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The phrase anthropic units (from Greek anthropos meaning [hu]man) is used with different meanings in archaeology, in mensuration and in social studies.


In archaeologyEdit

In archaeology anthropic units are strata or deposits of material containing a high proportion of man-made detritus. For example:[1]

"… 'degraded anthropic units', i.e., deposits produced by weathering and decay of fired bricks and mixed fill with non-selected inclusions …"

— Massimo Vidale (1990)

In mensurationEdit

Following the coinage of the term "anthropic principle" by Brandon Carter in 1973–4,[2] units of measurement that are on a human scale are occasionally referred to as "anthropic units", as for example here:[3]

"… the metre and kilogram occupy a reasonably central position as far as symmetry in positive and negative powers of ten is concerned, emphasising that the SI units are natural anthropic units …"

— Brian William Petley (1985)

In social studiesEdit

In fields of study such as sociology and ethnography, anthropic units are identifiable groupings of people. For example:[4]

"Ethnographers have been accustomed to deal with the 'race', the 'tribe' and the 'nation' as social or anthropic units …"

— J. J. Thomson (1896)


"... among the more primitive anthropic units it seems a grave ineptitude for the Chukchees not to adopt the snowhouse building complex from the neighboring Eskimos"

— Jacob Robert Kantor (1944)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Massimo Vidale (1990). Study of the Moneer South East Area A Complex Industrial Site of Moenjodaro. East and West. Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente (IsIAO). 40(1/4): 301-314. (subscription required)
  2. ^ Brandon Carter (1974). Large number coincidences and the anthropic principle in cosmology. Confrontation of cosmological theories with observational data; Proceedings of the Symposium, Krakow, Poland, September 10–12, 1973. Dordrecht: D. Reidel Publishing. pp. 291-298.
  3. ^ Brian William Petley (1985). The fundamental physical constants and the frontier of measurement. Bristol; Boston: A. Hilger. p. 120.
  4. ^ J. J. Thomson (1896). Address by the President to the Mathematical and Physical Section. Science. American Association for the Advancement of Science. New Series, 4(90): 392-402. (subscription required)
  5. ^ Jacob Robert Kantor (1944 [1929]). An outline of social psychology. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Edwards Brothers. p. 120. Accessed June 2013.