Glossary of Terms & Definitions | M
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|Makapansgat||A dark red, water-worn ironstone cobble found in the South African cave of Makapansgat. Australopithecines [fossil hominids] of about 3 million years ago are thought to have brought the cobble from at least twenty miles away, presumably because of the extraordinary resemblance to a human face.
Ice Age Art
|Magdalenian||The last Upper Palaeolithic culture in Europe from about 17,000 to 10,500 years ago, a bone and stone tool culture consisting of blades and burins. Cave paintings such as those in the Niaux Cave, French Pyrenees.|
|Meadowcroft Rockshelter||An archaeological site in Pennsylvania, United States, excavated by James M. Adovasio in the 1970's. Radiocarbon dates from the site indicated occupancy as early as 16,000 years ago and possibly as long as 19,000 years ago. The dates are still controversial, although some archaeologists familiar with evidence from the site agree that Meadowcroft was used by Native Americans in the pre-Clovis era, and as such, provides evidence for very early human habitation of the Americas. If the 19,000 years ago dating is correct, Meadowcroft Rockshelter is the oldest known Native American cultural site.
|megalith||A large stone which has been used to construct a structure or monument either alone or with other stones. 'Megalithic' means made of such stones, but without the use of mortar or cement. The word megalith comes from the Ancient Greek megas meaning large, and lithos meaning stone.|
|Mesolithic||the period of the Stone Age following the Palaeolithic.|
|microlith||Small flint tool generally set in some form of wood or bone haft, such as in a sickle, noted from the Upper Palaeolithic culture. Also used as arrowheads, drills, and scrapers for working skin, and as knives and engraving tools.|
|Moai||Moai or mo'ai are monolithic human figures carved from rock on the Polynesian island of Easter Island, or Rapa Nui, Chile, between the years 1250 and 1500. Nearly half are still at Rano Paraku, the main moai quarry, but hundreds were transported from there and set on stone platforms called ahu around the island's perimeter. Almost all moai have overly large heads three-fifths the size of their bodies. The moai are chiefly the living faces (aringa ora) of deified ancestors (aringa ora ata tepuna). The statues gazed inland across their clan lands. The statues' production and transportation is considered a remarkable intellectual, creative, and physical feat. The tallest moai erected, called Paro, was almost 10 metres (33 ft) high and weighed 75 tonnes; the heaviest erected was a shorter but squatter moai at Ahu Tongariki, weighing 86 tons; and one unfinished sculpture, if completed, would have been approximately 21 metres (69 ft) tall with a weight of about 270 tons.|
|Monte Verde||Archaeological site in south-central Chile, which has been dated to 14,500 years BP. This dating obtained by Tom Dillehay adds to the evidence showing that settlement in the Americas pre-dates the Clovis culture by roughly 1000 years. This contradicts the previously accepted "Clovis First" Model which holds that settlement of the Americas began after 13,500 years BP.|
|motif||Recurrent theme or feature in a work of art.|
|mtDNA||Mitochondrial DNA. A small circular DNA molecule found in the mitochondria of a cell. Mitochondrial DNA is inherited only from the mother.
Journey of Mankind
|Multiregional Theory||The now-discredited hypothesis is a model to account for the pattern of human evolution, that from the beginning of the Pleistocene 2.5 million years BP to the present day has been within a single, continuous human species, evolving worldwide to modern Homo sapiens.|