Artifact (archeology)

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Hand axes from Libya and Algeria
Investigation of an excavated artefact, here the decorated bone handle of a knife in the Lower Saxony State Office for Monument Preservation

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).


Web links

Commons : Artifacts  - collection of images, videos, and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. What is an artifact?