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1. What is an archaeological archive?#

Throughout the Guide the term ‘archaeological archive’ or ‘archive’ will be used to describe any documents or materials (finds) produced during an archaeological project and selected for archiving. For the definition of an archaeological archive see the Standard - Definitions

It is accepted that archives from archaeological projects do not strictly fit with the common understanding of the term ‘archive’, as in most cases an archeological archive mixes together documentary archives and material collections, if not always in the same place, then always by association (in cases where the material archive is stored separately from the documentary archive but is fully cross referenced). However, whilst it is not a perfect term and from country to country the terminology or practice may differ, it is still the best and most widely accepted term for the present purpose.

2. What is archaeological archiving, when does it happen?#

Archaeological archiving is a dynamic process, which begins the moment a project is planned. Archaeological documentation and materials (finds) which add information to the sum of human knowledge of the past will be selected for archiving as the project progresses and should be managed following the Standard and Guidance presented in this document and also, where applicable, in more detailed international, national, regional or local standards. Archive creation and management are not things that only happen at the end of a project, when transfer to a repository is imminent; it is a process that maintains and protects all archaeological archive components from the outset.