27 Pages

Archaeology collections

WithSara L. Wear

Archaeological museum collections are gathered and documented material evidence for human activity, from the earliest stone tools to more recent industrial production. Material evidence is complemented by an archive record and, increasingly, digital data. The development of archaeology as a professional discipline in the United States of America and Canada largely followed the European model through its early history. Concordant was an alignment of archaeology with contemporary studies in anthropology and human geography. Archaeological analysis has focused on societies and social mechanisms, exchange structures and interactions, as illustrated by excavated material culture. Excavations involving local communities allow an inclusive process, where people are included in the investigation of their own locality. The composition and type of objects found in archaeological collections is influenced by the geographical, historical and cultural context of each museum. The documentation associated with archaeological fieldwork enables access to an understanding of the finds archive the site, its context and significance.