The role of artefact catalogues in Australian historical archaeology

a framework for discussion

Penny Crook, Susan Lawrence, Martin Gibbs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Efforts to utilise catalogues prepared in the past two decades of digging in Australia are often hampered by errors and inconsistencies in data, lack of comprehensive reporting, and mismanagement of assemblages, their accompanying documentation and databases. These problems are the result of difficulties affecting other aspects of the archaeological process, such as insufficient funding, training and systematic quantification of assemblages. In order to create more reliable and more efficient catalogues in the future, it is necessary to take a step back and open the debate on the role catalogues should have in Australian historical archaeology. The authors put forward their view that catalogues must be designed to facilitate comprehensive and contextual assemblage analysis, now and in the decades to come. Having established this primary goal, the authors discuss other means to improve the efficiency and consistency of catalogue production, including standards and guidelines, quality assurance testing, reporting and physical access to assemblages and associated records. They conclude with a number of specific measures that might be enable these objectives, and importantly, welcome debate on the issue.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-38
Number of pages13
JournalAustralasian Historical Archaeology
Volume20
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

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