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The Akond of Swat and the archaeological record

Organiser(s): David Allen (SMA), Duncan H Brown (EH and IfA Archives Group), Rachel Edwards (Arboretum Archaeological Consultancy), Phil Mills (IfA Finds Group)

Contact Duncan for paper submissions at Duncan.Brown2@english-heritage.org.uk

Who or why or which or what? Two aspects of the archaeological record have merited increasing examination recently. The IfA S&Gs on Archaeological Materials and Archaeological Archives, where the emphasis is, in part, on the importance of the long-term products of research on archaeological assemblages, are being reviewed as part of a broader strategy to assess their impact and continuing relevance. The principle that consistent approaches to analysis and archive management ensure the accessibility and future value of the information we gather should underpin everything we do and this is worth revisiting at a time when archaeologists are being encouraged to ease planning constraints and reduce the pressure on museum stores.

Meanwhile, one strand of the Society of Museum Archaeologists/English Heritage ‘Archaeological Archives Review’ now in its final stages of preparation, is an attempt to determine what uses are made of archaeological archives once they reach the repository. Although the relevant information was not always easy to obtain, the actual answer is quite clearly ‘many and varied’.

In part, this session will look at current practice in creating and compiling the archaeological record with the aim of promoting discussion of approaches to finds and their implication for archives, in particular the issues of on-site recovery, selection strategies and recording requirements as well as publication and dissemination. Contributors may include specialists involved in the creation and maintenance of archives, freelance finds specialists, those working for contractors and those researching finds in academic institutions.

The second half will use the results of the SMA survey, where they involve the use of information gathered from archaeological projects as the basis for presenting case studies in post-deposition use of the archaeological record. It is intended that these will range from the top of the scale (a dedicated museum, shelves of published reports, and site trail complete with apps) to the more lowly categories where only works of synthesis or local interest are involved.

We are looking from contributions on creating, compiling and using the archaeological record.

Someone, or nobody, knows I wot.

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