint or a sunburst.
Naturalistic image - an image that accurately depicts an object's form.
Outcrop surface - an exposed bedrock surface in any orientation (horizontal, vertical, etc.) providing a surface on which rock art can be placed.
Outline image - an image that traces the outline of an object or figure, with no attempt to fill in the form.
Painted petroglyph(same as Combination rock art) - rock art consisting of a pecked or engraved design that has also been painted.
Paleo-Indian Era - a prehistoric era dating between 11,000 - 8,000 B.C. that represents the arrival and earliest colonization American regions by the Asiatic ancestors of Native Americans.
Panel - a grouping of rock art elements that occupy a unique surface or which are separated by distance from other elements at the same site.
Pecking - a technique for producing petroglyphs in which a hard implement (such as a rock) is used as a hammer to peck an image into a softer rock surface.
Petroglyph - images that art pecked, carved, or incised into a rock surface.
Pictograph - images that are painted onto a rock surface.
Pigment - the colored substance (usually a mineral, such as hematite) that can be mixed with a binder to create paint.
Pleistocene Epoch - the geological epoch within the Quaternary period, dating from approximately 1,000,000 - 10,000 years ago, during which much of the northern hemisphere was covered by glaciers. Paleo-Indians entered the Americas from Asia at the end of this era.
Puberty rite - a ritual observation of an individual's transition from childhood to adulthood.
Radiocarbon dating - a technology used to determine the age of organic substances (such bone, wood, or organic elements in paints used to create rock art) that measures the decay of radioactive carbon (C-13).
Rock art - images carved, drawn, or painted onto immovable rock surfaces.
Rock varnish - microscopically thin layers composed of materials carried in wind-blown dust that build up on rock surfaces in dry areas.
Scanning electron microscopy - a microscopic technology that produces images at resolutions measured in microns.
Shaman - a religious specialist in many small-scale societies who performs rituals designed to communicate with the spirit world; in such societies community welfare depends on this communication.
Shelter - a naturally eroded cavity in an exposed bluff face that contains a floor area sheltered by overhanging bedrock. Rock art often occurs on the wall and ceiling areas of such shelters.
Stenciling - use of a stencil to produce a pictograph image. A common prehistoric stenciling technique involved blowing paint around a hand placed against an exposed rock surface to produce a "negative" stenciled image of the hand.
Stick-figure image(same as Line drawing) - rock art consisting of a series of connected lines to produce a "stick figure" image.
Stratigraphy(archeological) - the study of sedimentary layers in the ground, where individual layers represent a specific episode of time and the properties of those layers reflect the conditions under which they were formed.
Style(archeological) - design characteristics of an artifact or decorative technique, based on the use of specific variations in shape, texture, color, quality of craftsmanship, etc. Distinctive styles often correspond to a specific time period and/or geographical region.
Stylized image - an image that uses substitute (often simplified or schematic) designs to represent the natural form or features of an object or figure.
Subculture - a group within a society that sets itself apart by means of unique beliefs or behaviors.
Symbol - anything that can represent an idea or another object; for example, the color red is often used to signify danger.
Vision quest - a ritual performed in many Native American societies in which an individual travels to an isolated area for the purpose of entering a trance, during which a life path or destiny is revealed.
Weathering - the natural erosion of rock surfaces, usually through wind or water action.
Woodland Era - a prehistoric era dating between 500 B.C. and 900 A.D. during which Native Americans lived in small, agricultural communities with trade connections to other communities both nearby and distant.
Worldview - the general understanding a community possesses about the world in which it exists.
X-ray diffraction - a technology that uses x-rays to identify mineral substances.
Zoomorphic image - an image that represents an animal figure, a recognizable animal part, or an identifiable animal track.