Skip to main content

Archaeology (old guide): Getting started

Subjects: Archaeology

Information on PCAS: printing, copying & scanning facilities in the Bodleian Libraries

Other links

Bodleian iSkills  (Workshops in Information Discovery and Scholarly Communications) - These workshops are aimed at researchers, academic staff, research students and librarians from across the University.

Research and Resources Guides -  a wide range of research, resource and library guides are available from our  LibGuides service.

Main collections

The premier research library for the study of archaeology in Oxford University is the Sackler Library, which incorporates the former constituent departmental libraries of the Ashmolean Museum and strongly reflects the collection strengths of the Museum. Beyond the sphere of Europe and Asia the Balfour Library supports the archaeological collections in the Pitt Rivers Museum. The Bodleian Library is an important additional resource, especially for later (historical) periods, for British archaeology and for UK-published journals.


Libraries & Reading Rooms: Principal collections

The Sackler Library is home to the main research collections in Old World Archaeology as well as Art History and Numismatics. The principal areas of coverage are the ancient Near East including Egypt (the Griffith Institute Library); Europe, North Africa and the Mediterranean from the Neolithic to the medieval period (with a strong focus on the classical world); the Islamic world, India and the Far East (the Eastern Art Library). There is also coverage of the theory and practice of archaeology, but the main strength of the collection lies in the primary materials such as site reports and museum catalogues, documenting the history, topography, art and technology of the above areas.

The majority of books in the Sackler Library are on open shelves. Many of the books and periodicals in the collection may be borrowed, although major reference works and all Eastern Art Library books are confined to the library.

The Bodleian Library has, by virtue of its UK copyright library status, accumulated a comprehensive collection of books in the field of British topography and archaeology. There are also numerous works on medieval archaeology supporting the medieval history collections. Most of this material is not located on open access.  

Libraries & Reading Rooms: Associated collections

The Balfour Library, which is housed in the Pitt Rivers Museum, holds the University’s research collections on the archaeology of sub-Saharan Africa, the Americas and Australasia. They are held together with the collections on the ethnography of these areas. The Balfour Library also includes material on the Palaeolithic period worldwide and on the theory and methods of archaeology.


Important e-Resources

Both the Bodleian Library and Sackler Library have facilities for readers to access online and CD-ROM databases through OxLIP+ which is also available on any computer on the University network.

Selecting Archaeology from the Subject list on the Find database page in OXLIP+ provides a useful starting point for general and archaeology-related resources available in Oxford.

Selecting the Find e-Journal page in OXLIP+ provides access to the index of periodicals (including many archaeology titles) to which the University has online subscriptions. The full text of periodical articles can be accessed through this index; alternatively the full text can be accessed by selecting View online directly from the entry for the periodical in the SOLO catalogue.