Cultural artifact or artefact is a term used in the social sciences, particularly "anthropology, "ethnology, and "sociology["citation needed] for anything created by "humans which gives information about the "culture of its creator and users. Artifact is the spelling in "North American English; artefact is usually preferred elsewhere.
Cultural artifact is a more generic term and should be considered with two words of similar, but narrower, nuance: social artifact and "archaeological artifact. Cultural artifacts can include objects recovered from "archaeological sites, that is archaeological artifacts, but can also include objects of modern or near-modern society, or social artifacts. For example, in an anthropological context: a 17th-century "lathe, a piece of "faience, or a "television each provides a wealth of information about the time in which they were manufactured and used.
Cultural artifacts, whether ancient or current, have a significance because they offer an insight into: technological processes, economic development and social structure, among other attributes.
Social artifacts, unlike archaeological artifacts, do not have to have a physical form (see for example "virtual artifact), nor do they have to be of historical value (items created seconds ago can be classified as social artifacts).