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Discourses on the History of Archaeology

Is It Worth Saving?: The Condition of Archaeological Documentary Record and Strategies for Preservation

Author:

Douglas R. Givens

Department of Anthropology Saint Louis Community College - Meramec, US
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Abstract

"[Historical] objects are events which have finished happening, and conditions [are] no longer in existence. Only when they are no longer perceptible do they become objects of historical thought" (Collingwood 1946:233).

Scholars engaged in research in the history of anthropology and archaeology have long been aware of the deplorable conditions in which records as to anthropology's development in time are found and stored. All too often the researcher finds records in individual and institutional hands that are physically degrading because of the lack of proper storage facilities, the fiscal inability to hire professional archivists, the usage of improper methods of acquisition and curation, and dwindling financial resources to properly care for materials. It is now the time to ask if anthropological records are worth saving, and if they are, what are the best strategies to be employed to ensure their survival and protection now and into the future.

The purpose of this paper is to suggest that the records of the subdiscipline of archaeology are worth saving and that there is a great sense of urgency to get about the business of identification and preservation before archaeological documentary records are further destroyed due to neglect and the lack of means to ensure their future existence.  This paper will define the problems of identification and preservation of archaeological records as they exist now and suggest strategies to rectify those problems.
How to Cite: Givens, D.R., (1992). Is It Worth Saving?: The Condition of Archaeological Documentary Record and Strategies for Preservation. Bulletin of the History of Archaeology. 2(2), pp.4–6. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/bha.02202
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Published on 02 Nov 1992.
Peer Reviewed

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