Curatorial Cures: Storage, Partage, and the Colonial

Author(s): Morag Kersel

Year: 2018


The crisis in the curation of materials generated as a result of excavation and survey is one of the most pressing issues facing the discipline. Storage is of constant concern as questions of how to store materials, where to store materials, and how long to store these items confront archaeologists and license/permit-granting agencies around the globe. This is an examination of an innovative approach to solving the curation crisis of Early Bronze Age ceramic vessels from the Dead Sea Plain in Jordan. After the untimely death of the excavator, thousands of pots excavated at Bab adh-Dhra’ in the 1960s remained in museum storerooms, unstudied, unviewed, and unloved. Archival, collections-based, and ethnographic research revealed a scheme (devised by the Jordanian Government and representatives of the American Schools of Oriental Research [ASOR] – the excavation sponsors) to distribute the tomb groups to ASOR member institutions. Twenty-four educational institutions throughout Australia, Canada, and the United States received tomb groups for research, study, and display. This creative solution to the burgeoning storage problem in Jordan resulted in the curation of threatened collections, educational access and display of archaeological material, and "artifacts acting as ambassadors on behalf of Jordan".

Cite this Record

Curatorial Cures: Storage, Partage, and the Colonial. Morag Kersel. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443927)

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Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 18805