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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An artifact or artefact is any object made or modified by a human. In archaeology, an artifact is an object recovered by some archaeological endeavor, which may have a cultural interest. Examples include stone tools such as projectile points, pottery vessels, metal objects such as guns, and items of personal adornment such as buttons, jewellery and clothing. Other examples include bone that show signs of human modification, fire cracked rocks from a hearth or plant material used for food. [[Image:Mycenaean stirrup vase Louvre AO19201.jpg|thumb|left|200px|Imported Mycenaean stirrup vase found in the acropolis of Ras Shamra (Ugarit), 1400-1300


Artifacts can come from any archaeological context or source such as:

Artifacts are distinguished from the main body of the archaeological record such as stratigraphic features, which are non-portable remains of human activity, such as hearths, roads, or deposits and remains, and from biofacts or 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 artifacts or which may be naturally occurring phenomena that only appear to have been used by humans.

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Simple English

In archaeology, an artifact or artefact is an object made or modified by a human culture. It is usually one that is found during an archaeological dig. Some artifacts are stone tools, pottery wheels, jewelry, and clothing. The study of artifacts is very important to the study of archaeology.


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