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One of the key aspects of archaeological work is identifying the materials used in antiquity to manufacture goods and implements. By recognising what materials were used and how they were manufactured it is possible to identify advances in knowledge and so develop a clearer picture of human evolution from its earliest beginnings. Even the names given to periods of prehistory - the Bronze Age and the Iron Age - are indicative of how significant this study is. 

The illustration above shows just some of the variety of materials that surround us every day. All have been altered by human intervention but some more than others. Being able to identify what is anthropomorphic, and what is not, is part of archaeology. This section does not pretend to be an in-depth study of methods of identification or investigation of artefacts and materials. It is intended only as a source of inspiration. If you want to know lots about this topic, enjoy these pages then consult the experts.