Institute of Archaeology

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IoA Collections shortlisted for VSU Organisation of the Year

6 June 2011

Volunteering project on the Institute of Archaeology collections

The Institute of Archaeology Collections were recently shortlisted as the UCLU Volunteering Services Unit's Organisation of the Year.

Volunteers were invited to nominate the organisations they work for with judges looking for those that:

  • provide excellent support and supervision
  • provide exciting and rewarding volunteering opportunities
  • enable you to contribute your own ideas and creativity
  • are efficient and well-run
  • provide excellent training and personal development opportunities

The Institute's Keeper of Collections, Rachael Sparks received a runners-up certificate at the presentation ceremony held at UCL on 26 May.

Volunteering project on the Institute of Archaeology collections

Recent volunteer projects involving the Institute's collections include:

  • Collections care
    Improving object storage by making customised mounts  - these can include polycord rings that let round based pots sit safely on flat shelving, or specially shaped cut-outs made for individual objects in boxes and drawers. This year volunteers have been working on improving storage of the Classical Collection, Petrie Palestinian Collection, and Olduvai Gorge lithics.
  • Documentation
    Conducting audits of Institute material, checking their locations within the stores and teaching rooms and making sure that this information is correct on collections databases, adding in details of the field markings and other data physically written on sherds and other objects to the record; matching objects up to various publications and improving the quality and quantity of information recorded for individual items. This year, volunteers have been working on audits and research for the Institute's Pakistan collections, material from Ian Glover's excavations at Ban Don Ta Phet in Thailand, from Al Mina in Turkey, and Neolithic lithics from Grimes Graves in England.
  • Research
    Sorting and preparing various collections for accessioning. Current projects involve the reorganisation of material from Petrie's excavations in Wadi Ghazzeh Site H, and on an important collection of groundstone objects from Jericho in the Palestinian Autonomous Authority.
  • Archives
    Creating digital images of our paper archives, and associated finding tools. Our current project is to scan all of Petrie's field records from his excavations at Tell el-'Ajjul and Tell Fara, create transcripts of the content, and add these and various keywords to a matching database, along with cross-references to the relevant parts of Petrie's site reports, which will be put online as a research tool.
Volunteering project on the Institute of Archaeology collections

All volunteers receive training on site including a general induction session, at which they are introduced to the collections, the history of how they developed, their links with the Institute and its aims, and some of the basic problems that need addressing and the sorts of projects they will be undertaking.

The Institute currently has 12 volunteers working on the collections, both Institute Masters students and others, and any enquiries about volunteering possibilities should be directed to Rachael Sparks.

Students also volunteer for public engagement events and displays and further information regarding these activities is available from the Institute's Collections Manager, Ian Carroll.

Further information about the Institute's collections is available on the Archaeology Collections Blog