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Artifacts and Art History

Artifacts are one of the primary studies of archaeological work, and something that many people find of interest. Archaeological investigations have recovered untold numbers of art objects and artifacts created by our ancestors. These artifacts of stone, pottery, glass, wood, and metal, tell us much about our collective past.
  1. 3D Art History (5)
  2. Ancient Artists (5)
  3. Ancient Maps (3)
  4. Artifact Reproductions (15)
  5. Beads and Beadmaking (4)
  6. Bone and Ivory (7)
  7. Cave Paintings and Rock Art (43)
  8. Ceramics (41)
  9. Curation (2)
  10. Glass (15)
  11. Lithics (58)
  12. Megalithic Site Studies (28)
  13. Museums (8)
  14. Pots and Potters

What is this Artifact?
Do you have an artifact you want identified? Post your photo here, tell us all about it and we'll see if we can figure it out for you!See submissions

Maya Blue
Maya Blue was a beautiful turquoise color manufactured by classic and post-classic Maya people and used to decorate pots, sculpture and murals.

Chipped Stone Venus Figurines from Poland
Large resolution images of chipped stone Venus figurines (style Lalinde/Gönnersdorf) from Wilczyce, Poland

A History of Props
While intended for theatrical set designers, and so probably should be taken with a grain of salt, this website contains brief timelines for various historical items. For instance, you can tell your friends that Butch Cassidy could have worn bifocals (commonly in use in 1820s) and that 45 rpm records were first in use in 1949.

Amber Trade
An exotic lithic material made from the sap from pine trees some 35-40 million years old, amber was (and still is) a highly tradeable item.

Benjamin Franklin's Mastodon Tooth: Artifact Spotlight
A tooth from the ancient extinct elephant known as a mastodon was recovered from beneath the floor of a building that at one time belonged to Benjamin Franklin. This artifact undoubtedly belonged to Franklin, and it represents Franklin's role in the scientific understanding of the process of evolution.

Ceramics and Pottery
The term ceramics or pottery refers to artifacts made of heated earth, including storage and cooking vessels, building material such as adobe brick, and occasionally tools and furniture.

Craft Specialization: A Primer
Craft specialization. The concept sounds easy enough; you can easily imagine people sitting around a campfire doing cross-stitch, can't you? But in reality, craft specialization is a cornerstone, or perhaps rather a keystone, on which civilizations are built.

Historical Directories
From the University of Leicester, a digital library of local and trade directories for England and Wales, from 1750 to 1919; completely searchable for information pertaining to what was sold when.

Magnificent Objects: A Review
A new coffee table book from the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology gives the reader a taste for the art hstory of the world's peoples.

Opal Phytoliths
An opal phytolith is a tiny, three-dimensional copies of a plant cells created by a plant as a product of taking in water with dissolved silica.

The term ceramics or pottery refers to artifacts made of heated earth, including storage and cooking vessels, building material such as adobe brick, and occasionally tools and furniture.

Archaeologists use the word textiles to refer to woven cloth, bags, nets, basketry, cord-twisting, sandals and other perishable material created out of organic fibers.

The Archaeology of Performance
An interesting page from Lawrence Coben, who is investigating the role of performance in Inka society, as expressed through the architecture.

The Art of Mehndi
The art of mehndi (or mehandi) has been a long-standing tradition stemming from many ancient cultures dating back as far as about 5,000 years, but is most known today for its history in India. From your About guide to Tattoo and Body Piercing, Karen Hudson.

The Portable Antiquities Scheme
The Portable Antiquities Scheme is a fairly controversial website in the UK, in that it provides a place for members of the general public to record archaeological artifacts they find.

The University of Chicago's Oriental Museum
See images of some of this remarkable collection of Near Eastern artifacts.

Ancient Pigments
the guide to ancient pigments includes archaeological research reported on Maya blue, Egyptian blue, Chinese blue, and a couple of colors that are not blue at all.

Cochineal Dye
Cochineal dye, also known as carmine, is a yellow to deep red color that is produced from crushing the cochineal beetle, and has been used by South American societies for at least 2500 years.

Ostrich Egg Shells
Ostrich eggs have been consumed by human beings, and their shells have been repurposed as canteens and made into beads, for at least 100,000 years.

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