Ontario's Archaeological Curation Crisis - Twenty Years Later
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Archaeological collections are cherished for future educational opportunities, cultural or spiritual reasons and archaeological research. With the ongoing destruction of archaeological sites, the information stored in these collections is quite valuable as it becomes the only remaining evidence of past life. Unfortunately, in Ontario, archaeological collections are at risk of becoming lost, destroyed or misplaced because they are stored privately without specific management guidelines. After interviewing five professional Ontario archaeologists, it was made clear that financial restrictions within the heritage sector limit the adequate care of archaeological collections, suggesting that traditional solutions remain challenging. Over the last decade, improper care has rendered many collections unusable for archaeological research. For these reasons, archaeological collections with remaining research potential must be prioritized and curated appropriately over collections with no remaining archaeological value. Preventative measures such as avoidance and legislation should be adopted to prevent future curation problems in the province. Importantly, this study has identified that future research is needed to determine the specific archaeological potential in Ontario’s privately stored collections and to discuss our current options responding to this problem. This research is important to archaeologists and to anyone else who appreciates the shared value in Ontario’s archaeological past.
Cite this work
Stuart Karrow (2017). Ontario's Archaeological Curation Crisis - Twenty Years Later. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/11222