Any object that has been used, modified, or manufactured by humans, such as a tool, weapon, or vessel. In art, an artefact is a product of human skill and creativity, while in archaeology, the object may be a simple item of importance and interest.
Armenian Architecture – VirtualANI – Glossary
Any small object that has been manufactured, used, or modified by humans.
Cancaver – Glossary of Karst related terms
A product of human manufacture or art, e.g. tools of bone, stone flakes, etc., paintings, engravings. In caves, tools are often buried in sediment.
World Wide Words: Artefact versus artifact
[Q] From John Weiss: “Could you give a note on the historical or geographical divide between artifact and artefact? I was brought up to stick with artefact, much as the incompatibility with artificial annoyed me, and I was surprised to see you use artifact. I suppose I could look it up, but your explanations are more fun.”
[A] Flattery will get you everywhere …
Presumably you are referring to the recent piece on ecofact? In the newsletter I was inconsistent, using artefact one week (while noting that Americans spelled it artifact), but the next week accidentally spelling it artifact (I put in as evidence for the defence a saying of Ralph Waldo Emerson: “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds”).
In saying that the British spelled it with an e, while Americans spelled it with an i, I was guilty of a sweeping generalisation that needs some qualification and footnotes.
Both spellings may be found in both countries. In Britain, the preferred form given in dictionaries is artefact, though the other often appears as an alternative. The Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors firmly suggests spelling it with an e, as does Bill Bryson in The Penguin Dictionary for Writers and Editors. However, the style guide of The Economist, with a large international circulation, suggests using artifact, since it is acceptable, it says, both to American and British readers. Americans prefer the i form by a large majority, but not exclusively so — newspaper practice seems to vary considerably, some insisting on the i form, others being more relaxed about it.