Get your students to think like social scientists! Instead of simply engaging in the sometimes dry task of artifact analysis, let your students be archaeologists as they uncover artifacts for themselves.
Partially adapted from the National Archives artifact analysis worksheet (which can be accessed here: http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/worksheets/artifact_analysis_worksheet.pdf), this tool is designed to be used with up to three artifacts found at the same archaeological or historical site. I've also included sections for students to sketch each artifact, as well as a page for students to sketch and record observations about the site the artifacts were found at.
Note: Generally, I do page 1 followed by pages 3-4, and then I do page 2 last. I've included them in the order that I have to make double-sided copying easier.