CIfA launches major new report: A Review of the Standard of Reporting on Archaeological Artefacts in England

In a project instigated by the CIfA Finds Group and funded by Historic England, CIfA commissioned Alice Cattermole Heritage Consultancy to undertake a review of the standard of artefact reporting in England.

The project involved the analysis of a sample of 1000 unpublished specialist artefact reports and 61 published specialist artefact reports from journal articles against a checklist of criteria devised to assess their content and quality. The report showed that

  • None of the reports in the sample met all the quality criteria
  • Only 12% met three-quarters or more of the criteria
  • 44% met fewer than half, and of those
  • 6% met fewer than a quarter of the criteria

The report makes recommendations to improve the quality of artefact reporting and concludes

In a profession where resources are limited and commercial pressures are great, the onus is on all involved with artefact work to ensure that this work is carried out in accordance with existing standards and guidance and that where standards are not met, appropriate measures exist to remedy this situation.

This project has demonstrated the need to raise awareness of the importance of artefact work and the need to adhere to professional standards in order to maximise the contribution of artefacts to our understanding of the historic environment. This needs to be a collaborative effort across the sector and needs to engage finds specialists and special interest groups, commercial archaeological contractors, development control archaeologists and organisations such as CIfA, ALGAO, FAME and Historic England in order to implement the recommendations of this project.’

You can read the full report at

For more information on the project, please contact Kate Geary

For more details of the CIfA Finds Group and how to join, see