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9.2: Activity 1 - Artifact Classification
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- Classify the prehistoric materials into groups. It is up to you to decide how many groups to sort them into and what the criteria will be. Once you have finished, list the groups you created and their characteristics.
- Classify the modern material into groups. Once again, it is up to you to decide how many groups to sort them into and what the criteria for each group will be. Once you have finished, list the groups you created and their characteristics.
- Now, re-group the modern artifacts by color. (Remember, each color is an attribute state.) How many colors (attribute states) did you come up with? List them here.
- Do some of the artifacts in each small color group appear to have any other attributes in common? Give at least one example.
- Do the color attribute groups tell you anything about what the artifacts were used for or provide any information about an aspect of human behavior? Why or why not?
- Group the modern artifacts by material, such as metal, wood, and plastic. How many materials (attribute states) did you come up with? List them here.
- Does the material attribute category provide more information about the artifacts than the color category? If so, how?
- Now, group the modern artifacts by their apparent function by creating categories for items with a similar purpose, activity, or use. Remember, the items in a functional group do not have to be the same “thing.” Give each category a name and list them here (miscellaneous can be one of the categories).
- Note which of the artifacts in your functional groups differ in terms of attributes. How so?
- Now let’s look at contextual attributes, specifically associations and provenience. Group together artifacts that you think might be found in association with one another (e.g., school supplies). Are these groups broader (more inclusive) than the previous groups?
- Select a group of artifacts that might have been found in association with one another and think about a likely provenience for this group. Where might you find this cluster of artifacts?
- Briefly experiment with grouping the ancient artifacts using their contextual attributes, matrix, provenience, and associations. Is it more difficult to group the prehistoric artifacts by function? Why?