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Encyclopedia > Artefact (archaeology)

This article is about the archaeological concept of artifacts (or artefacts). For other definitions, see Artifact (disambiguation).


In archaeology, an artifact or artefact is any object made by a human culture, and often one later recovered by some archaeological endeavor. Common examples include stone tools such as projectile points, pottery vessels such as amphorae, metal objects such as buttons or guns and items of personal adornment such as jewellery and clothing.


The study of these objects is an important part of the field of archaeology, although the degree to which they represent the social groupings that created them is a subject over which archaeological theoreticians argue. Focusing on the artifact alone can produce very intensive and enlightening work on the object itself but can ignore surrounding factors which may shed further light on the manufacturing society. Traditional museums are often criticised for being too artifact-led, that is by displaying items without any contextual information about their purpose or the people who made them.


Artifacts can come from a number of sources:

Artifacts are distinguished from features, which are nonportable remains of human activity, such as hearths, roads, or house remains, and from biofacts (also called ecofacts), which are objects of archaeological interest made by other organisms, such as seeds or animal bone.


Natural objects which have been moved but not changed by humans are called manuports. Examples would include seashells moved inland or rounded pebbles placed away from the water action that would have fashioned them.


These distinctions are often blurred; for instance, a bone removed from an animal carcass is a biofact, but a bone carved into a useful implement is an artifact. Similarly there can be debate over early stone objects which may be crude artefacts or which may be naturally occurring phenomena that only appear to have been used by humans.




  Results from FactBites:
 
ScienceDaily: Archaeology (1394 words)
Archaeology or archeology is the study of human cultures through the recovery, documentation and analysis of material remains and environmental data, including architecture, artifacts, biofacts, human remains, and landscapes.
Artifact (archaeology) -- An artifact or artefact is any object made or modified by a human culture, and often one later recovered by some archaeological endeavor.
Archaeology -- Archaeology or archeology is the study of human cultures through the recovery, documentation and analysis of material remains and environmental data, including architecture, artifacts, biofacts,...
Underwater archaeology - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1218 words)
Underwater archaeology is the study of past human life, behaviours and cultures using the physical remains found in salt or fresh water or buried beneath water-logged sediment.
Shipwrecks (such as The Mary Rose) can also be important for archaeology because they can form a kind of accidental time capsule, preserving an assemblage of human artefacts at a moment in time i.e.
A working platform for underwater archaeology needs to be equipped to provide for specialist remote sensing equipment, analysis of archaeological results, support for activities being undertaken in the water, storage of supplies, facilities for conservation for any items recovered from the water, as well as accommodation for workers.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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