Archive Archaeology

Hedley Swain

in The Oxford Handbook of Public Archaeology

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199237821
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Archaeology

 Archive Archaeology

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  • Archaeology
  • Contemporary and Public Archaeology


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Archaeological archives are the cumulative finds, records, and associated data that result from a piece of archaeological fieldwork. This article deals almost entirely with the very specific circumstances of archives in the UK and primarily English museums. Archives should represent a prime research and heritage asset; and yet historically they have been under-resourced and underused. Efficient transfer of archives from fieldworker to repository and subsequent curation relies on close and clear working relationships between the museum or repository and the archaeologists working in their collecting areas. Debates about archaeological archives, which should be focusing on their value and use, are instead dominated by discussion of their sheer quantity and the storage and curation challenge this poses. The collecting areas for archives have particular importance. A more strategic approach by museum authorities to provide LAARC-type resource centres for material of real value would appear to remain the only logical way forward.

Keywords: archaeological archives; collecting areas; English museums; archaeological fieldwork; LAARC-type resource

Article.  7014 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Contemporary and Public Archaeology

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