Environmental Archaeology Bibliography (EAB)

University of York, 2004 (updated 2008)

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University of York (2008) Environmental Archaeology Bibliography (EAB) [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor] https://doi.org/10.5284/1000225

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History of the Originating Project

The Environmental Archaeology Bibliography (EAB) is a bibliography of published environmental archaeology reports, funded by English Heritage (initially via a grant to Dr Philippa Tomlinson, and latterly through support for Dr Allan Hall, both working in the former Environmental Archaeology Unit at the University of York). The ADS version of the EAB replaces English Heritage's own web-based release and supersedes any version released to the public on floppy disks or CDs.

The original intended coverage of the EAB was as follows:

All substantial English environmental archaeology reports published after 1950 in the county journals, the period archaeological journals and the major excavation report monograph series. Unpublished reports have not been included, with the exception of Ancient Monuments Laboratory (AML) reports.

Substantial reports were deemed to be those which:

  1. had a separate specialist author (i.e. not just a passing mention of an identification)
  2. had sufficient cross-reference to the archaeological information (if it was not within the same publication)
  3. were at least half a page in length

It was hoped that the future coverage would be increased to include all bio- and geoarchaeological 'site reports'.

Since the initial compilation was made, the remit has, indeed, been extended to cover bio- and geoarchaeological reports of any type and length and of any publication date, though it has not been possible to re-check all the original sources for additional entries (a programme of checking continues, however). The area covered has been extended from England to the whole of the British Isles, and includes the Channel Islands.

For the purposes of this database environmental archaeology covers:

  • all biological, pedological and geological work on material from archaeological excavations, i.e. macrofossil plant remains, remains of vertebrates (including humans) and invertebrates, soils, miscellaneous organic materials, and dendrochronology

but does not at present normally cover:

  • scientific dating techniques (other than dendrochronology)
  • geophysical work
  • chemical analyses (except where these relate to soils, organic residues and biological remains)

There are a few other exceptions to this rule and recent additions have tended to be inclusive rather than restrictive (e.g. inclusion of reports on artefacts of wood, bone, antler and leather as well as of period or area reviews). As noted in the introduction, a large corpus of grey literature reports, which were not formerly available through this interface, is now included in the ADS version of the database.

The EAB was originally compiled using Paradox software but migrated to Access during 2003 when it was agreed that public access through the ADS could be made.

Information about Methods

Entries for the EAB have been gathered from literature searches using, wherever possible, the original publication. Where appropriate, information from other bibliographies has been incorporated. In recent years a major source of records has been the CBA's British and Irish Archaeological Bibliography, though the level of detail for 'environmental' reports in the citations is rarely adequate to obviate the need to check the original publication.

Every effort has been made to check National Grid References (for sites in England, Wales, Scotland, and the Isle of Man) included in the database, using printed maps and on-line map services (e.g. 'Streetmap', 'MAGIC') where details are not given in the original report. Irish Grid References are being added to or checked in the "master" version of the database and are included in this release.

As far as possible in-built checks within the database structure are used to ensure consistency. Referential integrity is used to ensure that changes of site name cascade through the tables, for example. Occasionally information is missing or ambiguous and this is marked by the use of asterisks or question marks in the relevant field.

Details of source materials used to create the dataset

As noted above, entries for EAB have been culled from published site reports (and some other compilations) in books, periodicals, monograph series, theses, reports in the Ancient Monuments Laboratory Reports, Reports from the Centre for Archaeology and Research Department Reports series from English Heritage and unpublished 'grey literature'. The BIAB has been used routinely since it was launched as a source of entries that are subsequently updated as access to the original publication is achieved. It is assumed that all material abstracted is within the public domain and does not contravene copyright restrictions. Users are encouraged to send copies or citations of relevant work that is missing from the database!

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