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Cultural artifact or artefact is a term used in the "social sciences, particularly "anthropology,[1] "ethnology[2] 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: it can include objects recovered from "archaeological sites, that is "archaeological artifacts, but can also include objects of modern or early-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.

The philosopher "Marx W. Wartofsky categorised artifacts as follows:[3]

Social artifacts, unlike archaeological artifacts, do not need to have a physical form (for example "virtual artifact), nor to be of historical value (items created seconds ago can be classified as social artifacts).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Richard J. Watts (1981). The pragmalinguistic analysis of narrative texts. Gunter Narr Verlag. "ISBN "978-3-87808-443-3. 
  2. ^ Rob Amery. Warrabarna Kaurna!. 
  3. ^ Wartofsky, Marx W. (1979). Models: Representation and scientific understanding. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Reidel.

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External links[edit]

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