Artifact Literacy

Artifact Literacy is the ability to use objects created by humans as tools to understand the past. Examining the things people made and how they made them can tell us a tremendous amount about a culture’s way of life and values. The process can be simple, like looking at what materials were available (stone, metal, plastic), or it can be quite complex (telling two similar cultures apart using small details). We can even apply artifact literacy to our own culture to notice things about ourselves we had overlooked.

This worksheet will help students hone skills essential to historians, archaeologists, and anthropologists.

Click here to download our “Reading Artifacts” student handout