Artifact (from Latin ars (originally) "processing" and făcĕre "to make, to produce") describes an object made by humans in archeology and anthropology . As a rule, they are manageable objects made of wood , bone or stone and similar malleable materials that were used during an archaeological undertaking, e.g. B. an excavation , discovered or found on the surface. Statements in cultural history based on artifacts can be made above all if they come from a secure stratigraphic context and are associated with other artifacts.
Examples of artifacts include flint tools , ceramics , jewelry , tools or weapons.
Artifacts stand apart from the legacies of human activity that were created as permanent installations, i.e. structures (roads, fortifications, settlements and the like) and findings ( pits , post pits , etc.).
The American anthropologist Lewis Binford made the distinction between artefacts, geofacts and biofacts. Biofacts are also of great archaeological interest, but they are not purely anthropogenic , but natural , for example remains of plants ( seeds , pollen , etc.) or animals (bones, teeth , etc.). A biofact can potentially be alive (for example fungal spores that can be made to germinate again). In some cases, however, biofacts were created under human influence ( domesticated animals, charred plant remains).
- Manfred Eggert : Prehistoric Archeology. Concepts and Methods. Francke, Tübingen 2005, ISBN 3-8252-2092-3 .
- Tonio Hölscher : Classical archeology. Basic knowledge. Theiss, Stuttgart 2002, ISBN 3-8062-1653-3 .