Most humans live in organized groups called societies. The members of each society have needs that must be met. These needs are physical, social, and spiritual.
In order to satisfy their needs, people use resources that are available from their environment to make objects. Often, objects that are left behind comprise all that we know of past societies. These objects are our window to the past.
Archaeologists study the objects left behind by past societies. By combining what they discover from studying objects, archaeologists are able to tell us much about how people lived in the past. In this way archaeology acts much as a lens; bringing the past into focus for us.
Culture is the learned set of beliefs and behaviors shared by members of a society. These beliefs and behaviors comprise each society's way of life. While each society has its own unique culture, all cultures develop to satisfy human needs. One of the most interesting aspects of human existence is how different societies have used available resources to develop diverse cultures to meet the same basic human needs. As you look at the exhibits about Ohio's prehistoric people, consider what the objects they left behind can tell us about their culture.