- The term artifact is commonly used to refer to any object, item, or group of related items produced by the Ancients.
- It may be a technological device or tool. It may just as easily be a cultural object, a luxury or gimmick, with no direct link to a sophontic technology.
- Imperial Law requires all artifacts found in Imperial Space to be turned over to the Third Imperium. Different laws apply to archaeologicals.
An artifact is any object created by sophonts which gives information about the culture and/or technology of its creator and users. It is typically something made or given shape by a sophont, such as a tool or a work of art, especially an object of xenoarchaeological interest. Sometimes, they are called cultural artifacts. They reveal the material culture of a people.
It might be something as simple as a crushed bev can or libation container or... it could be a fantastic objet d'art. Perhaps it could be a mysterious high tech camera or weapon of a precursor society?
The term artifact is also commonly used to refer to any object, item, or group of related items produced by precursor civilizations such as the Ancients. They are sometimes called necro-markers or technosignatures.
Artifacts vs. Archaeologicals
The two terms have considerable overlap:
- TL-0: Protosophonts lack the ability to make tools using tools. They may leave behind found tools, biofacts, or ecofacts. They require an astute observer and are also known as Proto-Tech.
- TL:1-9: Archaeologicals are generally considered to be lower technology objects, generally in the TL:1-9 range. These objects are relatively easily recognized, understood, and are also known as Ur-Tech.
- TL:10-18: Artifacts are generally considered to be high technology objects, generally in the TL:10-18 range or higher. They can be tougher to discern than less technologically advanced objects, yet are strangely familiar, and are also known as Stell-Tech.
- TL:19-27: Ultra Period artifacts are considered to be very advanced objects, in the TL:19-27 range. They are not easy to recognize and are also known as Ultra-Tech.
- TL:28-30: Transcendent artifacts are considered to be astrodeific objects, in the TL:28-30 range. They are difficult to conceptualize, let alone recover, and are also known as Dei-Tech.
- TL:31-33: Ascendant artifacts are considered to be impossibly advanced omnipotential objects, in the TL:31-33 range. They might not be recognizable as tangible or corporeal objects and are also known as Omni-Tech.
An artifact can be any tangible object created by a sophont species. Many but not all artifacts are devices or machines, which is to say technological tools or mechanisms. Some artifacts are not tools and possess cultural meaning that may be incomprehensible to sophonts from a different culture.
For example, many of the artifacts recovered from the precursor culture of the Ancients still remain mysteries to the TL-15 societies of Charted Space. Some of these artifacts were clearly created with technology far more advanced than that currently in use throughout the starways. Some of these artifacts have been determined to be technological devices or tools while others may have been luxuries, gimmicks, or items of undetermined cultural value.
Selected Artifacts of Charted Space
This is a very partial listing of selected artifacts recovered from Charted Space:
- Artifact Ganiir 4132
- Black Globe Generator
- Holographic World Sphere
- Hieronymous Device
- Idkurkian Big Gun
- Memory Alpha
- Relativity Rifle
- Star Map Projector
- Star Trigger
The following devices are projected to exist:
- Nova Trigger
- Shkadov Thruster
- Star Map Projector
- Transdimensional Drive
- White Globe Generator
- Marc Miller. Twilight's Peak (Game Designers Workshop, 1980), TBD. (Classic Traveller Adventure 3)
- John Harshman, Marc Miller, Loren Wiseman. Library Data (A-M) (Game Designers Workshop, 1981), TBD. (Classic Traveller Supplement 8)
- Marc Miller. "Artifacts and Ancient Sites." Secret of the Ancients (1984): TBD. (Classic Traveller Adventure 12)
- Marc Miller. T5 Core Rules (Far Future Enterprises, 2013), TBD.
- T5 Traveller Trading Card Reference
- Traveller Wiki Editorial Team
- Author & Contributor: Lord (Marquis) and Master of Sophontology Maksim-Smelchak of the Ministry of Science