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Excavation archives as case studies - Printable Version

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Excavation archives as case studies - pdurdin - 7th May 2015

I'm currently in my second year of a BA Archaeology at the University of York. My third year dissertation will include developing a method for quantitatively assessing quality in excavation archives, and I hope to complete the research portion of this over the summer. However, due to changes in staff and staff being away on leave, some of the archives I'd hoped to get access to aren't currently available.

So I'm looking for 2-3 small to medium commercial excavation archives to use as case studies, preferably from within the last 5-10 years as my focus is on current practices. The nature or period of the archaeology doesn't matter, all I'm looking for is complete archives to test the methodology.

If you can help, or refer me to a good source, please PM me.


Excavation archives as case studies - Dinosaur - 7th May 2015

What 'quality' are you assessing? How pretty they look, how many boxes have been filled in, how well they're cross-referenced, or how well the archaeology was dug and recorded? Most 'lego-brick' excavations result in wonderful-looking context sheets, shame the actual excavation was sh**e - know quite a lot about this since we seem to be getting increasing numbers of diggers coming through who meticulously fill in every box neatly but don't seem to be able to e.g. find the edges of the underdug feature... :face-crying:

Was working in the late '90s on a CEU site on Hadrian's Wall where we were trialling what subsequently became their new context sheets - someone came all the way up from Portsmouth to ask people what they though of them and get some constructive suggestions, but rather sadly the most common complaint amongst the diggers was that the box to sign their names in wasn't big enough...errrr...


Excavation archives as case studies - pdurdin - 7th May 2015

I'll be looking at a range of different aspects including internal consistency, adherence to standards, accessibility, and potential for further analysis (among others: the methodology is still being developed and subject to change!). But yeah, there's always going to be the danger of a mis-match between the quality of the archive and how well the site was dug (and it can go either ways). There's no practical way to assess that working only from the archive, as I'll be doing.


Excavation archives as case studies - Dinosaur - 7th May 2015

That's fair enough, good luck with it :face-approve:


Excavation archives as case studies - pdurdin - 8th May 2015

Thanks, but I don't need luck, I need archives. Sad


Excavation archives as case studies - Marc Berger - 8th May 2015

Why don't you just go to your local council museum where all the commercial archaeologists are forced to give their archives to and take your pick?


Excavation archives as case studies - pdurdin - 9th May 2015

Tried that. My local museum has suspended archaeology enquiries indefinitely.


Excavation archives as case studies - Marc Berger - 9th May 2015

Do you know if your local museum charges to deposit archives with it?


Excavation archives as case studies - pdurdin - 9th May 2015

I don't know, the information isn't available online and since they're not taking enquiries it's difficult to find out anything. I'll pop in one day soon and see if I can find out more in person.


Excavation archives as case studies - Marc Berger - 9th May 2015

Is it a council museum?