In the list of Function Classification Terms, the primary function categories are the underlined terms, and the secondary classifications are in boldface.  Select the functional terms most appropriate for the object being catalogued.

Structures and Furnishings


furnishings, etc. of unknown or unspecified use

Household Furnishings

house parts, chairs, tables, other furniture; floor coverings, window or door coverings; lighting devices, plumbing or sanitation fixtures, temperature control devices; bedding, pillows; decorative objects, wall hangings, pictures, framed photographs, figurines, ornaments, plaques, etc.

Public Furnishings

alter pieces, temple parts, dance house furnishings, sweathouse accessories, men's council house furnishings, carved house posts, thrones, totem poles, public confinement devices, etc.

Dress and Adornment (personal artifacts)


garments and accessories worn or carried for which exact use is not known


garments and utilitarian accessories worn habitually or on a daily basis; shirts, pants, shoes, etc.  Also garments worn for protection from the elements; jackets, capes, rain coats and hats, etc.

Ceremonial Dress

garments worn primarily on festive or ceremonial occasions; headdress, feather garments, feather decoration, pow-wow costumes, dance regalia.  Use this classification if it is certain the object was used only for ceremonial occasions.


utilitarian accessories used or worn habitually or on a daily basis; hats, purses, belts, scarves, etc.


objects worn for decoration; earrings, necklaces, pins, hair ties, hat bands, bracelets, rings, sleeve bands, nose pins and pendants, etc.; also things carried or attached for purposes of adornment.

Utensils and Implements (tools and equipment)


use or function not specified, or not possible to determine


bows, arrows, rabbit nets, snares, traps, atlatls, firearms, blowguns, clubs, spears, daggers, slings, guns, swords, etc.; also objects that are made primarily for fighting rather than for hunting or other uses


nets, harpoons, gigs, hooks, fish spears and arrows, etc.


seed beaters, berry baskets, etc.

Agriculture and Animal Husbandry

planting sticks, digging sticks, hoes, plows, other tools used for agricultural activities; objects used in the care of domestic animals and specifically related to the production of food or crops

Household Implement

all food preparation implements and containers, eating utensils and other utensils used for activities in and around the household; mortars, pestles, metates, mullers, brushes, storage baskets, parfleches, vases, strainers, ladles, milk containers, fire drills, etc.

Manufacturing Implement

tools for use in the manufacture of other objects; scrapers, awls, needles, drills, netting shuttles and mesh measures, wedges, mauls, axes, flakers, engravers, arrow straighteners, looms and other weaving tools, raw materials, spindle whorls, rope twisters, etc. 

Manufacturing Debris (debris from implement manufacture)

cores, flakes, shatter, metal or wood shavings, etc.

Toilet Articles

combs, hairbrushes, mirrors, face paint, etc.; containers such as comb case, makeup kit, paint box, trinket box, etc.; also, chamber pots, contraceptive devices, artifacts for disposal of bodily wastes, etc.

Personal Gear

fans, fly whisks, worry beads, pipe bags, etc.


string, rope, knife, ax, shovel, etc.  Articles used for a wide variety of purposes.

Food and Medicine


unspecified function or use


samples of food and medicine as daily fare or taken for curing properties alone


samples of food used in ritual or festive contexts, feast foods, etc.; "medicines" taken for ritual or supernatural purposes; black drink, peyote, tobacco, etc.

Transportation (distribution and transportation)


unspecified function or usage

Land Transportation

all horse trappings, sleds, cradles, travois, vehicles and parts, snowshoes, skis, etc.

Water Transportation

boats, rafts, accessories for boats and rafts, etc.

Communication and Media of Exchange


unspecified function or usage


books, inscriptions, writing accessories and written records, maps, wampum belts, calendar sticks, ledgers, pictographs, petroglyphs, etc.


warning clappers, whistles, talking drums, conch shell horns, audio tapes, etc.


dentalia, claws, clamshell, discs, shells, gold weights, stone money, pig tusks, money, tokens, scales, all objects related to transactions involving exchange of goods, etc.

Ritual and Recreation


unspecified function or usage

Ceremonial Artifacts

idols and mythical figures, charms, prayer arrows, shaman's paraphernalia, pipes, incense, censers, fetishes; all objects associated with rites of passage; coffins, funerary urns, initiation artifacts, etc.


counting sticks, snowsnakes, cards, ball games, throwing games, athletic games, stick and dice games, hand games, etc.


all musical devices whether used in ritual or secular contexts


objects made especially for gift, sale, or trade; tourist novelties, souvenirs, etc.


miniatures, scale models, salemen's models, etc.


objects intended for use as children's play things


works of art, fine art, usually not intended for sale as tourist items



use for all objects of unknown function or usage