The Risks and Benefits of Working with Private Collections: Lessons from the COADS Project


This is an abstract from the "SAA 2019: General Sessions" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Privately held collections are an endangered part of the archaeological record that the SAA’s "Principles of Archaeological Ethics" directs us preserve. The Central Ohio Archaeological Digitization Survey (COADS) is undertaking the documentation of dozens of private collections in central Ohio. By September 2018 it recorded over 15,000 artifacts and added over 300 new sites to the official records. Along the way, COADS staff have learned several lessons that can be generalized to other efforts to work with private collections of various documentary quality. Persistent issues include the vagaries of memory, disparities in artifacts labels, and problems presented by purchased artifacts and their relation to personally collected materials. With these issues, we are still able to make valuable contributions to collective knowledge about the pattern and persistence of prehistoric activity in our region. Like the issues, these benefits are also generalizeable to any other effort of similar aims and scope.

Cite this Record

The Risks and Benefits of Working with Private Collections: Lessons from the COADS Project. Kevin Nolan, Michael Shott, Eric Olson, Sidney Travis. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 449340)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -103.975; min lat: 36.598 ; max long: -80.42; max lat: 48.922 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 24601