Collection Selector

Ruth Thomas


Mugar Memorial Library

General Purpose of the Collection

The Archaeology collection reflects the interests of the Department of Archaeology in the College of Arts and Sciences and in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. The collection consists of materials on the behavior, social organization, arts and crafts, ways of life, and thoughts of people of the distant and recent past.

The collection supports the Department of Archaeology’s curriculum, including laboratory and field work. Laboratory work involves paleoethnobotany, micromorphological techniques, and soils research. Field work programs are conducted in field schools in Belize, Syria, and Spain. Students may concentrate in Old World prehistoric and historical (Mediterranean, Near Eastern, East Asian, South Asian, or African) archaeology, or in New World prehistoric and historical (colonial American, industrial, New England, Mesoamerican, and Latin American) archaeology. The Department’s undergraduate concentration leads to a BA degree in Archaeology. The Department’s graduate program leads to the MA and PhD degrees in Archaeology, and MA degrees in Archaeological Heritage Management and Geoarchaeology.

Faculty fieldwork includes survey, excavation, and laboratory study in Bermuda, China, Egypt (Mersa/Wadi Gawasis), Gibraltar, Greece, Guatemala, Israel, Massachusetts (Boston and the Wakefield Estate), Mexico (Dzibilchaltun, Yucatan), Monserrat West Indies (Carr Estate at Little Bay), Pakistan, South Africa, Spain (Menorca), Turkey (Central Lydia Archaeological Survey Projects), Crete, and Yugoslavian Macedonia (Stobi).

Faculty research interests include Bronze and Iron Age archaeology of Anatolia, Syria, and Mesopotamia; East, Southeast, and Central Asian archaeology; paleoenvironments and Quaternary landscape evolution in the deserts of Israel and Sinai; origins and dispersal of agriculture; archaeology of Predynastic and pharaonic Egypt; the early African state of Aksum (northern Ethiopia/Eritrea); Greek and Roman art and archaeology; North American prehistory; Maya archaeology; paleoethnobotany of the Balkans and Near East, including Egypt; early Holocene foragers; emergence and decline of complex societies; historical and industrial archaeology of the Americas and the British Isles; colonial archaeology of the Caribbean; material culture studies; lithic technology; landscape archaeology; Geographical Information Systems; remote sensing and image processing techniques; geoarchaeology; archaeometallurgy; gender and equity issues in archaeology; international archaeological heritage management; U.S. cultural resource management; public archaeology; archaeological writing for the public; and theory and method of archaeology.

The Archaeology collection also is a resource for the several professional societies, research centers, and publications located at Boston University. Among them are the American Center of Oriental Research; the American Schools of Oriental Research; the Archaeological Institute of America; the Center for Remote Sensing; the Central Lydia Archaeological Survey; and the International Center for East Asian Archaeology and Cultural History.

Archaeological journals and publications edited at Boston University include Geoarchaeology, the Journal of East Asian Archaeology, and the Journal of Field Archaeology.

The Archaeology collection, which reflects the subject’s highly interdisciplinary nature combining several of the social and natural sciences with humanities, supports the needs of students, staff, and researchers in the broader University community. Archaeology materials are useful for study and research in the Departments of African Studies, American and New England Studies, Anthropology, Art History, Classical Studies, History, Preservation Studies, and Religion.

Scope of Coverage

Languages collected (primary and selective) or excluded
English language material is emphasized. However, significant material, e.g., final excavation site reports for geographical areas covered in the collection which are published in the language of the sponsors, is purchased regardless of language. Generally, these languages are European.
Geographical areas covered by the collections in terms of intellectual content, publication sources, or both, and specific areas excluded, as appropriate
Geographical areas covered are Europe; the Near and Middle East; East Asia (China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Russian East Asia), Central Asia, and mainland Southeast Asia; Egypt, Ethiopia, North Africa, and Nubia; and the U.S., Central America, and, to a lesser extent, South America. Publication sources are mainly American, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Italian, and Spanish, including Mexican.
Chronological periods covered by the collection in terms of intellectual content, movements or schools, and specific periods excluded, as appropriate
All time periods, from prehistoric through the twentieth century, are covered.
Chronological periods collected in terms of publication dates, and specific periods excluded, as appropriate
Current material is acquired. Earlier material is purchased to fill in a series gap, to replace a significant work that is missing, or in response to faculty and student recommendations.

General Subject Boundaries and Library Locations

The subject scope of this collection is primarily determined by the following Library of Congress call number ranges.


  • CC 1-960 : Archaeology
  • CE : Ancient Chronology
  • DE 46-73 : Classical Greek and Roman Archaeology
  • DS 56 : Middle and Near Eastern Archaeology
  • DS 509 : East Asian Archaeology
  • DS 715 : Chinese Archaeology
  • DS 809 : Japanese Archaeology
  • DT 57 : Egyptian Archaeology
  • T 37 : Industrial Archaeology
  • Z 1201-4980.A-.Z : National Bibliography
  • Z 5131-5134 : Archaeology Bibliography
  • Z 8001-8999 : Personal Bibliography

Collected selectively:

  • BR 130 : Early Christian Archaeology
  • CJ : Numismatics, Coins, Medals, Medallions
  • CN 120-475 : Ancient Inscriptions
  • D 78 : European Archaeology
  • D 90 : Celtic, Germanic, Anglo-Saxon, Nordic Archaeology
  • D 125 : Medieval Archaeology
  • DS 11 : Asian Archaeology
  • E 61 : American Archaeology
  • F 1435 : Mayas
  • GN 700-890 : Prehistoric Archaeology
  • VM 6-18 : Ships, Ancient; Archaeology

Mugar Memorial Library houses almost all of the items. Some Industrial Archaeology materials are located in the Science and Engineering Library.

The selector for Archaeology consults with selectors in several other subject areas:

Related subjects and Interdisciplinary Relationships

African Studies
The African Studies Selectors collect works on archaeology of sub-Saharan Africa. Some overlap may occur in works dealing with Meroe and Nubia.
Human ecology, anthropogeography, and anthropology (GN 1-673) are collected by the Anthropology Selector, who also selectively acquires North American prehistory (E 51-78).
Art History
In general, materials related to the stylistic analysis and historical interpretation of excavated monuments and artistic objects are acquired by the Art History Selector. Materials on the discovery and preservation of ancient art usually are acquired by the Archaeology Selector.
Much of the material on the Greek and Roman civilizations, e.g., commerce, history, literature, sociology, and religion, and their spheres of geographical influence, as well as material on the earlier and contemporary civilizations, is acquired by the Classics Selector unless the emphasis of the subject matter is archaeological.

Types of Materials

Books, excavation reports, and reference materials, including atlases, bibliographies, dictionaries, directories, encyclopedias, and indexes and abstracts.
Collected Selectively
Dissertations and theses, electronic resources, government documents, microforms, periodicals, and proceedings.
Not Collected
Artifacts, juvenile and popular books, maps, and software.

Other On-Campus or Local Resources

The Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, located in Mugar Memorial Library, has developed a History of Archaeology Collection. This research and teaching collection covers archaeological writing by scholars in Europe and the Americas from the 17th to the 19th century. The geographical emphasis is on the archaeology of Europe, the Mediterranean lands, the Near East (including Egypt and Highland Ethiopia), and Mesoamerica.

The International Center for East Asian Archaeology and Cultural History Research Library, located at 650 Beacon Street, holds over 6,000 books and journals, 12,000 photos and slides, and hundreds of maps. Forming the core of this collection is the extensive personal research library of the eminent archaeologist and scholar of ancient China, Prof. Kwang-chih Chang.

The Pappas Law Library collects materials on international law and legislation governing the protection of cultural property.

The School of Theology Library has materials on Biblical and Near East archaeology.

The Stone Science Library, located at 675 Commonwealth Avenue, focuses on archaeology, remote sensing, and geography. It holds a collection of 10,000 books and bound journals, maps, microfiche, slides, and atlases. The archival collection includes the Will Myers Aerial Photograph archives.