I think one of this week’s core concept is artifact. Artifact has its two sides of meaning: on the material level, it is what the ancestors created at the beginning to forge tools in aid of living; on the ideal level, it is what we attach meaning on. I think somewhere one of the authors indicated that through social learning, people are able to ‘upgrade’ the meaning of artifact to the ideal level. This probably illustrates how culture arises and where the controversy of the origin of culture lies in – if the notion of culture does not exist within the cognition of human, how can human develop a huge cornucopia of the mass we possess nowadays solely based on the exterior and our interactions with it?
And also, think of what we have gathered today, we have invented layer after layer of meanings based on incessant revolutions. Each time the innovation of the raw material and the technology enables people to discover new ways of thinking, and the culture constantly enriches itself.
In addition, when Cole mentions the third level of artifacts, I am also curious in what that can possibly mean because what he implies can be artifacts that’s already beyond our current imagination, a through deconstruction and reconstruction of what culture means in his article.
Renfrew, C. (1999). Mind and Matter: Cognitive Archaeology and External Symbolic
Storage. Cognition and Material Culture: The Archaeology of Symbolic Storage.