Guidelines for the Submission of Archaeological Collections and Records to the Center for Archaeological Studies Curatorial Facility
Archaeological materials to be curated at CAS must be submitted in a form consistent with the curatorial standards established by the Texas Historical Commission, the Council for Texas Archeologists and the Center for Archaeological Studies at Texas State University San Marcos. Items not meeting these standards will be returned at the submitter’s cost and/or subject to additional cost for the preparation of collections to meet these standards and become ready for final curation. Curation standards implemented by CAS are tailored to make collections and records compatible with our collections management software, and are briefly stated below. Please contact CAS’s curatorial staff at (512) 245-2724 to set up an appointment or if you have any question concerning the following procedures.
Field Curation Guidelines for the Submitting Archaeologist
Field curation and recordation practices and procedures should be:
1. Consistent with the guidelines and standards established by the Council for Texas Archaeologists.
2. Stated in the research design and approved by the lead agency responsible for the enforcement of environmental laws and regulations.
3. Include provisions that a representative sample of all classes of cultural materials should be retained unless there is an overarching concern (e.g., health risk, repatriation of human burial remains to culturally affiliated groups, or impracticality of stabilization).
4. Coordinated with and approved by CAS’s collections manager.
Post-Field Curation Guidelines for the Submitting Archaeologist
1. Please fill out, sign and submit a digital and a hard copy of our Request for Housing form. This form should be submitted and approved prior to the submission of the collection. CAS’s collections manager will check either “curation approved” or “curation denied” on the form and return a signed copy to the SA. If approved, the signed and returned Request for Housing form will also act as the Provisional Housing Agreement. This document is the agreement that CAS will provide curation for the collection, assuming that our curation requirements are met.
2. Acquire Transfer/Ownership and/or Deed of Gift documents from client and/or landowners.
3. Process records and recovered material according to the standards established by the THC, CTA and CAS.
4. Complete the appropriate curation forms:
· No collections will be approved for final curation without the submission of the required forms. Two forms are required to transfer the ownership or specific custodianship of the collections from the contracting firm and the sponsor/owner of the project (Transfer from Sponsor and Transfer of Held-in-Trust). In some cases the Held-in-Trust transfer form serves the purpose of these two forms when the sponsor is also the property owner. A deed of gift form must accompany all collections from private lands. For Held-in-Trust collections CAS asks that submitting archaeologists submit a copy of the Artifact Curation Form with the top portion filled out, and an Agreement for State of Texas Held-in-Trust Objects/Collections Form with the table filled out. Additional forms include a CAS Curation Submittal Checklist and Collections Processing Record.
5. Set up a delivery date and time with CAS’s curatorial staff prior to the submission of the collection for permanent curation.
· Upon delivery, the collection (materials and records) will be checked by CAS’s curatorial staff for compliance. If problems are found and the collection is not ready for final curation, CAS will inform the contractor and will either return the collection for corrections or make the corrections in-house. CAS will send an invoice for curation charges including labor charges if corrections were made in-house.
6. Once the SA has met all applicable curation obligations, the curation bill is paid and the collection has been accessioned, CAS will send a letter stating acceptance of the collection(s) and that the collection(s) is now the responsibility of CAS. For permitted/Held-in-Trust projects, CAS will send the Artifact Curation Form to the THC, as well as a copy to the contractor.
Standards for Preparing Archaeological Collections and Records
1. All collections, including records and materials, must be complete before submission for curation. A CAS Curation Submittal Checklist must be submitted with all collections at the time of delivery.
2. All materials will be cleaned and preserved using CAS/THC approved, nondestructive, and reversible techniques. Cleaning and preservation techniques and materials used will be documented on the Collections Processing Record that will be submitted with the collection to be curated.
3. A completed Artifact Catalog/Specimen Inventory list must be submitted with all collections. Please submit a hard copy and an electronic version. This inventory will be verified prior to acceptance for final curation. This inventory must:
a. Be formatted in an Excel database.
b. Include separate columns for:
i. Material- The material(s) from which an artifact is manufactured.
ii. Object Name- The name or analytical category of the item or group of items. These analytical categories must correspond to those used for analysis, final reporting and packaging labels.
iii. Description-A description of the item(s). CAS welcomes you to be as detailed and/or lengthy with descriptions as you wish.
c. Accurately reflect the quantity of material in the collection.
d. Include all available provenience information (in separate columns).
e. Include a column for counts. If items have been weighed, please also include a column for weight.
f. Include a column for lot numbers. One lot number per horizontal provenience should be assigned. Each site needs its own set of lot numbers.
g. Be accompanied by an explanation of the cataloguing systems.
4. In addition to the artifact inventory, a baseline inventory should also be submitted. The baseline inventory will include: project name, date, permit #, a total count and weight of all artifacts by material class (e.g. ceramics – count: 54, weight: 34g) and the amount of records to be curated in linear inches.
5. CAS will box submitted materials in 18” x 11” x 6” boxes. The cost of these boxes is included in the curation costs. Materials, should be packaged so that a minimum amount of labor is expended in moving the materials into their new containers.
6. Materials are to be submitted in the analytical categories used for analysis and reporting. Groups of items must be clearly identified by analytical category through the use of a tag prominently displayed inside the bag. Labeling directly applied to the zip locking bag will not fulfill this requirement and is not acceptable.
7. Individually labeled items should include site designation and intra-site provenience designations (lot/provenience system). Labels should be created by writing the information with permanent ink (archival stable) on a base coat of Acryloid B-72 and then top coated with Acryloid B-72. Dark specimens should be labeled with white Acryloid B-72 or archival stable white ink. The use of whiteout or clear nail polish will not be accepted. A PVA resin is acceptable if acetone or ethanol has been used as the solvent. The standard artifact labeling format is the full site trinomial, with the lot number directly underneath. Example:
8. Paper bags will not be acceptable for curation at CAS. 4-milimeter thick zip locking polyethylene bags are to be used for all artifacts. All bags must have a clearly visible tag inside the bag. Writing on the bag is not an acceptable substitute for a tag. Organic materials should never be in direct contact with tag. Double bagging may be necessary for heavy and bulk samples.
9. All artifact tags/labels must be on acid-free paper. Information must be written in pencil or archival ink. Labels must be visible within the bag, legible and accurate at time of submission. All tags/labels must include the following: Project Name and # (if assigned),
Date of Investigation
Lot/Cat or Tracking #
Object Name (analytical category)
*If items have been weighed, please include the weight on the tag as well.
Any changes made to tags during analysis and reporting must correspond with the submitted inventory. Labor expended to make these changes will be added to the curation invoice.
10. The submission of human remains must be arranged in advance. Human remains will not be accepted without clear documentation as to NAGPRA status.
11. Provide a simple project history that clearly states the official project name and number, counties involved, dates of work and who the work was completed for. List names of the principle investigator, the project archaeologist and names of crewmembers (use complete names; no abbreviations). Also state nature of work conducted (survey, testing, etc).
12. Paper records will be submitted in archival folders and labeled with project name, number (if applicable), year, site number, permit # (if applicable) intrasite provenience (if applicable), folder contents, and submitting contractor/agency. Submit a master inventory or table of contents that lists in detail the contents of each folder. Include number of pages. Records should be separated into unit/level records, feature forms, daily journals, etc. A photographic log should be submitted with both records and with the photographs. Original records are not necessary; clear copies on acid-free paper are acceptable. Records that are soiled, marked with pen, ink, or sharpie will be placed in archival quality page protectors. A copy of the Texas Antiquities Permit shall accompany all Held-In-Trust Collections.
13. Digital Photographs will be submitted on an archival stable CD or DVD in a standard format. A contact sheet clearly displaying each image with its accompanying image/file number will also accompany each CD. The contact sheet must be printed on acid-free paper using a color laser printer. Ink-jet images will not be accepted. A photographic log will accompany each CD.
14. Collections and Records must be delivered in person to CAS at:
601 University Drive
San Marcos, TX 78666
Please feel free to contact CAS to set up an appointment for delivery or to discuss the costs and fees charged to process materials for final curation acceptance.