Archaeological Archives Group


CIfA Council approved the formation of a Special Interest Group for Archaeological Archives, and the yearly AGM was held on 6 March 2012.


The aims of the group are

  • to focus upon issues relating to professional standards, best practice, advocacy and access

  • to promote of awareness of archaeological archives within the profession

  • to represent the interest of those working with archives to CIfA Council and in all CIfA activities

  • to hold seminars and workshops to facilitate the above

  • to establish relationships with other groups associated with archaeological archives

Join the Group

The Group is open to anybody with interests, concerns or involvement with the archive process, and is free to CIfA members. Non-members will need to pay a yearly £10 fee.

To join, please contact the CIfA office at


Lorraine Mepham (Chair)

Rebecca Sillwood(Secretary)

Helen Parslow (Treasurer)

Samantha Paul

Anooshka Rawden

Ellen McAdam

Steve Baker

Theodora Anastasiadou

Katie Green

Rebecca is our secretary and can be emailed images, events, good news, articles and links at archaeologicalarchives [at]

Specialist competence matrix

We have recently introduced specialist competence matrices, which have been compiled by our CIfA special interest groups and are tailored to their specific areas. These are to assist applicants and the Validation committee to see where you demonstrate the grade applied for.

Consultation in Gloucestershire

The museums in Gloucestershire welcome comment on Section 1 of the The Countywide Standard for the Creation, Compilation and Transfer of Archaeological Archives in Gloucestershire. Click here for the draft document. The consultation period for archaeological contractors and other interested parties will run from 28 September to 12 October 2016, during which time you will be able to provide feedback and comment on the proposed standards via e-mail or by attending the consultation meeting:

Wednesday 12 October, 10am-1pm, Ed- Shed (ground floor), Gloucester Life Museum/ Folk Museum, 99-103 Westgate street, Gloucester, GL1 2PG (tea and coffee will be provided). Places are limited and tickets will be available through Eventbrite from 28 September.

Any comments to sampaulheritage [at] in advance of the consultation meeting are welcomed in order to inform the meetings agenda.

Selection, de-selection and rationalisation day conference presentations and discussions

To read more about the presentations and discussion at the Selection, de-selection and rationalisation day conference in March 2016 please click here


Historic England is seeking proposals from museums willing to undertake a scoping study on the rationalisation of their archaeology collections. Up to five museums will receive funding to produce a report that sets out the rationale, criteria, methodology, timescale and estimated costs of rationalising their archaeology collections according to current collecting strategies.

Each report will be sent to a working group of the Society for Museum Archaeology, which will use them to develop overall guidance for any museum wishing to undertake rationalisation.

Further details and information on how to send in a proposal can be found here. The deadline is 7 October 2016.

Future events

More coming soon!

Previous Events

  • Selection, De-selection and Rationalisation - Day conference and including the AAG AGM - 16 March 2016

It now seems to be generally accepted that we can no longer retain everything produced or recorded during an archaeological project, while space could be created in museum stores, through retrospective selection to current criteria – but what are those criteria? What should a selection strategy look like and has anybody actually applied one?
The aim of this meeting is to answer those questions with a set of overviews and case studies that provide context, introductory guidance and practical examples, with the ultimate goal being the creation of national guidelines. Participants should include those who monitor selection, those who apply it and those who curate the resulting collections. This issue is of interest to all archaeologists, in the present and the future, and we must ensure that the strategies we adopt are consistent, comprehensive and sound.

  • SMA held their 2015 conference at the Great North Museum, Hancock, on 11 – 12 November.

  • It’s not just about box sizes: Alternative archives in archaeological practice

  • Plenary event for good practice in archaeological archives workshops

This one day event gave an overview of the reason why the project started, how it was created, the findings from the staged evaluations and looked at the resources needed within the sector for the future.

  • Good practice in archaeological archives workshops

The Archives Group have carried out a series of successful regional workshops designed to promote good practice in working with archaeological archives, to provide hands-on experience and encourage participants to engage with archive issues by considering new perspectives.

A workshop on a European Standard for Archaeological Archives took place, which included a discussion about the ARCHES documentation

Business plan

Business plan 2014-2016

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