I was going through papers, magazines and catalogues in preparation for recycling day, and came across a catalogue that I didn’t remember having seen before. As I leafed through it, I noticed that one of the pages advertised “enchanting artifacts” with some great blue and white vases. I thought they might have been from the late 1800’s or early 1900’s, but they, and everything else on the page, was essentially new. That got me to thinking about exactly what an artifact is.
I think of artifacts as having some history to them. Most of the definitions have something to do with history or archaeology, so the question is, can something that is brand new be an artifact? Or is this just a marketing play for and by those who don’t know any better?
Another aspect of the definition of artifact is that it’s always man-made, so the agate and quartz referenced above wouldn’t qualify. I write all day long for my job, and then I write again at night. I like to think that I’ve got a pretty extensive vocabulary and that I know how to use words correctly, so it’s a bit grating to see the liberty that people take with words, assigning them meanings that they don’t have.