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EAC Working Group for Archaeological Archives

​In the last decades, the number of archaeological excavations has increased considerably and the standards of analysing and recording have improved. This has resulted in the growing volume of archaeological archives, including written or graphic documentation both analogue and digital, archaeological finds and samples of various natures. These heterogeneous collections are extremely precious, being often the only testimony left to witness archaeological heritage that has been destroyed.

Archiving issues were discussed in 2007 during the EAC Symposium in Metz. The topics raised included: ​

  • The definition of the archaeological archive to be placed in permanent storage and a legal basis to that definition;

  • Legal issues, responsibility for conservation and curation of the archive;

  • Procedures of selection and retention;

  • Storage and standards of conservation;

  • Accessibility of the archive.


​The symposium revealed that the EAC members share the same main issues and that the development of best practice guidance and an overarching standard for European archaeological archives was a desirable goal. This led to the formation of an EAC Working Group for Archaeological Archives.

​Guidelines for archaeological archiving - the ARCHES project 

The activities of the EAC-working party for archaeological archives resulted in the EU co-funded ARCHES project to establish common standards and guidance for the creation, preparation and deposition of archaeological archives in Europe.

The resulting "Standard and Guide to Best Practice in Archaeological Archiving in Europe" was published online on 31st May 2014 as the EAC Guidelines 1. The text is available in nine languages.

The "Standard and Guide…" addresses archiving issues at all stages of an archaeological project regarding all elements of the archive. It is applicable to the compilation of new archives as well as to the existing ones and should, when possible, be regarded as a standard to be applied also by repositories.

Current work of the group

Current activities of the EACWGAA focus on guidance on selection in archaeological archiving and the digital archiving.

With regard to the former, the group’s actions are based on results of the survey on the practice of selection in archaeological archiving carried out in 2018. They aim at preparation of ancillary guidelines on selection strategies and procedures.


As for the latter, the work is to concentrate, first, on the existing organisational, legal, and procedural aspect of archaeological archiving, as well as the theoretical basis for adopting particular solutions.


Agnieszka Oniszczuk, PL (chair)

David Novák, CZ        (co-chair)



Peter Bisták,     SK

René Ployer, AT

Kaatje De Langhe, BE (Flanders)

Barbara Gumbert, NL (Leiden)

Rhonda Robinson, UK (Northern Ireland) 

Claire Tsang, UK (England)

Juliane Watson, DE


Corresponding members:

Till Scholz, CH

Marcus Smith, SE

Agnes Stefansdottir, ISL

Christoph Blesl, AT


E-mail the Working Group for Archaeological Archives at: and



Archive WG image website June 2019.jpg
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