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Archaeological archives increasingly suffer from space and resource shortages. Finds in stores increasingly are inaccessible to both scholars and the public; if they don’t slowly rust, mould or rot there due to suboptimal storage conditions. The percentage of the stored sources that have been analysed and published in any meaningful way rarely exceeds single figures. Most archives are full, many more than full, some have reached the point where they must consider refusing to take in new finds. This results in a selection of archaeological sources based on the principle of random sampling. In this contribution, it is argued that we direly need to adopt and apply radical strategic selection strategies, starting in the field during data collection, supplemented by further selection at the point of accessioning, and finally, in the revision of existing collections. Only this will allow us to cope in the long term not just with the continuing stream of new finds that must be collected, but also ensure a sustainable preservation of those sources that are truly important to maintain in perpetuity. The surplus created by radical selection, of finds not worthy of long term preservation, should in turn be used to strengthen public perception of the importance of archaeology and to gain additional economic and social capital, which in turn can be used to further strengthen archaeology
Original languageGerman
JournalArchäologische Informationen
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2015

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