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Open Access Publications from the University of California

ArchaeoSTOR: The development and utilization of a web-based database for the field and lab

  • Author(s): Gidding, A
  • Levy, TE
  • Defanti, TA
  • et al.

The inventory of archaeological material is an old practice and basic to the method of all research and analysis. The whole purpose of finding archaeological material is to be able to keep track of its provenience and describe the cultural history of that object. Fundamentally archaeology is about things and the relationships between things and in turn how those relationships map onto social organization (Hodder 2011). As an important institution for the long-term storage of archaeological material, the museum has always been used as the ideal storage place for archaeologists. The museum is able to both show material off to the public and privately maintain a larger research collection, out of the view of the museum visitor. The curation of material in museums is meant to help guide the interpreter to understand the relationship between artifacts and come to some kind of synthetic conclusion regarding the material. By creating a way to understand the relationship between different kinds of artifacts, meaning is produced but, in a semi-prescribed way, the visitor is able to draw their own connections between the artifacts as they choose. Behind the presentation of artifacts are thousands more artifacts, stored and organized for later study or analysis.

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