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A Dictionary of Archaeology

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(London, 1990); P.L. Smart and P.D. Frances, eds:

Quaternary dating methods – a user’s guide (Cambridge, 1991).


Dawenkou see TA-WEN-K’OU

‘dawn man’ see PILTDOWN MAN HOAX

Dead Sea Scrolls see QUMRAN

Debeira see DIBEIRA

Debra Damo Site in the northern Ethiopian highlands dating primarily to the post-Axumite period (c.AD 1000–1500), and including a 10thor 11th-century monastic church. The walls and windows of the church, which is stone-built rather than rock-hewn as at LALIBELA, incorporate many of the characteristics of the monolithic Axumite stelae (see AXUM). The town of Debra Damo appears to have been part of an extensive medieval commercial network, and excavated trade items include a hoard of over a hundred Indian coins dating to the 3rd century AD, as well as textiles imported from Coptic and Islamic Egypt between the 6th and 12th centuries.

D.H. Matthews and A. Mordini: ‘The monastery of Debra Damo, Ethiopia’, Archaeologia 97 (1959); D. Buxton: The Abyssinians (London, 1970), 97–102.


decision theory Body of theory used by archaeologists to understand the nature of ancient processes of decision making. Since the 1970s, archaeologists have become increasingly interested in attempting to understand the short-term decisions made by people in the past. Such work often sees long-term cultural evolution as no more than the accumulated consequences of short-term decisions made by individuals throughout prehistory.

In fact, ‘decision theory’ represents a whole range of theories, which share concepts but also exhibit unique elements due to the particular disciplines in which they were developed. For instance a very quantitative approach to decision making has been developed in economics which focuses on maximizing benefits to costs, while in psychology several approaches, such as ‘social judgement theory’, have been explored, laying greater stress on the use of cues from the natural environment in forming judgements about how to act (e.g. Hammond et al. 1980).

Several aspects of these approaches have been adopted in archaeological studies. First is the notion


of the ‘decision tree’. This is a representation of the sequence of sub-decisions one must pass through to reach a final decision as to how to behave. For instance the manufacture of an arrow with a stone point involves decisions about raw materials, knapping methods, arrowhead form, hafting methods and so on. As each sub-decision is made, certain options are opened and others closed to the decision maker. In analysing a prehistoric artefact such as an arrowhead or a pottery vessel, one might attempt to recreate the path taken through a decision tree and contrast this with the paths taken to produce a similar, but significantly different, artefact. Some of the most effective uses of decision trees have been found in computer simulation models. For instance Aldenderfer (1978) used this as a framework for simulating the manufacture, use and discard of stone tools by Australian aborigines. Decision trees have also been used in anthropological studies of farming, concerning choices about which crops to plant (e.g. Barlett 1980) and this approach could be effectively applied to the study of prehistoric agriculture.

The choices made at each node in the decision tree are often the result of a conscious process of weighing up the costs and benefits of following each of the alternative paths. This cost-benefit analysis is a very important element in a wide range of theories concerning decision making, especially those deriving from economics and ecology. Often these approaches rely on the development of models which have explicitly defined goals for the decision maker, such as the maximization of net utility gain,


Further aspects of decision theory that have been applied to archaeology include the distinction between the acquisition of information and the processing of information. The first of these may be from numerous different sources, such as personal experience and the experiences of others. Such information may be passed between individuals in various media, such as talking in formal (teaching) or informal contexts, or by means of material culture. For instance, Palaeolithic CAVE ART has been interpreted as a means of storing and transmitting information (e.g. Pfeiffer 1982: Mithen 1988). Information processing is the means by which all the different bits of information are compared and evaluated so that a final decision can be made. This can be usefully studied with simplified mathematical MODELS of decision rules. For instance, Mithen (1990) used simple algorithms to define the probability of particular types of game being hunted by Mesolithic foragers, taking into account different hunting goals as well as the


processes by which information about such phenomena as past hunting success are processed. Parameters within Mithen’s equations controlled the strength of past experience over current decisions in the form of a ‘memory’ factor.

Meta-decision making, i.e. deciding how a particular decision should be made, is a further important concept in decision theory. There is a large body of theory developed for group decisionmaking. This explores how a consensus is reached and how the views of certain individuals may emerge as more or less prominent within the group.

The study of foraging behaviour has benefited most from the use of decision theory, in the form of foraging theory. Similarly, our understanding of early technology is being developed by greater attention to the costs and benefits of particular manufacturing methods. For instance, Bleed (1986) has drawn a distinction between ‘maintainable’ and ‘reliable’ hunting weapons, each having different sets of costs and benefits, while Torrence (1983, 1989) employed the efficient use of time and energy as the critical variable for explaining the design of hunter-gatherer tool kits in different environments.

M. Aldenderfer: ‘Creating assemblages by computer simulation: the development and uses of ABSIM’, Simulations in archaeology, ed. J. Sabloff (Albuquerque, 1978), 67–117; P. Barlett, ed.: Agricultural decision making (New York, 1980); K. Hammond, G. McClelland and J. Mumpower: Human judgement and decision making: theories, methods and procedures (New York, 1980); J. Pfeiffer: The creative explosion: an inquiry into the origins of art and religion (New York, 1982); R. Torrence: ‘Time-budgeting and hunter-gatherer technology’,

Hunter-gatherer economy in prehistory, ed. G.N. Bailey (Cambridge, 1983), 11–22; P. Bleed: ‘The optimal design of hunting weapons: maintainability or reliability’, AA 51 (1986), 737–47; S. Mithen: ‘Looking and learning: information gathering and Upper Palaeolithic art’, WA 19 (1988), 297–327; R. Torrence, ed.: Time, energy and stone tools (Cambridge, 1989); S. Mithen: Thoughtful foragers: A study of prehistoric decision making (Cambridge, 1990).


decision tree see DECISION THEORY

deductive-nomological explanations see


deductive statistical explanation see


deep sea cores see OXYGEN ISOTOPE


deffufa see KERMA


Deir el-Bahari Egyptian site on the west bank of the Nile opposite Luxor, comprising temples and tombs dating from the early Middle Kingdom to the Ptolemaic Period. The site consists of a deep bay in the cliffs containing the remains of the temples of Nebhepetra Mentuhotep II (c.2035 BC), Hatshepsut (c.1460 BC) and Thutmose III (c.1440 BC), as well as private tombs contemporary with each of these pharaohs. The temple of Hatshepsut is the best-preserved of the three, consisting of three colonnaded terraces incorporating chapels to Hathor, Anubis and Amun. An 11th-dynasty shaft tomb at the southern end of Deir el-Bahari (plundered in 1875 and excavated in 1881) yielded a cache of some 40 royal mummies from the Valley of the Kings, reinterred there by 21st-dynasty priests. Another mummy cache (consisting of more than one hundred and fifty 21st-dynasty priests) was discovered in 1891.

E. Naville: The temple of Deir el-Bahari, 7 vols (London, 1894–1908); H.E. Winlock: Excavations at Deir el-Bahari, 1911–31 (New York, 1942); ––––: The slain soldiers of Nebhepetre Mentuhotep (New York, 1945); J. Lipinska:

Deir el-Bahari II: The temple of Tuthmosis III (Warsaw, 1974); D. Arnold: The temple of Mentuhotep at Deir elBahari (New York, 1979).


Deir el-Ballas Egyptian settlement site on the west bank of the Nile some 45 km north of modern Luxor, which was probably originally a staging post in the reconquest of northern Egypt by Kamose and Ahmose (c.1600–1500 BC). Peter Lacovara (1985) interprets the early New Kingdom phase of Ballas as a prototype of the ‘royal city’, foreshadowing such later settlements as GUROB, MALKATA and EL-


W. Stevenson Smith: The art and architecture of Ancient Egypt (Harmondsworth, 1958, rev. 1981), 278–81; P. Lacovara: Survey at Deir el-Ballas (Malibu, 1985).


Deir el-Bersha Egyptian site on the east bank of the Nile 40 km south of el-Minya, which dates from the Old Kingdom to the Christian period (c.2649 BCAD 641). Deir el-Bersha is known primarily for a row of tomb chapels in the cliffs, most of which were constructed for 12th-dynasty provincial governors (c.1991–1783 BC). Closer to the river are a church and monastery (Deir Anba Bishuy) which were at their peak during the 6th and 7th centuries AD.

P.E. Newberry and F.L. Griffith: El-Bersheh, 2 vols


(London, 1892); E. Brovarski et al.: Bersheh reports I (Boston, 1992).


Deir el-Medina Egyptian site on the west bank of the Nile opposite Luxor, situated in a bay in the cliffs midway between the RAMESSEUM and MEDINET HABU, excavated primarily by Ernesto Schiaparelli (1905–9) and Bernard Bruyère (1917–47). The settlement now known as Deir elMedina was called the Place of Truth in the New Kingdom; it was inhabited by the workmen who built the royal tombs in the

between the early 18th dynasty and the end of the Ramessid period (c.1550–1070 BC). Nearby are the remains of the tombs of many of the workmen as well as a temple dedicated to various gods, which was founded in the reign of Amenhotep III (c.1370 BC) and almost completely rebuilt in the reign of Ptolemy IV (c.210 BC).

B. Bruyère: Rapport sur les fouilles de Deir el Medineh, 17 vols (Cairo, 1924–53); E. Schiaparelli: Relazione sui lavori della missione archaeologica italiana in Egitto II (Turin, 1927); J.J. Janssen: Commodity prices from the Ramessid period (Leiden, 1975); M.L. Bierbrier: The tomb-builders of the pharaohs (London, 1982); L. Meskell: ‘Deir el-Medina in hyperreality: seeking the people of pharaonic Egypt’, JMA 7/2 (1994), 193–216.


Deloraine Iron Age site located in an area of modern farm land in the elevated stretch of the Kenya Rift Valley. The site first came to archaeological attention in the 1960s when rich deposits of cattle bones and a unique type of pottery were observed in the farm tracks, together with obsidian tools and flakes and iron-working waste. The results of four separate sets of excavations between the 1960s and 1980s (by Mark Cohen, Neville Chittick, Stanley Ambrose and John Sutton), together with several radiocarbon tests, confirm a dating late in the 1st millennium AD, and help fill the gap in the local archaeological sequence between the final Late Stone Age (‘PASTORAL NEOLITHIC’) and the later Iron Age Sirikwa period (see SIRIKWA HOLES). Indeed the pottery has certain elements in common with that of the preceding ELMENTEITAN facies of the ‘Neolithic’; and, while Deloraine is indisputably an Iron Age site, the presence of obsidian may argue for its being transitional. As an early Iron Age manifestation in the high grasslands, it is very distinct culturally (especially in its ceramics) from the better known Early Iron Age of the Bantu regions of eastern Africa. The plentiful cattle bones indicate a strong – but not exclusively – pastoral base to the


economy, one less specialized than in the following Sirikwa period. The choice of site was determined by the presence of springs, frequented by wild animals as well as by cattle and their herders, at the foot of Londiani mountain.

S.H. Ambrose: ‘Excavations at Deloraine, Rongai, 1978’, Azania 19 (1984), 79–104; J.E.G. Sutton: ‘Deloraine: further excavations and the Iron Age sequence of the Central Rift’, Azania 28 (1993).


DEM (Digital Elevation Model) see GIS

demic diffusion The spread of an innovation or cultural trait as a result of the cumulative effect of multiple small-scale movements of people. By contrast, ‘colonization’ implies an organized and often large-scale movement of people, and ‘cultural diffusion’ need not imply any physical movement of populations at all. Ammerman and Cavalli-Sforza hypothesized that demic diffusion provided the mechanism behind their WAVE OF ADVANCE model for the spread of farming.


demotic Ancient Egyptian writing system which developed out of the HIERATIC script and eventually replaced the latter by the 26th dynasty (c.600 BC).

Denbigh Flint complex see ARCTIC SMALL


Dendera (anc. Iunet, Tentyris) Site of a wellpreserved temple of the goddess Hathor, situated in Upper Egypt and built and decorated between 125 BC and AD 60. There are only a few remaining traces of the pre-Ptolemaic temple, which was founded at least as early as the 6th dynasty (c.2280 BC). The neighbouring necropolis dates back to the Early Dynastic period (c.3000–2649 BC).

A. Mariette: Denderah, 4 vols (Paris, 1870–3); E. Chassinat and F. Daumas: Le temple de Dendara, 6 vols (Cairo, 1934–52); H.G. Fischer: Dendera in the 3rd millennium BC

(New York, 1968); F. Daumas: Dendera et le temple d’Hathor (Cairo, 1969).


dendrochronology Dating technique based on tree rings. In temperate climates, where there is a contrast between the seasons, trees usually grow by the addition of an annual ring. The growth region is a thin band of cells (the cambium), which lies between the bark and the sapwood. Division of these cells adds new bark to the outer side of the cambium and new sapwood to the inside. The rings


are usually well-defined due to differences in the cells produced at different times of the year. For some species, but not all, the width of each ring depends largely on prevailing climatic conditions, such as temperature and rainfall. Thus, for a living tree, counting backwards from the cambium layer gives the age of a particular ring, and its relative thickness indicates whether the growing season was good or bad in that year and locality. Trees of a single species growing in the same locality should have a similar pattern of ring widths, uniquely defined by their common history. This is the basis of dendrochronological cross-dating: being able to associate a tree-ring sequence of unknown age with one of known age by matching one pattern with another.

Long chronologies (‘master curves’) are established starting with living trees, or timbers where the ‘zero age’ ring is present and the year of felling known. The timescale is then extended by using large felled timbers which have patterns sufficiently overlapping the existing chronology to be certain of a unique match (for example from early buildings and archaeological excavations). Relative ring width patterns for several timbers are averaged to avoid the idiosyncracies of any individual tree, and to verify the validity of the linkages. In the process of establishing a master chronology, it is not uncommon to have a ring width pattern, the time span of which is inherently known, but which has not yet been linked to the sequence: this is a ‘floating chronology’.

For an archaeological sample, accurate dendrochronological dating requires that three criteria be satisfied: there must be a master chronology for the given species and region; there must be sufficient rings present to ensure a unique match is found with the master chronology; and the sapwood rings must be present. Typically about 100 rings are needed. The presence of sapwood is often the most stringent criterion. The heartwood of a living tree is itself no longer alive, and chemical changes have occurred which help to preserve the timber. The sapwood on the other hand is softer and, because it transports the sap, is prone to insect attack and decay; furthermore, woodworking techniques will often remove the sapwood prior to usage of the timber. If all of the sapwood is present, a precise date for the last year of growth is possible, and sometimes even the season of felling. If only some of the sapwood is present, a sapwood correction can be made and a likely age range determined. However, if the sap- wood–heartwood boundary is missing, the date of the last ring provides only a terminus post quem for the felling of the tree which could have been cen-

turies after the formation of that ring. Sapwood corrections are based on typical sapwood ring numbers. For oak in Britain, 95% of mature trees have between 19 and 50 sapwood rings, with the number also increasing the higher up the trunk: an average figure of 30 is therefore used. The value, however, varies geographically.

Measurement of relative ring widths requires a radial section and ideally a full cross-section of the wood, as this will help to identify missing rings (years of little or no growth) and false rings (years where growth is arrested and then restarts) which may not appear the same around the whole circumference (oak is less prone to these effects than conifers: a ring is unlikely to be missing for more than a short section of circumference). For less destructive sampling, coring can be used, but this usually destroys the sapwood and a wedge sample is also required of the sapwood and sapwood–- heartwood boundary. Panels for panel paintings were cut radially to avoid warping: a small amount of planing or sanding of an edge therefore exposes the radial sequence.

Long chronologies have been built up for a number of areas of the world e.g. nearly 7000 years for bristlecone pines in California, some 7500 years on oak in northern Ireland and a combined oak and pine chronology extends 11,000 years in Germany. For the Mediterranean area, linkage of a number of floating chronologies (using oak, cedar of Lebanon, pine and juniper) is near and will provide a sequence stretching back at least 5000 years. Apart from this last, each of the long chronologies has been used to provide the accurate calendar scale for a RADIOCARBON DATING calibration curve.

The study of tree-rings started in climatology, and this aspect of their use has received something of a revival, not least because narrow rings in the Irish oak sequence appear to correlate with climatic deterioration as a result of volcanic eruptions such as that of Santorini (Thera), the island in the Cyclades, where a volcano erupted in c.1500 BC, burying the settlement of Akrotiri.

M.G.L. Baillie: Tree-ring dating and archaeology (London, 1982); D. Eckstein: Dendrochronological dating

(Strasbourg, 1984); M.G.L. Baillie and M.A.R. Munro: ‘Irish tree rings, Santorini and volcanic dust veils’, Nature 332 (1988) 344–6.


depositional remnant magnetism see


Der, Tell ed- see SIPPAR


Dereivka see SREDNI STOG

descriptive statistics see REDUCTION OF


Deverel-Rimbury Bronze Age pottery style of southern England (Wiltshire, Dorset etc.) associated with the development of urnfield cremation burials in Britain in the middle to late 2nd millennium BC. Deverel Rimbury pottery is characterized by a distinctive set of large urns (the main types are ‘bucket’, ‘barrel’ and ‘globular’ urns) found with cremation burials in large flat cemeteries and at settlement sites. The settlements associated with Deverel-Rimbury pottery are sometimes open, but often consist of rectilinear banked enclosures with circular huts inside; they are often linked to extensive systems of CELTIC FIELDS.


Devil’s Lair This site helped to show that the southwest of Australia was populated prior to 30,000 years ago. Situated in the extreme southwest of Western Australia, the lowest artefactual levels date back to 33,000 years ago and intensive occupation ceased around 12,000 BP. The site is especially remarkable for its early bone tools (29,000 BP), and bone beads made from kangaroo long bone dating to 12,000 to 15,000 years ago.

C. Dortch: ‘Devil’s Lair: an example of prolonged cave use in south-western Australia’, WA 10 (1979), 258–79.


Dhar Tichitt Southward-facing 60 m high sandstone plateau and cliff overlooking a sandy plain with interdunal depressions in the presently desertic south central part of Mauritania. The site covers an area of 44 × 15 km and contains 46 ‘Neolithic’ sites, 43 on the plateau, with elaborate drystone walled enclosures, and 3 on the plain, without such features. Investigations by Patrick J. Munson in 1967–8 and by Augustin Holl in 1980–1 have led to contrasting interpretations of the subsistence economy and settlement history of the area. Munson distinguishes eight separate phases of occupation, extending, on the basis of 15 radiocarbon dates which he considers reliable, from 3365

± 114 to 2465 ± 135 BP. With increasing dessication, the focus of settlement moved from the plain to the plateau, and the inhabitants, who were at first predominantly hunters and fishers, became mainly herders and cultivators. Domestic animals include goats and/or sheep and cattle. Munson obtained 593 latex casts of identifiable grain impressions on potsherds from sites in the area, of which 400 were


recognized as cultivated bulrush millet (Pennisetum sp.), the remainder belonging to wild species such as cram-cram (Cenchrus biflorus). Millet became increasingly important from phase 6 onwards, although Munson did not believe that there was an independent in situ development of plant domestication in this area.

By contrast, Holl considers that the sites on the plateau and the plain were contemporary, forming a single complex system, and he lists 24 radiocarbon dates (including some rejected by Munson) to demonstrate this point; they stretch from 3850 ± 250 to 2170 ± 105 BP. According to this interpretation, the agro-pastoralists occupied the plateau, where almost all the grain impressions of millet have been found, during the rainy season and moved to the plain during the dry season, when they were obliged to collect ‘emergency foods’ such as cramcram. A new model has therefore transformed the data by realigning them along a geographical rather than a chronological axis.

P.J. Munson: ‘Archaeological data on the origins of cultivation in the southwestern Sahara and their implications for West Africa’, Origins of African plant domestication, ed. J.R. Harlan, J.M.J. de Wet and A.B.L. Stemler (The Hague and Paris, 1976), 187–209; A. Holl: ‘Subsistence patterns of the Dhar Tichitt Neolithic, Mauritania’, AAR 3 (1985), 151–62; ––––: ‘Habitat et sociétés préhistoriques au Dhar Tichitt (Mauritanie)’, Sahara 2 (1989), 49–60 [comment by P.J. Munson: 106–8].



Diana ware Expertly fired late Neolithic red ware, identified following excavations near the Lipari ‘acropolis’ on the Aeolian Islands, but also common through Sicily and southern Italy from the early 4th millennium BC. Diana ware is quite distinct from earlier wares in the region in both its colour and form; the vessels exhibit angular profiles and cylinder (‘trumpet’) lugs. It seems to be a little later than, or overlapping with,



Dibeira Nubian site 20 km north of the second Nile cataract, which has now been submerged under LAKE NASSER. Dibeira West (on the western bank of the Nile) included the principal site of the ARKINIAN period: DIW 1. This consists of 13 oval concentrations of burnt stones, chipped artefacts (including microlithic flakes, blades and doubleplatform cores) and a few bones of fish and animals: the remains of a seasonal encampment of hunters


and fishers occupied annually during the Nile flood. There were also remains of a substantial settlement dating to the Nubian Christian period (c.AD 550–1500), where the population is estimated at about 200–400, as in the contemporary towns of Meinarti and Arminna. At Dibeira East (on the eastern bank of the Nile) there was a C-GROUP-style cemetery of shaft-graves (lined with flat stone slabs and covered with rough stone ring-shaped superstructures) but the sherds derive from Egyptian pottery of New Kingdom date (c.1550–1070 BC).

P. Shinnie: Preliminary excavation reports in Kush 11–13 (1963–5); R. Schild et al.: ‘The Arkinian and Sharmarkian industries’, The Prehistory of Nubia II, ed. F. Wendorf (Dallas, 1968), 651–767.


diet breadth see FORAGING THEORY

Dietz Multiple-component surface site found on a series of pluvial lake terraces in eastern Oregon (c.9500–5000 BC), western North America. Spatial analysis of the horizontal location and elevation of each artefact has permitted reconstruction of


occupation surfaces across the paleo-landscape. The discrete two-level distribution of point types has been correlated with the two successive shorelines. The superimposition of shoreline deposits in parts of the lake basin shows that the shoreline relating to the Stemmed Point Tradition artefacts, dated by radiocarbon to 7660 ± 100 BP (AA-3932), is younger than the shoreline associated with artefacts of the Fluted Point Tradition, which has been cross-dated to c.9500–9000 BC by typological comparison with Fluted Point sites outside the area.

J.A. Willig et al., eds: Early human occupation in far western North America: the Clovis-Archaic interface (Carson City, 1988); J.A. Willig: Broad spectrum adaptations at the Pleistocene-Holocene boundary in far western North America

(unpublished Ph.D. thesis, Department of Anthropology, University of Oregon, Eugene, 1989).


diffusionism Tendency to explain cultural change and cultural similarities in terms of the adoption of technologies and stylistic traits from neighbouring or trading-partner cultures. Diffusion differs from migration in that it does not imply the physical movement (or replacement of) peoples. Together with migration, cultural diffusion was the favoured mechanism of change for many CULTURAL HISTORIANS writing about prehistoric peoples before the advent of PROCESSUAL ARCHAEOLOGY. This was particularly true from the

later 19th century, when ethnologists such as Friedrich Ratzel and, later, Franz Boas, began to argue that independent invention of significant technological advances was highly unlikely to have happened more than once, implying that diffusion or migration would have to be disproved by archaeologists if they were to convincingly substantiate the independent origin or evolution of an (already known) idea in any given region.

In the most extreme form, ‘hyper-diffusionists’ argued that there was a single point of origin for all cultural innovations. W.J. Perry (1923) and Grafton Elliot Smith (1923, 1933), for instance, promoted the idea that ancient Egypt was the ultimate source of human civilization. For decades, various archaeologists continued to argue that the design of MEGALITHIC monuments spread originally from the Near East via various regions of Europe. Even after it became clear that a Near Eastern origin was unlikely, diffusionist studies built up an elaborate family tree of megalithic tomb styles describing various waves of tomb-style spreading from southern Europe into western and northern regions.

Gordon Childe, and many other archaeologists of his generation, continued to lean on the mechanism of diffusion to explain how complex technologies (notably, the development of farming, but also metallurgy etc) spread from the Near East to western Europe, although in Childe’s accounts there is an increasing emphasis on the economic environment in which diffusion acted. As Marxist thought influenced his belief, he laid greater stress on the internal evolution of social relations as the prime mover of change, rather than the simple introduction of technological advance. However, for many Western archaeologists, diffusion remained the principal explanation for cultural change until the development of radiocarbon dating dealt some diffusionist explanations a death blow. In his revolutionary study of prehistoric Europe, Before civilization, Colin Renfrew (1973) used new and controversial radiocarbon dating to suggest that the MEGALITHIC tradition may have been invented in several different areas at once and could not have followed the diffusionist path mapped out in previous decades. Later, Renfrew’s writings also highlighted the fact that metallurgy seemed to have developed independently in southeastern Europe and could not have diffused from the Near East.

In the same period, proponents of PROCESSUAL ARCHAEOLOGY began to put forward new ways in which change and cultural innovation could arise out of the disposition of social systems, using SYSTEMS THEORY. It became ‘too easy’ to argue

that change was simply introduced from outside – even where the key features of change made it clear that diffusion had indeed operated, the focus of the archaeologist was now to be the reason why change was accepted and the effect that change in one (e.g. the technology) subsystem had on another (e.g. the political). In the case of domesticates and farming, for example – which, in the broadest sense, certainly did diffuse from east to west – the focus of enquiry is now the complex reasons for acceptance (and rejection) of various elements of the farming revolution and their rate of acceptance. The diffusion of knowledge and technologies remains a key concept – but the idea of diffusion as the primary, necessary and sufficient cause of change has sunk forever.

F. Ratzel: Anthropogeographie (Stuttgart, 1882–91); G.A. Reisner: Archaeological survey of Nubia, Bulletin no. 3

(Cairo, 1909); W.J. Perry: The children of the sun (London, 1923); G.E. Smith: The ancient Egyptians and the origin of civilization (London, 1923); ––––: The diffusion of culture

(London, 1933); A.C. Renfrew: Before civilization: The radiocarbon revolution and prehistoric Europe (London, 1973); B.G. Trigger: A history of archaeological thought

(Cambridge, 1989), 150–5.


Dilmun see BAHRAIN

Diospolis Parva see HIW-SEMAINA REGION


discrete variable see VARIABLE

discriminant analysis (canonical variates analy-


concerned with discovering which VARIABLE, or combination of variables, best distinguish (‘discriminate’) between predefined groups of objects. This problem can be visualised as choosing the angle from which to view a group of clouds, so that one sees as much ‘air’ between them, and as little overlap, as possible. Also called canonical variates analysis (CVA), these techniques can be used to clarify the outcome of a CLUSTER ANALYSIS, or to probe a typology handed down by a specialist. The groups should in theory have the same internal variability, but the technique seems to be ROBUST, and good results can be obtained even when this requirement is not met. For a case-study see


J.E. Doran and F.R. Hodson: Mathematics and computers in archaeology (Edinburgh, 1975), 209–13; S. Shennan: Quantifying archaeology (Edinburgh, 1988), 286–8.



distribution-free statistics see NON-


diversity Term that can be used to signify either ‘richness’, i.e. the number of different types of artefact in an assemblage, or the related concept of ‘evenness’, which deals instead with the relative proportions of each different type. The concept of diversity is invariably complicated by the problem of sample-size. The clear statistical relationship between quantity of artefacts and diversity of types is so strong and overriding that it tends to obscure the more subtle reasons for variations in diversity. This problem was encountered in several casestudies published in the early 1980s, such as an analysis of hunter-gatherer ‘aggregation sites’ in prehistoric Iberia (Conkey 1980). Margaret Conkey attempted to overcome the effect of differences in sample size by using ‘indices’ of diversity (similar to those used by plant scientists, see Pielou 1977: 292).

In 1984, Keith Kintigh argued that this kind of ‘information-theoretic’ index of diversity was an inadequate measure, since it attempted to combine both quantity and diversity in a single number, whereas the two aspects of quantification should be treated separately. He suggested that a better method of assessing the significance of different levels of diversity was to use a computer program which creates a SIMULATION of the process of diversification itself, thus producing an ‘expected diversity’ for each sample size, which can then provide a meaningful comparison with the actual diversity.

The basic principles of Kintigh’s method have been criticized, particularly in the work of Schlanger and Orcutt in the Dolores river valley, in southwest Colorado. Schlanger and Orcutt (1986) suggest first that there is a problem of circularity (when the same data that are used to simulate expected diversity for different sample sizes are also then compared with that expected diversity), and second that the use of Kintigh’s simulation program constitutes an assumption that ‘assemblages contain items chosen at random in accordance with some unchanging, culturally determined probability’ and


E.C. Pielou: Mathematical ecology (New York, 1977); M.W. Conkey: ‘The identification of prehistoric huntergatherer aggregation sites: the case of Altamira’, CA 21 (1980), 609–30; K.W. Kintigh: ‘Measuring archaeological diversity by comparison with simulated assemblages’, AA 49 (1984), 44–54; S.H. Schlanger and J.D. Orcutt: ‘Site surface characteristics and functional inferences’, AA 51 (1986), 296–312.



Divuyu Settlement site of the 7th and 8th centuries AD in the Tsodilo Hills of northern Botswana. Faunal remains indicate an emphasis on fishing and small stock herding rather than cattle (in a ratio of 160:8). The analysis of the iron and copper objects at the site offers a useful archaeometallurgical study and lays the groundwork for future comparisons. Denbow associates the ceramics with the ‘Western Stream’ (i.e. Kalundu Tradition) in South Africa and Mandingo Keyes near the Congo River mouth. A MULTI-

DIMENSIONAL ANALYSIS, however, shows that

Divuyu belongs to a new ‘tradition’ that includes Naviundu near Lumbabashi as well as Mandigo Keyes. The locations and styles of the ceramics indicate that Western Bantu-speaking peoples produced this second tradition. The population of Divuyu thus shared a linguistic and cultural background with a broad arc of people around the southern fringes of the equatorial forest.

J. Denbow: ‘Congo to Kalahari: data and hypotheses about the political economy of the western stream of the early Iron Age’, AAR 8 (1990), 139–76.


Diyala region Large basin of cultivable land covering an area of about 1000 sq. km around the confluence of the rivers Tigris and Diyala in northern Iraq, to the northeast of modern Baghdad. Five major SUMERIAN city-states – Tell Asmar (Eshnunna), KHAFAJEH, Tell Agrab, Ischali and TELL HARMAL – are located in the Diyala plains. All five towns were established at least as early as the Protoliterate phase and flourished during the Early Dynastic period (c.2900–2350 BC). Much of the perceived character of the Early Dynastic period is based on data from these towns, although ironically they were probably relatively peripheral sites (Crawford 1991: 65). The deep and detailed stratigraphy excavated at these sites by Henri Frankfort, Thorkild Jacobsen and Seton Lloyd has enabled artefacts from Sumerian sites elsewhere in southern Mesopotamia to be assigned to the three main phases of the Early Dynastic period. By the IsinLarsa period (c.2025–1763 BC) the Diyala region had become a definite political grouping, which was known collectively as the kingdom of Eshnunna; its main cult centres were at Tell Asmar and Ischali.

In the first phase of the Early Dynastic period the nucleus of Tell Asmar appears to have consisted of an amorphous one-roomed shrine surrounded by houses. During the second phase this shrine was transformed into the Square Temple (a complex consisting of three sanctuaries and resembling an Early Dynastic house in plan), in which a cache of

12 Sumerian sculptures – representing worshippers rather than the god himself – were discovered. Although the deity traditionally associated with Eshnunna in later periods was Tishpak, an inscription from the nearby ‘palace’-building suggests that the god worshipped in the Square Temple may have been Abu, god of vegetation. A seal found in the immediate vicinity of the temple provides evidence

of links with the INDUS CIVILIZATION.

From the point of view of the history of archaeology in Mesopotamia, the overwhelming significance of the Diyala basin lies in Robert Adams’ choice of the region for the first of his surveys in the early 1960s. Adams (1965) effectively revolutionized the discipline by transferring the focus from individual excavated sites to overall settlement patterns and contexts, borrowing such ideas as settlement-ranking from geography, and using newly-available statistical and computerized methods to avoid the flaws and biases that were inherent in earlier distribution maps.

Case-study: central place theory. Intensive field survey in the Diyala region revealed evidence for the development of the prehistoric settlement pattern. The Early Dynastic I (early 3rd millennium BC) pattern in particular has been analysed to test the utility of CENTRAL PLACE THEORY. The settlements vary considerably in size, and can be grouped into a range of sizes from large towns down to hamlets. There is little direct evidence for site function, and surface area is therefore taken as a measure of the range of services offered by a site; this assumption is critical to the analysis, and needs further investigation.

The analysis of the distribution of the settlements in the various size classes in the Diyala region shows some degree of correspondence with expectations derived from the theory, in particular a measure of regularity of spacing between sites of the same size and some nesting of smaller sites around larger ones. The hexagonal latticing predicted by the classic theory is not found, however, and the pattern is more rectangular, possibly due to the importance of water and the effect of the parallel orientation of the local water-courses. Sites in the smaller size groups are located on lines between larger sites, suggesting a locational principle based on the importance of transport, although this is not reflected in the contemporary documentary evidence. The analysis would suggest that a centrally organized settlement system was emerging in which exchange and transport were significant determining factors.

H. Frankfort and T. Jacobsen: The Gimilsin temple and the palace of the rulers of Tell Asmar (Chicago, 1940); P.

Delougaz and S. Lloyd: Presargonic temples in the Diyala region (Chicago, 1942); P. Delougaz: Pottery from the Diyala region (Chicago, 1952); R.M. Adams: Land behind Baghdad: a history of settlement on the Diyala Plains

(Chicago and London, 1965); P. Delougaz et al. Private houses and graves in the Diyala region (Chicago, 1967); G.A. Johnson: ‘A test of central place theory in archaeology’,

Man, settlement and urbanism, ed. P.J. Ucko, R. Tringham and G.W. Dimbleby (London, 1972), 769–85; S. Lloyd:

The archaeology of Mesopotamia (London, 1978), 93–134; H. Crawford: Sumer and the Sumerians (Cambridge, 1991), 29–47, 65–9.



DNA analysis Extraction and characterization of ancient DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) in order to study genetic change. This area of archaeology has experienced considerable growth in the 1990s, with the application of newly developed techniques in microbiology to ancient human and faunal remains. The majority of genetic information is stored in the nuclei of human body cells, but some DNA is also contained in the cells known as mitochondria, which are only inherited from mothers – unlike nuclear DNA, this so-called mitichondrial DNA (mtDNA) preserves a better record of the genetic make-up of human ancestors.

The Swedish biologist Svante Pääbo has made many pioneering contributions to DNA analysis, especially in his early work on extraction and cloning of DNA from Egyptian mummies and Archaic-period American Indians. The development of techniques such as polymerase chain reaction, enabling the extraction of very small quantities of DNA from bones and teeth, as opposed to soft tissues, has opened the way to studying the genetic relationships between the fossil remains of early hominids. Rebecca Cann and others (see Cann et al. 1987; Stoneking and Cann 1989) put forward the controversial hypothesis, on the basis of mtDNA extracted from 147 modern women, that all humans may be descended from a single woman who lived in Africa in c.200,000 BP. Milford Wolpoff (Wolpoff et al. 1984, 1989) offers the alternative view that modern humans may have emerged roughly simultaneously in several different regions of the world. More recently, Pääbo may have proved that NEANDERTHALS were not ancestral to modern Homo sapiens by establishing clear genetic differences between the two.

M. Wolpoff et al.: ‘Modern Homo sapiens origins: a general theory of hominid evolution involving the fossil evidence from East Asia’, The origins of modern humans: a world survey of the fossil evidence, ed. F.H. Smith and F.


Spencer (New York, 1984), 411–83; R.L. Cann et al.: ‘Mitochondrial DNA and human evolution’, Nature 325 (1987), 31–6; M. Stoneking and R.L. Cann: ‘African origin of human mitochondrial DNA’, The human revolution, ed. P. Mellars and C. Stringer (Edinburgh, 1989), 17–30; S. Pääbo: ‘Ancient DNA: extraction, characterisation, molecular cloning, and enzymatic amplification’,

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA

86 (1989), 1939–43; M.H. Wolpoff: ‘Multi-regional evolution: the fossil alternative to Eden’, The human revolution, ed. P. Mellars and C. Stringer (Edinburgh, 1989), 62–108; C. Cataneo et al.: ‘Identification of ancient blood and tissue – ELISA and DNA analysis’, Antiquity 65 (1991), 878–81; G. Eglinton and G.B. Curry, eds:

Molecules through time: fossil molecules and biological systematics (London, 1991); M. Hoss et al.: ‘DNA damage and DNA sequence retrieval from ancient tissues’, Nucleic Acids Research 24/7 (1996), 1304–7; A.C. Stone et al.: ‘Sex determination of ancient human skeletons using DNA’,

American Journal of Physical Anthropology 99/2 (1996), 231–8.


Dniepr-Donetsian Neolithic cultural tradition identified from dwelling sites and cemeteries found mainly in the river basins of the Dniepr and Severski Donets (in Ukraine and Belarus), and dating from perhaps 5000 to 3000 BC. The culture was identified in 1927–33 and was intensively studied in the 1950s and 1960s by D. Ya. Telegin (1961, 1968). The sites are usually located on the river flood-plains. In rare cases, the remains of small oval-shaped semi-subterranean dwellings can be identified. The economy was based predominantly on hunting (aurochs, red deer, wild board, elk), fishing and food-collecting. Rarely, and only at the later sites, the bones of domesticated animals are found (cattle, pig, sheep/goat). An impression of barley (Hordeum sativum) was identified on a potsherd at the site of Vita Litovskaya near Kiev.

The stone inventory includes geometric microliths of Mesolithic type, bifacially retouched arrowheads and spearheads, and large polished axes.

The earliest stage of the cultural tradition, which is often viewed as an independent cultural unit, is represented by the Strumel-Gastyatin group of sites near Kiev. The sites yielded fragments of large conical vessels decorated with rows of comb impressions. The following types of ceramics are typical of the Dniepr-Donetsian proper: (1) egg-shaped wide-mouthed pots with pointed base and a straight or slightly flaring rim; (2) wide-mouthed pots with a pointed base and a straight rim; (3) spherical bowls with a pointed bottom, a short cylindrical neck and a straight or everted rim; (4) hemispherical bowls


with a flat bottom and a straight rim. The ornament consists of rows of comb impressions, incised lines, geometric patterns (triangles, rhombi, rectangles) formed using closely-set strokes. The patterns are generally similar to those of the BUG-DNIESTR ceramics, while the practice of using strokes to make geometric patterns is similar to the strokeornamented ware of the Funnel Beaker tradition in Central Europe.

The Dniepr-Donetsian tradition produced several large cemeteries, which feature at least two types of burial rite. Burials belonging to an earlier stage were made in deep oval ditches. Later burials were made in rectangular graves filled in with earth mixed with red ochre. The richer graves of the latter type contained prestige ornaments, in copper and gold, and stone mace-heads. The cemeteries of Yasinovatski, Osipovski and Nikol’ski have been radiocarbon dated, and in calendar years date to between 5200–4500 BC.

D.Ya. Telegin: ‘K voprosu o dnepro-donetskoi neoliticˇeskoi kul’ture’ [On the problem of the DnieprDonetsian neolithic culture], Sovetskaja arheologija 4 (1961), 26–40; ––––: Dnipro-Donec’ka kul’tura [The Dniepr-Donetsian culture] (Kiev, 1968); P.M. Dolukhanov: Ecology and economy in Neolithic Eastern Europe (London, 1979).


Dniepr-Dvinian Iron-Age culture identified in the catchment areas of the upper western Dvina and Dniepr, in northwest Russia, northeast Belarus and northern Ukraine during the 1st millennium BC. The hillfort settlements are usually located on morainic hills, close to lakes and river valleys. In the early stages (7th–2nd centuries BC) there were no artificial fortifications, but turf walls and ditches appeared during the 2nd–1st centuries BC. The size of the hillforts varies from 400 to 3,000 sq. m. (usually 800–1,500 sq. m). Two types of houses are distinguishable: small (3.0 to 3.2 m) and long (3.0 to 10–14 m). Both had hearths in the middle of the living space, and wooden posts supporting the roof and walls. The material remains included numerous ceramics (flat-bottomed red-grey pots) and iron implements, including sickles, daggers, axes, spearand arrowheads and ornaments (brooches, rings and bracelets). Bronze implements were manufactured from the ingots imported from the area west of the Urals; at a site near Nakvasino on the upper Dniepr there was a remarkable find of a mould for a Scandinavian type of celt. The bone tools are similar to those of central Russia. Several specialized smelting and forging sites have been found (e.g. Chernaya Gora near the town of Sebezh

on the Russian-Latvian border). The rate of domesticates in the faunal remains varies between 40–80%: pigs make up about a third of the assemblage; cattle around 24%; sheep/goat around 20–23%; horse around 15% (Sedov 1970). The crops included bread and spelt wheats; naked and hulled barley (Krasnov 1971).

V.F. Isaenko et al.: Ocˇerki po arheologii Belorussii [Essays on the archaeology of Belarus] (Minsk, 1970); V.V. Sedov:

Salvjane Verhnego Podeprov’ja i Podvin’ja [The Slavs of the Upper Dniepr and Dvina area] (Moscow, 1970); Yu.A. Krasnov: Rannee zemledelie i zˇivotnovodstvo v lesnoi polose Vostocˇnoi Evropy [Early stock-breeding and agriculture in the forest belt of Eastern Europe] (Moscow, 1971).


Doc Chua Located on the edge of the Be River to the east of the Mekong Delta, Vietnam, this site yielded 50 bivalve sandstone or clay moulds when excavated in 1976–7. The moulds were used for casting bronze bells, tanged arrowheads, socketed spearheads, harpoons and chisels. Several of the moulds had been rejected due to imperfections. The typology of the bronzes is closely matched in northeast Thailand at NON NOK THA, BAN CHIANG and BAN NA DI, and the calibrated radiocarbon dates of 1420 and 608 BC are well within the expected range. The distance of this site from the nearest likely copper and tin sources (200 km to the north and west) reveals the distance over which ingots were exchanged.

Le Xuan Diem: ‘Ancient moulds for casting bronze artefacts from the Dong Nai basin’, Khao Co Hoc [Archaeology] 24 (1977), 44–8 [in Vietnamese].


Doian Term applied to Late Stone Age assemblages in south-western Ethiopia and adjacent parts of Somalia, following Desmond Clark’s work in the 1940s. These assemblages are distinguished from the broad category of WILTON industries by being less markedly microlithic and containing more delicately flaked pieces, including leaf-shaped and hollow-based points. Some late facies are said to occur with pottery.

J.D. Clark: The prehistoric cultures of the Horn of Africa

(Cambridge, 1954), esp. 226 ff.


Doigahama An Early to Middle Yayoi community cemetery in Yamaguchi prefecture, Japan (c.300–100 BC). Analysis of 300+ bodies supports the model of immigration at the beginning of the Yayoi period (see JAPAN 3). There was considerable variation in burial form, including multiple, partly