Bags, Biomarkers, and Biographies: Keeping up with Archaeological Science in the Collections Repository
By Wendi Field Murray (Preventive Care Network) and Julie Unruh (Archaeology Heritage Network) for PCN
Walk through any archaeological collection and you walk through a historical archive of collections storage practices. Some objects may have never left the paper bags they were placed in at the time of excavation. Others have been rehoused in archival materials that protect them from the agents of deterioration against which we are trained to be vigilant.
Our understanding of best practices for collections storage evolves as materials science evolves, and we realign our storage decisions to maximize research potential. However, determining appropriate parameters for archaeological collections storage is complicated not only by the diverse interests of researchers (Baars 2010), but increasing concern about sample damage or contamination across an evergrowing number of archaeometric methods.
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