The Bradshaw Foundation : Glossary of Terms & Definitions

Glossary of Terms & Definitions | C


Cactus Hill An archaeological site in southeastern Virginia, United States, yielding multiple levels of early occupation. Artifacts include unfluted bifacial stone tools with dates ranging from approximately 15,000 to 17,000 years ago. Further charcoal deposits retrieved at the site date to as early as 19,700 years ago, although these deposits may have been made by forest fires.
carbon dating Also known as Carbon 14 method and radio-metric dating. A scientific technique for determining when organic remains such as charcoal, bone, shell, and plant material died. Organic matter contains radioactive carbon-14 isotopes, which decay over time at a known rate. Carbon dating measures the remaining volume of carbon-14 isotopes in matter, providing an approximate age since death. Although often pigments used in rock painting contained an organic binder such as blood, there is usually too little pigment remaining on the rock to make direct dating possible.
cave art see rock art; parietal art.
cave paintings Stone Age painting. A painting made on the wall of a cave by Palaeolithic people. See rock art; parietal art.
Chatelperronian The earliest culture of the Upper Palaeolithic in central and south western France and northern Spain, deriving its name from the site of La Grotte des Fees in Chatelperron, France. This period in Europe, roughly between 35,000 and 29,000 years ago, was occupied by Neanderthals and modern humans together. Toothed stone tools and flint knives with a single cutting edge and a blunt, curved back were characteristic. Some evidence of jewellery.
Chauvet A cave in the Ardeche department of southern France that contains the earliest known cave paintings, as well as other evidence of Upper Palaeolithic life. It was discovered in 1994, and subsequently scientifically documented by the team of Dr. Jean Clottes. It is considered one of the most significant prehistoric sites, with some of the oldest art created 32,000 years ago.
american rock art archive
Chauvet Cave
chronology The order in which events are placed, irrespective of a time scale. Thus, rock art periods are listed in order of occurrence, although precise dates are unknown and considerable overlap occurred.
claviform Claviform a geometric sign, usually red, comprising a vertical line with a small loop on one side of its upper part. Generally attributed to the Magdalenian [17,000 to 10,500 years ago]
Clovis culture A prehistoric Paleo-Indian culture that first appears 11,500 RCYBP [radiocarbon years before present], at the end of the last glacial period, characterized by the manufacture of Clovis points and distinctive bone and ivory tools. A Clovis projectile point was created by using bifacial percussion flaking [each face is flaked on both edges alternatively with a percussor]. Artifacts of the Clovis people are found throughout most of the United States and as far south as Panama.
Clovis First The predominant hypothesis among archaeologists in the latter half of the 20th century that the people associated with the Clovis culture were the first inhabitants of the Americas. The primary support for this was that no solid evidence of pre-Clovis human inhabitation had been found.
Cosquer The Cosquer cave is located near Cap Morgiou, Marseille, France. The entrance is now under sea-level. The Upper Palaeolithic paintings and carvings have been dated to 27,000 BP [Gravettian].
american rock art archive
Cosquer Cave
Cro-Magnon People A term to describe the oldest modern people in Europe, whose ancestors evolved in Africa. Some of them migrated to Europe, between about 100,000 and 50,000 years ago, and a few reached Western Europe by 40,000 B.P. The name derives from the cave of Cro-Magnon in southwest France, where the first specimen was found.
cupule Cupule a hemispherical depression or pit pecked or ground into the rock surface; also called cup mark. Considered by some to be early forms of art, by others as purely functional. Possibly both.
curvilinear Consisting of curved lines.
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