Wonderful Things: Using Legacy Archaeological Collections for Research

Author(s): Julia King

Year: 2018


How does one go about using legacy archaeological collections – or any archaeological collection, for that matter – for research? The prospect can be daunting, especially if you are staring down dozens of dusty boxes on shelves. This paper offers direction for studying even the most untamed collection by understanding it as a type of secondary data – lessons learned while working with legacy collections from the Potomac and Rappahannock river valleys in Maryland and Virginia. Secondary data, a term that crosses disciplines, is, in the broadest sense, data collected by someone else and used to address new or different questions than those originally posed. Defining research questions, becoming familiar with a collection, creating checklists, reconstructing provenience, developing methods for sorting, coding, and re-coding collections data, and applying appropriate quantitative techniques are steps we identified and found useful for the study of older collections, some generated nearly 80 years ago.

Cite this Record

Wonderful Things: Using Legacy Archaeological Collections for Research. Julia King. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443926)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.735; min lat: 24.847 ; max long: -73.389; max lat: 39.572 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 20225