Artefacts - Home - science

Artefact is an object made by a person, and is normally of historical or cultural interest.

It can also be something observed in a scientific investigation or experiment that is not naturally present but occurs as a result some kind of procedure.

Example: "The odd pixelation effect is caused by the compression being set too high" -or- "the curvature of the surface is an artefact of the wide-angle view"

The term appeared in the early 19th century from the Latin words 'arte' (by or using art) and 'factum' (something made). These days many artefacts can be seen in The Natural History museum (Kensington), The Museum of London (Barbican) and The Victoria and Albert museum (Kensington).

Examples include stone tools, pottery vessels, metal like as weapons and items of personal adornment such as buttons, jewellery and clothing. Bones that show signs of human modification are also good examples.

There are six types of artefact according to the materials used :-

  • Stone artefacts (or 'ground stone') are objects that people have modified by simple manufacturing from its natural state. This includes tools, ritual objects, and personal items, such as ornaments.

  • Ceramic art is a term used to describe decorative objects made out of clay or similar natural materials. In some cases, these may be functional objects (like tiles, cups, bowls & tea pots) or artistic / decorative (like statues, figurines).

  • Metal artefacts require some knowledge of metallurgy, enough to forge items like knife blades, daggers, pins, arrow heads, armour and early coins.

  • Glass are works of art that are substantially or wholly made of glass. It ranges in size from monumental works and installation pieces to wall hangings and windows, to works of art made in studios and factories, including glass jewellery and tableware.

  • Bone is softer than stone and harder than wood, The hardness, abundance and resilience of bone made it a very useful material. Fresh bone can be split or broken, and can be modified in various ways.

  • Alien artefacts only appear in popular sci-fi programs (eg Star Trek:TNG, Babylon 5), unfortunately, but if any appear they will be added here.

    Bone artefacts

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