PhD Dissertations: Barbara J. Winter, 1996

Out of Sight Out of Mind: The Reposition of Archaeological Collections in Canada

If archaeology is a science, the issues of replicability and the responsibility for the preservation of collections and their associated documentation as evidence and as scientific data are critical. In addition, the public funding of archaeology brings a fiduciary responsibility to preserve the results of archaeological investigation.

Given these factors, it is surprising that there are no explict, widely accepted guidelines for the post-repositional curation of archaeological collections. While guidelines have been developed for collections in other disciplines, curation standards for archaeological collections remain rudimentary. The needed guidelines must be developed within the legal and fiscal context in which they will be administered.

In this dissertation the legal context of archaeological curation in Canada is briefly examined, recent fiscal conditions affecting curation are discussed and the actual practices of curation in several Canadian repositories are examined. Finally curation standards for archaeological collections in Canadian repositories are developed. These guidelines are a platform for further discussion.