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Archaeology collections policy

Jenna Walsh, Liaison Librarian - e-mail:
November, 2005

The Department of Archaeology provides the opportunity for study towards the BA, MA, and PhD. While a variety of course work areas are covered, considerable emphasis is placed on fieldwork, archaeological research, and theory and methods. Although not limited to the following areas, most research concentrates on Prehistoric and Historic Archaeology of the New World, Pacific Rim and Physical Anthropology.

The Department's course and research areas are:

Prehistoric and historic archaeology: theoretical and substantive works; methodological works including the use of statistics; theoretical and technical reports on archaeometrics; period archaeology: e.g. Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age and Prehistoric.

Area studies and excavation reports: Greenland, Scandinavia, Northeast Africa, Oceania, Australia and Southeast Asia, Canada and the New World—Archaeology and ethnology of Canada (all regions), American Southwest, the Pacific Northwest, Latin America, the United Kingdom, the Arctic; Europe and China: major studies and excavation reports only.

Physical anthropology: comprehensive coverage for the physical anthropology of prehistoric and fossil humans, fossil and living primates including paleopathology, physiological adaptation, dental anatomy, human growth and development, and primate embryology.

Faculty research interests include ancient DNA; archaeological methodology; archaeological theory; archaeometry; dating techniques; Dynastic Egyptian archaeology; Egyptian archaeology; environmental archaeology; ethnobotany; faunal analysis; First Nations heritage; forensics; geoarchaeology; historical archaeology; history of archaeology; mass graves; museology; Northwest Coast art; origins of agriculture; orangutans; paleoethnobiology; Predynastic Egyptian archaeology; primate behaviour and social complexity.

The Department has chosen not to focus in these areas: Assyro-Babylonian archaeology and Biblical archaeology.

SFU Resources

The W.A.C. Bennett is the major location for the University's archaeology collection.

Regional Resources

In addition to the collections available at the University of British Columbia, students have access to archival materials housed through the Royal British Columbia Museum, and the provincial archives.

Consortia and Document Delivery

SFU belongs to three consortia (BC Electronic Library Network; Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries; and the Canadian Association of Research Libraries). Document delivery agreements exist with all three of these consortia which allow delivery of journal articles and books from member libraries in a timely manner. Holdings and direct requesting from over 40 libraries are accessible through the Interlibrary Loan Web page and from many databases, and interlibrary loans are also arranged with other libraries around the world, as needed.  Besides document delivery benefits, membership in these and other consortia, including the Canadian Research Knowledge Network, also offers substantial savings on the collective purchase of licensed electronic resources.

General Collection Guidelines

  • Languages: the emphasis is on the acquisition of materials in English although materials in Spanish and French are also collected where appropriate.
  • Chronological guidelines: In respect to intellectual content, schools of thought or movements, all time periods, from prehistoric to present day, are covered.
  • Geographical guidelines: Publications from North American and British publishers are emphasized, but publications from a variety of European publishers are also used as sources.
  • Treatment of subject: all available treatments of the subject will be collected to varying degrees.
  • Types of materials collected: monographs; journals; visual materials such as slides, video and DVDs; Reference materials, including atlases, bibliographies, dictionaries, directories, encyclopaedias
  • Selectively Collected: Dissertations and theses, electronic resources, government documents, microforms, periodicals, and proceedings
  • Not Collected: Artifacts, juvenile and popular books, maps, and software.
  • Date of Publication: Emphasis is placed on current materials although earlier published material will be purchased to fill in any gaps in the collection, replace missing items or in response to requests by SFU students, staff or faculty.
  • Duplication: Multiple copies of works are usually not acquired, but may be considered in the case of works that are of major interest to students. New editions are selectively purchased.
  • Gifts: Gifts are evaluated by the same criteria as materials considered for purchase. Only material related to the Archaeology Department teaching areas will be considered for retention. The SFU Library Gifts Policy provides additional guidance.
  • Coordination and cooperation with other campus resources: None at this time.
  • Coordination and cooperation with other library collecting areas: Resources drawn by the Archaeology department are also used to some degree by Biological Sciences, Anthropology, Latin American Studies, Geography and History.

Subjects and Levels of Collecting

The following table lists the main subjects collected by the SFU Library in support of the Archaeology teaching areas and research interests. Subjects listed are collected to varying depths. The method in which the library selects books on each subject is listed in the second column of the table. A designation of “Books” in this column means that items which fit the General Guidelines (above) for the subject in question are sent on an approval basis to the library. In such cases, a significant portion of the books on that topic will be acquired for the collection. A designation of “Forms” on the other hand, means that only brief descriptions of the books on the subject in question are sent to the library. The liaison librarian, often with the assistance of the department or faculty representative or other faculty members, then selects the relevant items for acquisition by the library.

1. Humanities Division
a. Archaeology Division
(1) Archaeology - general
Books
ii. Archaeology by place/period
(1) Paleolithic archaeology
Books
(2) Mesolithic archaeology
Books
(3) Neolithic archaeology
Books
(4) Bronze Age archaeology
Books
(5) Iron Age archaeology
Books
(6) Prehistoric archaeology
Books
(8) Asian archaeology
Books
(8) Egyptian archaeology
Books
(9) Predynastic Egyptian archaeology
Books
(10) Dynastic Egyptian archaeology
Books
(11) Assyro-Babylonian archaeology
Forms
(12) Classical archaeology
Forms
(13) Biblical archaeology
Forms
(14) Medieval archaeology
Forms
(15) Native American archaeology
Books
(16) Other archaeology by place/period
Books
iii. Specific Archaeology Subjects
(1) Underwater archaeology
Books
(2) Archaeological fieldwork
Books
(3) Archaeological methodology
Books
(4) Archaeological artifacts
Books
(5) Archaeological expeditions
Books
(6) Specific archaeological sites
Books
(7) Lithic studies
Books
(8) Faunal studies (Archaeology)
Books
(9) Ceramic studies (Archaeology)
Books
(10) Paleobotanical (Archaeology)
Books
(11) Archaeological dating techniques
Books
(12) Metallurgical studies (Archaeology)
Books
(13) Experimental Archaeology
Books
(14) Other archaeological subjects
Books
2.Social Sciences Division
a. Anthropology Division
(1) Physical Anthropology
Books