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How to describe an archaeological object
 

How to describe an archaeological object

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    How to describe an archaeological object How to describe an archaeological object Presentation Transcript

    • Principles of object description
      • An audio description for a blind person
      • Replacing the object with a record
      • The PAS’s ‘shop window’
    • Relationship between text and images
      • If we’ve got an image, why do we need all this text?
      • Searching image labels is a very blunt tool giving imprecise results
      • The wrong image may be attached or the image may become detached
      • It makes the identifier look very closely and analytically at the object
    •  
    • Relationship between text and images
      • If we’ve got an image, why do we need all this text?
      • Searching image labels is a very blunt tool giving imprecise results
      • The wrong image may be attached or the image may become detached
      • It makes the identifier look very closely and analytically at the object
    • Audiences and searchers There are many users of our data – HER officers, planners, finds specialists, students, finders, the general public Will all of the people interested in this object be able to find it again?
    • These will make records unfindable
      • Spelling and typing mistakes, e.g. broach, boarder, chaffing dish, seal matirx, etc.
      • The wrong object term being used, e.g. ‘strap fitting’ for a stirrup-strap mount
      • The wrong classification being used, e.g. ‘cruciform’ for a cross-shaped brooch or ‘equal-armed’ for an ansate brooch
      • Several terms used for the same concept, e.g. pierced, perforated, holed
    • These will make records unintelligible!
      • Information scattered about the record in a random order
      • Ambiguity in words or phrasing
      • Abbreviations and writing in note form
      • Too much jargon
    • KENT4547 FAHG-123AB4
    • LON-B3C3C1
    • SUSS-0DF748
    • These will make records unintelligible!
      • Information scattered about the record in a random order
      • Ambiguity in words or phrasing
      • Abbreviations and writing in note form
      • Too much jargon
    • These are all ‘round’ but all must be described differently
    • Buns More buns
    • Bun-shaped… … or bun shaped objects on the PAS database
    • ESS-581F82
    • back reverse YORYM-1716A4
    • The first section is circular in section, but the second section has a rectangular section and the last section is triangular in section. Too many sections
    • LON-B3C3C1
    • LANCUM-593AA1 SWYOR-C16415 ‘ thin’ ‘ narrow’
    • “ two rows of small triangular indentations run along both longitudinal edges” - there are two rows, but not along both edges!
    • These will make records unintelligible!
      • Information scattered about the record in a random order
      • Ambiguity in words or phrasing
      • Abbreviations and writing in note form
      • Too much jargon
    • Don’t copy something like this (NMS736): EPM Ae sword chape, double-concave attachment edge between central projection front and back, trefoils on sides pierced for attachment, traces of engraved linear decoration, knop at terminal, 42 x 30mm. Cf. de Reuck, no. 231.
    • Short descriptions for objects that exist in museum collections from Middle Harling, Norfolk (East Anglian Archaeology 74)
      • Measurements can need supporting information
      • (e.g. ‘Surviving length 42.4 mm, original length c. 60 mm; or 8.5 mm wide in the centre, tapering to 6.8 mm wide at either end)
      • Dates can need argument to back them up
      • (e.g. ‘this object type is most common in the 14th century, but the use of niello inlaid in a criss-cross pattern suggests a late 15th- if not early 16th-century date for this particular example’ or ‘Margeson (1993, no. 258) illustrates a similar object from a 17th-century context in Norwich’)
      • Completeness – it helps to know whether the break is fresh (showing possible recent agricultural damage) or worn (possibly broken in antiquity or showing long-term agricultural damage).
      • Material – for a copper-alloy and iron item, which parts are copper alloy and which parts iron?
    • ‘ Oval shaped’ = oval ‘ Oval shaped in form’ = oval ‘ Triangular shaped’ = triangular, etc etc etc A medieval copper-alloy buckle. The buckle has a frame and plate. The buckle’s frame is oval. The oval frame has a straight bar. The straight bar is square in cross-section. On the straight bar is a copper-alloy pin. The pin has an open loop. etc etc etc ad nauseam! Avoid unnecessary words
    • SF-B236E4
    • LANCUM-3DF1F3
    • Anglo-Scandinavian stirrup terminal, NMS-364F65 Post-medieval book clasp, SF6153
    • Modern objects 1. The finder is desperate to get something on the database and you want to be kind 2. A good example of a difficult object, although not in itself intrinsically interesting 3. It has research potential GLO-6A97F0 BERK-600AC6 The usual cut-off date is c. 1700 AD, but there are exceptions: SF-083C15
    • LVPL-0B5F41 correct not correct! LVPL-340D82
    •