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9: Artifact Analysis

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    Learning Objectives

    By the end of this chapter, you will be able to:

    • Describe the role of an artifact typology in archaeological analysis
    • Characterize the most common artifact types and how archaeologists study them
    • Explain the role of trace analysis in archaeology

    • 9.1: Introduction to Artifact Analysis
      The artifacts made and used by humans are critical to archaeological work and analysis of past humans’ behavior. Their interpretation and the information they provide largely depends on the environmental conditions to which the artifacts have been exposed, which influences their preservation. This chapter focuses on various kinds of artifacts and specific types of information archaeologists can learn from types of artifacts.
    • 9.2: Activity 1 - Artifact Classification
      In this exercise, you will sort and classify artifacts, which are also called material culture, and explore their physio-chemical and contextual attributes and functions.
    • 9.3: Activity 2 - Three Classifications
      In a sense, classification has nothing to do with the object and everything to do with the archaeologist. There is nothing intrinsic about the object that means that it must be classified in a certain way. Rather, the classifications are arbitrary and up to the archaeologist who places objects into them. Two archaeologists could come up with different classifications for the same object. In this exercise, you will work in teams of three to classify ten cars on your campus.

    This page titled 9: Artifact Analysis is shared under a CC BY-NC license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Amanda Wolcott Paskey and AnnMarie Beasley Cisneros (ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative (OERI)) .

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