Material culture is the physical aspect of a culture in the objects and architecture that surround people. It includes usage, consumption, creation and trade of objects, and the behaviors, norms and rituals these objects create or take part in. The term is commonly used in archeological and anthropological studies, specifically focusing on the material evidence which can be attributed to culture, in the past or present.
EXAMPLE: The docent holds up a bone and says "This is a leg bone we found. This came from a male who was diseased and lame and lived to about 45 years of age. We see in this a complex culture." Someone asked how they could see "complex culture" in a leg bone. The docent said "This fellow was sick and lame, but he lived a fairly long time. Somebody was taking care of him. And that is what we call a complex culture."