Artifacts (or Antiquities) are another type of collectible and tangible remnant of ancient times. Artifacts are categorized by period (i.e. Bronze Age, Iron Age, Persian Period, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine etc.) Scholars also subdivide each period (i.e. for Bronze Age - Early Bronze (EBI,II,III,IV), Middle Bronze (MBI,II), Late Bronze etc.)
Antiquities are also classified by function (i.e. pottery, jewelry, weapons etc.) Some people collect antiquities for their historic aspects while others acquire them for their beauty (simple or otherwise).
Let's turn our attention to holyland antiquities.
As the "cradle of civilization", artifacts have been found in the holyland from the earliest times of man. There are artifacts dated to Noahs period (EB1) as well as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (MB1). Moving into the late bronze age, we have the conquest of Israel by Joshua and the Iron Age gives us artifacts of the First Temple Period, time of the Judahite and Israelite Kings.
Since coins as we know them (round and with images) were not invented until late in the first temple period at the very earliest, for collectors, artifacts may be the only physical connection to that time.
Surviving artifacts of the Bronze age are pretty much restricted to pottery, weapons, jewelry and decorative items. There virtually no written objects known from that time (in the form that we understand writing.) There is an abundance though of Egyptian hieroglyphic artifacts, and from further east are the inscribed cuneiform tablets. The export of these types of collectibles is highly restricted and the only way to acquire them is from collections that have existed previously.
We now turn to artifacts of the Iron Age.
To be continued................
In the meantime read about the fascinating Tel-Yehudiyeh juglet here.