Types of collection

Collections are grouped into four different types:

Sites, monuments and event records

A catalogue of archaeological sites and monuments records provides summary details of archaeological research in the UK. It combines records from numerous heritage agencies as well as thematic research projects. An innovative map-based search tool allows fast access to location-based searches, and controlled vocabularies can be invoked to narrow searches. Results can be viewed online or combined into small database files for use offline. Where possible, these records link to other online resources including digital archives. They provide further bibliographic references and contact details for further study.

Research Archives

Archives include fieldwork projects and lab-based artefact and environmental studies. Archived data can be downloaded and analysed off line. This includes all manner of data types, with an emphasis on those data sets that cannot easily be presented in paper publication, but which are nonetheless essential to research. This varies between projects, but includes unprocessed geophysical and topographic survey data, stratigraphic databases and their matrices, photographic images, metrical data, and specialist finds reports.

Special collections

Some archives are presented with specially created interfaces, where they can be queried and processed online. This includes those cases where the total number of files is too large to be presented as a list of files, or where depositors have created their own interfaces to data. It also presents data such as artefact-based collections that do not integrate well into the metadata engine.


A range of library-style collections are also presented, including the full texts of the CBA Research Reports and Occasional Papers, the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and a growing number of electronic books, theses and other printed matter. It includes bibliographic databases for use by specialist researchers, and the catalogue of the Society of Antiquaries of London. The Library also includes the ArchWay suite of tools, consisting of a union catalogue of archaeology serials in UK academic libraries, and a table of contents service for the leading 14 journals.

Some highlights

... or browse the complete list of collections.

New User? Learn how to use these collections ...

All the collections are available free of charge for bona fide teaching learning and research from: http://ads.ahds.ac.uk/catalogue/ Clicking on "I agree" takes you to the main search screen. Individual collections or files can be linked directly from external websites using the stable url provided. Collections are further supported by a bespoke set of teaching resources that are recommended for those unfamiliar with the sorts of information produced by archaeologists.

Finding out about new collections

An email alert service - ads-all@jiscmail.ac.uk - carries news of new collections as they are released with details of forthcoming events and news. A dedicated "news feed" can be used to syndicate news about recently added collections to remote websites such as departmental web pages or library web servers.