Addressing the Curation Crisis through Research in University Legacy Collections

Author(s): Elanor Sonderman

Year: 2015


Despite their critical importance, the care and management of archaeological collections has not always been at the forefront of the discipline’s overall methodology or federal and state regulations that are intended to mitigate harm to those resources. A seminal paper by Marquardt et al. (1982) argued for the existence of a crisis in the curation of archaeological collections. Marquardt, et al. (1982) as well as Childs (1995, 2003) and Sonderman (1996) highlight the ethical responsibility to both the public and the archaeological profession to properly curate collections so their future research potential can be realized. My previous experience working with collections at the University of Delaware and more recently at Texas A&M University and the University of Texas has demonstrated that many universities are behind state and federal collections repositories on the collections management curve. Universities frequently house the largest collections in their respective states, but few urge their graduate and undergraduate students to pursue research with these collections. In pursuit of research opportunities in legacy collections, particularly within the Texas River Basin surveys, I have encountered a set of challenges that underscore the importance of proper documentation and collections access.

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Cite this Record

Addressing the Curation Crisis through Research in University Legacy Collections. Elanor Sonderman. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396437)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -115.532; min lat: 30.676 ; max long: -102.349; max lat: 42.033 ;