MARS: A Unique Place for Storing Archaeological Collections

Author(s): Sarah Heffner

Year: 2014


MARS, an acronym for the Mathewson Automated Retrieval System, is a mechanical system that houses older, seldom-used books, journals, and other materials, in the University of Nevada, Reno’s (UNR) Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center. Robotic arms can be programmed to store and retrieve one of over 700,000 items located in storage bins of various sizes and shapes. In addition to housing rarely-used print materials, MARS is home to over 1800 boxes of archaeological materials. In 2010, in response to repeated incidents of vandalism at an off-site storage facility for archaeological collections belonging to the UNR Anthropology Research Museum, these collections were moved to MARS for more secure storage. This paper discusses the challenges and benefits of using MARS to store archaeological collections and offers advice to museum and archaeological professionals who are considering using an Automated Retrieval System to store collections.

Cite this Record

MARS: A Unique Place for Storing Archaeological Collections. Sarah Heffner. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 437316)

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-75,01