Preparing the Archive

Packing the Finds




Hannah Clay

It’s been all go these past few months for #TeamNAA on the A1 Motorway Scheme Project. We’ve been getting all the artefacts ready and preparing to send them to their new museum home.


The museums that take the collections are often chosen by their proximity to the site, and which local authority the site is situated in. York Museums Trust is the official repository for archives of excavations undertaken locally, and this section of the A1 falls under its jurisdiction.

To ship these artefacts safely, and to keep them stable while in the museum archive environment, we use a variety of different materials, including acid-free tissue paper, foam and crystal boxes and ‘Stewart boxes’, which have airtight lids with some silica gel placed inside to keep them dry. The material used depends on the fragility and/or substance of the find being packaged.



Before the artefacts go, they have to be labelled with an accession number.  An accession number is a unique identifying code that the museum gives to each of the finds, which is recorded in their catalogue is so that if the artefact is misplaced, it can be easily reintegrated with the rest of the collection.


The number gets stamped onto the finds bags and written on Tyvek labels placed into them. Tyvek are made from high-density polyethylene fibres. It is stronger than paper and it has a neutral pH balance and has tear and water-resistant properties.



Find out more about the A1 project with our monographs Death Burial and Identity: 3000 Years of Death in the Vale of Mowbray and Contact, Concord and Conquest: Britons and Romans at Scotch Corner both of which can be found on the Archaeology Data Service.


Keep your eyes peeled for our final monograph Establishment, Consolidation and Retreat, which will be released soon!

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