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Science and technology

  • Cultural artifact, anything created by humans which gives information about the culture of its creator and users
  • The Artefact (journal), published annually by the Archaeological and Anthropological Society of Victoria

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Ancient Tools in Seattle

Peat that was radiocarboned to be 10,000 years old, houses thousands of stone flakes, bifaces, scrapers, and hammerstones, plus several projectile points. This is the oldest artifact find in this area of the country that archaeologists have been able to study.

Contributed by Katlyn Powers

A primary resource is one that was created at the time and place of an event, by someone who was present at the event. Primary sources, or other sources, can be compiled to support or inspire various types of secondary sources. Secondary sources are those that are made by someone who was not present at an event, in a different time. Prior to the 16th century, evidence for historic dress includes paintings; textiles and their motifs and fibers which originated in countries that then spread their resources throughout history, and fashion moved down the class system so the affluent and royalty were the first adopters. One of the ways in which built structures were documented prior to the 16th century, with the limited technology that was available, was through floor plans and drawings of architecture. 1) Reproduction of an original 16th century Italian cut velvet that was used in upholstery. It is a secondary source. 4). Wooden hand cards for production of wool is a primary source An example of an extant artifact is 8). An announcement for fashion and fine arts that was published and preserved throughout history. One example of an illustrative resource is the pillow and bobbins image. One example of a written source is the history book on the private life of Medieval culture. Extant artifacts can shed some light on events and cultural attitudes from a certain time period in history. They can be visual sources can teach people about the class system in which the owners belonged. Their ways of life and technological capabilities influenced the types of artifacts’ uses and materials. The condition of the artifact is a good indicator of the time period, since high quality materials could outlast erosion or people took extra care to preserve them. Something that extant articles do not reveal would be ways in which products were used specifically, because no one who witnessed them being used are no longer living, in previous centuries. They only provide the cultural point of view of the person or group who adopted the artifact to own, use, or display. In other words, a garment that may have been a popular trend in a given time and place could be worn in a different style or created in a different way to give it an entirely different appearance or meaning. Extant artifacts do not teach the meanings behind pieces of art or information, but these can be inferred through more extensive research or other valid sources.

Contributed by Monica Kirnak

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