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This folder is sure to please those looking for something tangible, as it covers artifacts, i.e. man-made objects, discovered during archaeological digs. The clip below introduces the topic. After watching it, refer to the 8 identification records to see different examples of tools and points from the Palaeoindian period. If you would like to see more, consult the Artifacts content for each archaeology site in the expert section presented by Claude.

Enjoy exploring!

Clip produced by the Sherbrooke Museum of Nature and Science
Date: September 2018
Length: 3:08

An animated character, Éric Graillon, defines the term artifacts and describes their usefulness in understanding the history of the settlement of the Eastern Townships.

On-screen text: Artifacts

On-screen: An animated character (A.C.) is displayed on the left, with a background photo of hands working on pottery, then a photo of a man sculpting wood

[ Animated character ] What is an artifact? It is an object made from material processed by a human.

A video of a landscape with a brook is displayed.

[ A.C. ] Rocks, bones, and clay are not artifacts, unless these materials show traces of being worked on by humans to make objects.

On-screen: A photo of a human working a rock with a pick axe, followed by photos of artifacts

[ A.C. ] If discovered during archaeological digs, they are archaeological artifacts.

The animated character is displayed on the left, with an illustration of a clipboard with several images of chipped stone on the same page.

[ A. C. ] The earliest prehistoric artifacts are chipped stones, and include both whole objects and fragments.

A video of fire is displayed, followed by the word biofact in the foreground, then a close-up of a trilobite fossil.

[ A.C. ] Artifacts differ from ecofacts, which are residues or traces of human action, such as charcoal marks or food scraps. Fossils, on the other hand, are the mineralized remains of animal or plant life. Nothing to do with humans!

The word Analysis is displayed.

[ A.C. ] Analysis

An illustration of a clipboard is displayed, on which four photos are shown in succession: Two photos of chipped stones, a picture of a person who is sorting through bags, a picture of a chipped stone.

[ A.C. ] After archaeological digs, the artifacts found are analyzed. Archaeologists are hoping to determine when they were created, by whom, and for what purpose. Classifying artifacts with similar morphologies is one of an archaeologist’s main tasks. The shape of stone tools makes it possible to deduce how men and women of the era worked wood and skin.

On-screen: A deer eating leaves at the edge of a forest is displayed. Photographs of arrowheads from different periods: Palaeoindian, Archaic, and Woodland.

[ A.C. ] The shape of projectile points provides evidence of hunting techniques and the animals hunted. Groups of artifacts with similar morphologies are associated with archaeological cultures.
On-screen: The text: Palaeoindian artifacts from the Eastern Townships

[ A.C. ] Palaeoindian artifacts from the Eastern Townships

A geographical map of the Eastern Townships appears on which three archaeological sites are designated by characters digging.

[ A.C. ] The digs carried out on the three Palaeoindian sites in the Eastern Townships led to the uncovering of projectile points from two Palaeoindian cultures. Points from the Clovis culture dating around 12 500 years BP.

On-screen: A photograph of an arrowhead from the Clovis culture with the text: 12 500 years BP. Identification of the flute

[ A.C. ] They are identifiable by their flute, or groove, a part of the stone that has been removed from the base to the middle of the point. This flute facilitates hafting. The fluted shards found indicate where these points were made. They also reveal information about the chipping technique.

On-screen: A photograph of an arrowhead from the Plano culture with the text: 10 000 years BP. Photograph of a forest in the background.

[ A.C. ] Points from the Plano culture are longer and narrower than those from the Clovis culture. They are thin with parallel retouching. They are more recent than the Clovis culture points, about 10 000 years old.

On-screen: A photograph of bifaces, side scrapers, end scrapers, perforators, borers, and hammerstones. Photograph of a forest in the background.

[ A.C. ] A variety of stone tools have also been found at these sites, including bifaces, side scrapers, end scrapers, perforators, borers, and hammerstones.

On-screen text: Conclusion

[ A.C. ] Conclusion

Scrolling photos: An open hand in which there are two arrowheads; points from the Palaeoindian, Archaic, and Woodland cultures; herds of caribou and deer moving on the plains in winter.

[ A.C. ] Archaeological artifacts lead to a better understanding of past lifestyles. The development of artifact shapes provides clues about the evolution of hunting and building techniques, as well as the evolution of landscapes.

[A.C.] To learn more about the different artifact shapes discovered on the Palaeoindian sites of the Eastern Townships, refer to the files in the menu on the right. To learn about the different dating techniques, view the animation in the Chronology folder.