Artifacts are objects made by humans that are usually created for a specific purpose. Artifacts can either be ancient or
modern. Ancient artifacts usually are recovered as part of an archeological dig. The artifacts from the past are meaningful
because they represent some aspect of the culture and civilization in which they were created and used.
Archeologists are interested in artifacts from primitive times because they tell us how ancient civilizations lived. By
examining the artifacts left behind by these civilizations, archeologists and scientists learn more about how the people
during that time hunted and prepared food. Moreover, artifacts tell us how these people designed their homes or shelters
and what tools they used in daily life.
Archeologists also are interested in the clothing and jewelry worn by past civilizations. The way people dressed and what
they used to adorn themselves often tells us a great deal about their belief system. Jewelry, in particular, often reflects
the ideology of the culture, so these artifacts are particularly interesting.
Ancient artifacts were manufactured in many different ways by many different societies and cultures. The methods used vary
greatly between civilizations. Some ancient artifacts were made from bone or stone. Early man often used the natural
products around him to create tools and weapons. Later civilizations used manufacturing processes to create tools and
Archeologists consider more than simply the artifact itself. During an excavation, they consider the artifact plus explore
its significance as it pertains to where the object was found. The location of an artifact often can help archeologists
further understand its use and significance.
For instance, many artifacts are found in tombs and graves. These artifacts take on additional meaning since they were
enclosed with a body. Some civilizations buried tools with their dead. They believed the souls of the dead would need these
tools once they reached the other side.
Homes and dwellings are often areas in which many artifacts are found. By studying these artifacts, archeologists can learn
more about the culture and the social atmosphere of these ancient civilizations.
Many museums display artifacts from famous archeological digs. For instance, Native American artifacts can be found in many
museums throughout the United States. Some Egyptian artifacts are among the most famous. Exhibits tour the world showing the
tools, jewelry, and other artifacts discovered over the years in Egyptian tombs.
Some people feel that museums should do more than simply display these artifacts. More museums are listening and now they
are explaining to their guests how these artifacts were used and what the artifacts tell us about these ancient people and
civilizations. Many museums now have media presentations so you can learn a great deal about the artifacts on display.
These displays make learning about the artifacts not only educational but also fun.
When it comes to artifacts, the more we know about the people and societies who have inhabited this world before us, the
more we can understand our past. By understanding our past, we can have a much clearer view into our future.