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Mariah Betz

The Evolution of Material Culture


The Dark Ages (476 to 1000)

The only things that were used around this time to

replace limbs were wooden pegs and hooks. They were
primarily used in the battlefield and didn’t pay much
attention to functionality. Lost arms could be replaced
by prosthetics capable of holding shield or a hook. Legs
would be replaced by pegs. However, they did not do

Civil Wars (1861-1865)

The Civil War left vast numbers with lost limbs.

This created worry among leaders that not only would
these people not be able to serve in the war, but also not
be able to find employment after. Because of this, extra
funds were used to create artificial limbs.
The prosthetics were made of wood that could articulate at its hinges, and was usually made to
look like actual limbs.

World Wars (1914-1945)

The World Wars invited more bloodshed, slaughtering

and mutilating thousands. German orthopedists,
engineers and scientists came together to create better
functioning prosthetics. They were made of either wood
or metal and had better functioning knee-joints and
often had suction-sockets where the stump would be

Electronics and advanced technology allowed people to engineer

much more efficient prosthetics- not just for legs, but for arms too.
Currently we have technology capable of making a bionic arm
capable of gripping and moving at the user’s will. The materials
that are used are much lighter, more realistic and are stronger.


Scientists will be capable of recreating limbs more efficiently and with stronger materials. It may
actually be stronger and may function better than a normal human limb. Other tools also may be
incorporated into them, such as pedometers or other programs.