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Hanging Gardens of Babylon: Huge step pyramids covered with lush vegetation, built about 600 B.C. by King Nebuchadnezzar for his wife in Mesopotamia, which is now modern Iraq. One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Hanging Gardens no longer exist.

Hatshepsut: Queen of New Kingdom Egypt from 1479 to 1458 B.C., first alongside her half-brother, Thutmosis II (who became her husband), and then alongside her nephew, Thutmosis III. A great builder and leader, she is often thought of as Egypt's greatest woman ruler.

Heinrich Schliemann: A German businessman-turned-archaeologist who, in the early 1870's, claimed to have found evidence that the ancient city of Troy, known about from the poems of Homer, had really existed at a site called Hissarlik, in what is now Turkey.

Heraea Games: The female version of the Greek Olympic Games. The games honored the goddess Hera, wife of Zeus, and featured foot races for three different age groups along a 525-foot track. The women ran in a tiny tunic (a chiton), which was cut to expose one breast. Like men in the Olympic Games, winners of the Heraea Games received trophies.

Herculaneum: Slightly less famous than Pompeii but much better preserved, Herculaneum was also buried by the A.D. 79 eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. The city lies two miles northwest of Pompeii and was home to about 5,000 people. The city has been difficult for excavators to uncover, because it lies under a substance harder than concrete and because much of the modern Italian city of Ercolano was built right on top of it.

Hercules: The legendary hero of Greek and Roman mythology forced to perform Twelve Labors in order to make the Gods happy and pay for the crime of killing his wife and children. Hercules is one of the most commonly shown figures in ancient art.

Hieroglyphs: The earliest Egyptian script, introduced about 3000 B.C. and used well into the Common Era. It was used for important inscriptions, although it was also often painted or written on papyrus rather that carved.

History: Chronology of people and events since humans have kept written records.

Holocene: Period of geologic time from the end of the Pleistocene Ice Age (about 8300 B.C.) until the present day.

Holy Grail: The cup or platter that, according to medieval legend, Christ used at the Last Supper and caught his blood as he hung from the cross. It was said to have been brought to Britain, and later became the object of knightly quests--only those godly enough, noble enough, and those with a true heart were said to be worthy of finding the Grail.

Hominids: Humans. Part of the family of Hominidae, which includes both extinct and modern forms of humans.

Homo Sapiens: Modern humans. First appeared in the fossil record during the later part of the Pleistocene, around 35,000 B.C.

Homo Erectus (Pithecanthropus): Meaning "upright man." This Early Stone Age hunter colonized new habitats throughout Africa, Europe, and southern Asia. Bigger and brainier than Homo Habilis or Australopithicus, Homo Erectus had the thickest skull of any member of the human species. Its strong muscles joining its neck to the rear skull bump stopped its heavy head from sagging forward. Average height was between 5 and 6 ft., and weight, 88 to 160 lbs.

Homo Habilis: Meaning "handy man." This was the first known species of our genus, Homo. Homo Habilis had a larger brain, but a smaller face and jaw and a more rounded head, than Australopithicus. Homo Habilis was about 5 feet tall, weighed about 110 pounds, and had a brow ridge, flat nose, and projecting jaw. This species lived about 1.52 million years ago, perhaps longer. Its hand and foot bones suggest that it was bipedal (walked upright) and had a strong yet sensitive grip.

Homo Sapiens Sapiens: The last stage of evolution in our genus, Homo. The species that is modern humans.

Howard Carter: The archaeologist who discovered King Tutankhamun's tomb in Egypt in 1922.

Hunter-Gatherers: People or societies that are dependent on wild food resources. Hunter-gatherers are usually from technologically simple societies that are highly mobile. Also sometimes called "foragers."

Hypothesis: A tentative and testable guess or premise.

Ice Age: The period of Prehistory between 35,000 and 12,000 years ago, when huge ice sheets covered much of northern Europe and North America.

Ice Man: The name given to the 5,300-year-old body of a man found preserved in a glacier on the border between Italy and Austria in 1991.

Ice Sheets: Ice sheets or glaciers covered 30 percent of the world, including much of North America, during the Ice Age.

Inka: A culture that thrived in the 15th century A.D. Inka culture was centered in the town of Cuzco, in what is now Peru, although the Inkas controlled a territory spanning 2,600 miles, from what is today the southern border of Colombia to central Chile. Inka is commonly spelled INCA.

Interglacial: A warm period between two glaciers.

Inuit/Eskimo: Arctic-adapted people, including the Inupiat and Yupik Eskimos and the Aleuts of the Aleutian Islands, are distinct from all other early peoples of the Americas. All human populations in the Arctic have depended more on animals for food than any other foraging populations in the world. Most archaeologists believe the Inuit people were the last to migrate into North America from Asia near the end of the last Ice Age.

Iron Age: Period of human history after the Bronze Age, characterized by the development of iron and the use of this technology. The dates of the Iron Age vary considerably from one region to another.

Jean-François Champollion: French linguist and Egyptologist who is credited with using the writings of the Rosetta Stone to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphs, from 1808 to 1822.

Jurassic Period: Between 206 and 144 million years ago. Period characterized by the development of many new kinds of dinosaurs and the first birds.

King Tutankhamun: The so-called Boy King because he became the Pharaoh of ancient Egypt in 1336 B.C., when he was only nine years old. King Tutankhamun's tomb was found in the Valley of the Kings in 1922 by archaeologist Howard Carter. Inside the tomb were thousands of fantastic treasures that had been placed there for the king's use in the afterlife, including the famous burial mask that covered the face of the pharaoh's mummy.

Kiva: An underground ceremonial chamber typical of the Anasazi and Hopi nations. A village may have several kivas. They were used for community gatherings and religious and spiritual purposes.

Land Bridge: Land that was once exposed because of low sea levels during the Pleistocene and the Ice Ages, though covered by water in modern times.

Level: The layer in which archaeologists dig. When they dig down through many layers in one site, it is also a unit of measurement. All sites have different numbers of levels, and even the different units within one site may have different numbers of levels. How do archaeologists decide when they are going into another level? Archaeologists try to judge by cultural clues like floors, but sometimes they will go by changes in soil color or soil type, or even by a specific number of centimeters. For example, an archaeologist might give a different level number every 10 centimeters in a site. Archaeologists want to keep track of levels because this allows them to build a profile (or a cross section) of the units, so that they can look at how the site changed over time.

Liftbag: A scientific instrument like a giant balloon, which is filled with air from a scuba tank and then used by underwater archaeologists to float heavy artifacts to the surface during underwater archaeological excavations.

Lithic: A stone artifact, usually in the form of a stone tool. Archaeologists frequently find lithic artifacts at archaeological sites because humans used to make their tools out of stone before they used metal.

Magnetic Dating: A method of dating that compares the magnetism in an object with changes in the earth's magnetic field over time. This method is used on baked clay and mud.

Magnetometer: A scientific instrument used to detect disturbances and irregularities in the earth's magnetic field caused by the presence of metal, excavated areas, burned areas, or other disturbances in the soil. This helps archaeologists locate where people have previously lived and worked so they know where to excavate.

Mary Leakey: Along with her husband, Louis, and son, Richard, Mary Leakey devoted her life to the recovery and interpretation of the bones and tools of early humans in East Africa.

Matrix: The rock surrounding fossilized bones.

Mausoleum: A stately and magnificent tomb, such as the mausoleum of King Mausolos (ruler of Caria, c. 350 A.D.) at Halicarnassus in Asia Minor, and the mausoleum of Augustus (d. 14 A.D.) in Rome.

Maya: The civilization that ruled the area that is now southern Mexico from about 250 B.C. to A.D. 900.

Megalithic: Built of large stones. Megaliths include stone circles, certain henge monuments (like Stonehenge), and many kinds of chamber tombs.

Mesoamerica: The term used for the area from Central Mexico to El Salvador. The cultures of the Maya, Aztec, and Olmec are thus called "Mesoamerican."

Mesopotamia: A region of the ancient Middle East that is now modern Iraq. The name comes from "mesopotamios," which means "between the rivers" in Greek; the two rivers are the Tigris and the Euphrates.

Mesozoic Era: The so-called Age of the Reptiles. The period between 248 and 65 million years ago, when dinosaurs and the first mammals developed. Characterized by a warmer climate, mild seasons, and higher sea levels. Divided into the Triassic Period, Jurassic Period, and Cretaceous Period.

Microblades: Small stone blades. Microblades, or microliths as they are also called, are flakes from stone cores (rocks) that are less than an inch long. They are similar to small, sharp razor blades and were used as cutting tools. Early peoples used microblades alone or set into a handle of wood, bone, or ivory.

Midden: A rubbish or trash heap of remains. At [ancient] settlements, a midden was the place where people discarded broken pots and tools, ashes, food remains, and other items that were thrown out or left behind. Because of this, middens are great places for archeologists to find out how people lived and what they cooked and made at a site.

Migration: Moving from one country, region, place, or site to another, for feeding or breeding.

Minoans: A civilization of the ancient Aegean centered around the island of Crete and named after the legendary King Minos. The most famous Minoan site is the Palace at Knossos.

Moai: Giant statues of human figures found on the Polynesian island called Easter Island or Rapa Nui.

Mosaic: An art form in which small pieces of colored stone or glass (called tesserae) are cemented onto a surface to create a picture or design. The ancient Greeks often decorated their floors with such pieces of art; later the Romans decorated both their floors and walls with mosaics. The practice was also adopted by Christians (particulary the Eastern Orthodox Church of the Byzantine Empire) in the 6th century A.D. and used to decorate churches.

Mt. Vesuvius: An active volcano located about 6 miles north of the city of Pompeii in what is today Italy. The enormous eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in A.D. 79 destroyed the city of Pompeii and many of the surrounding towns and villas.

Mummy: A dead body whose flesh has been preserved from decay, either intentionally or by accident. Ancient Egyptians, the Inka, and other cultures intentionally preserved the dead (this intentional preservation is called embalming) by using various techniques to stop a dead person's body from decaying, such as removing its organs, covering it with certain chemicals, and wrapping it tightly in cloth. An example of a body that was preserved accidentally is the 5,300-year-old mummy found frozen in a glacier in Italy, which has been named the Ice Man.

Myths and Legends: Stories passed down through generations, usually about heroic individuals, spectacular events, or powerful gods. Myths represent a culture's beliefs and explain its customs; some are fictional while others may be based on real people and events.

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