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Subject: Survey on archaeological archives in Wales

Survey on archaeological archives in Wales

From: Phil Parkes <parkes>
Date: Tuesday, September 17, 2002
What's in Store? Archaeological Archives in Wales: Providing
Preservation and Access

A new partnership has been formed to assess the physical condition
of and access to archaeological finds and excavation archives in

The National Museums and Galleries of Wales, The Council of Museums
in Wales and Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical
Monuments of Wales (RCAHMW) have joined forces in a new initiative
to examine the body of evidence retrieved from archaeological
investigations, which is crucial to our understanding of the past.

Every year numerous archaeological investigations are undertaken
across Wales.  Some may be in advance of planning applications for
building developments, while others may be or as a result of
research designed to enhance our understanding of life in the past.
The survey will examine collections spanning some 230,000 years from
when our oldest known ancestors lived in Wales to the beginning of
the Industrial Revolution.  The nature of this evidence is very
varied and the collections form the primary evidence for
understanding our past.  It is essential, therefore, to ensure that
this archive - comprising archaeological objects and specimens, and
the accompanying paper, photographic and digital records--is cared
for to ensure its long term preservation and is also made accessible
to those who have an interest in studying and learning about Wales'

The partnership has appointed Cardiff based consultants Jane
Henderson and Phil Parkes to undertake a complete survey of all such
groups of evidence already held in the museums across Wales and
deposited with other organisations, such as RCAHMW in Aberystwyth.
They will also survey the finds and archives not yet allocated to a
permanent repository, but which are currently being held by
contracting archaeological units, such as the four regional Welsh
Archaeological Trusts, Universities across the country and local
societies.  It will also evaluate the use made of the evidence from
archaeological sites across Wales and the accessibility of
information to the people in Wales and beyond.  The survey will
examine the collecting policies of each of the museums, RCAHMW and
other collecting bodies and assess the provision of archaeological
expertise across Wales.

The resulting report on this survey is expected to be published in
Spring 2003.  It will provide an invaluable source of data for
museums and other heritage bodies, as well as the Welsh Assembly
Government, to help plan the future needs for archaeological storage
and also promote the value of the archive.  The report will also
assist the archaeological profession by determining what material
awaits transfer to museums and RCAHMW and helping to identify any
space or storage issues associated with this. Another objective is
to recommend standards of transfer for archaeological material
entering museums, in order to assist with the long-term curation of
the archive in a cost effective manner.

Phil Parkes
School of History and Archaeology
Cardiff University
PO Box 909
Cardiff CF10 3XU
+44 29 2087 5628
Fax: +4429 2087 4929

                  Conservation DistList Instance 16:21
               Distributed: Thursday, September 19, 2002
                       Message Id: cdl-16-21-003
Received on Tuesday, 17 September, 2002

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