Lichliter - IF

Section IF: A Brief Survey of Archaeology Cataloging Practices

Ohio History Connection (OHC)

  • Inventory system
    • Organized by site, then by survey/excavation unit, stratum within an excavation unit, feature, stratum within a feature, then object type
    • Staff issues collection numbers/catalog numbers
    • Required lexicon
    • Diagnostic artifacts have individual object numbers
  • Documentation
    • Field notes, field maps, images, photographic records, project proposal, project report, collection catalog, conservation reports, NAGPRA-related documents, special analyses, documents signed by private property owners, and titles required if applicable
  • Object Catalog Form Example

National Park Service (NPS)

  • Inventory system
    • No required lexicon/numbering system
    • Field records cataloged as archival/manuscript collections and cross-referenced
  • Minimum mandatory provenience data required
    • Field site number
    • State site number
    • Site name
    • Within site provenience

University of Wyoming (UW)

  • Inventory system
    • No required lexicon/numbering system
    • Each artifact must have: catalog number, FS#/map#, block/unit, north/east, point plot/other provenience, level, elevation, feature, screen size, shovel/auger, count, description
  • No provisions for associated records – requirement to attach photograph forms

University of California (UC)

  • Inventory system
    • No required lexicon/numbering system
  • Organization in one of two ways
    • By artifact class then catalog number
    • Exclusively by catalog number
  • Field notes, maps, photographs, and artifact catalog required
  • Artifact catalog fields: accession number, catalog number, site, unit, level, class, object, modifications, material, weight, count, discards

Idaho State University (ISU)

  • Inventory system
    • Required lexicon
    • No required numbering system – each item sample and lot in the collection  must have horizontal and vertical proveniences either listed in the catalog or directly in the catalog number
  • Required documentation
    • Smithsonian site number
    • Site forms
    • Catalog of materials – catalog number, object name and description, material type, condition, measurements
    • Reports and other documentation
    • Photographs

Summary Observations

In the sample, only OHC requires a specific lexicon AND assigns its own catalog numbers (so all catalog numbers in the repository are consistent)
Only NPS requires cross-referencing of archival materials/maps with artifacts
All information is kept in forms or Excel databases = hundreds of pages/files

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