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Reading: Museum Records and the History of Archaeology


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Museum Records and the History of Archaeology


Lynne P. Sullivan

Anthropological Survey, New York State Museum New York, US
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One cannot help but think of museums when contemplating the history of archaeology. For those of us who work in museums, contact with past research and former ways of thinking about and doing archaeology happens on almost a daily basis. Not only do museum collections contain the information and things collected by older colleagues, these materials embody the thoughts, theories, methodologies, and techniques of these individuals and of the discipline's past paradigms.

The records associated with museum collections are one major class of records made by archaeologists in the course of their research, and are distinct from scholar's personal papers. Museum records contain invaluable information for understanding not only the work of individual archaeologists, but detailed information on the practice of archaeology. Introspective studies of the discipline using museum records have the potential to significantly broaden our perspectives, especially regarding the conduct of field research, but getting access to these records is often a problem due to poor management.
How to Cite: Sullivan, L.P., 1991. Museum Records and the History of Archaeology. Bulletin of the History of Archaeology, 1(2), pp.4–12. DOI:
Published on 03 Nov 1991.
Peer Reviewed


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