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Book: The Five-Minute Archaeologist in the Southern Levant

Chapter: 53. How do artifacts end up In museums?

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.27902


Each artefact you see in a museum has had a complicated journey from creation to deposition and from rediscovery to the museum case (or storage room). Together, all the chapters of this story might be called the object’s biography. The most recent chapter of a museum object’s biography—how that object ended up in a museum—can range from straightforward to extremely convoluted and ethically complex. This essay will briefly discuss the four categories of acquisition that will in general encompass the particularities of any individual object’s story: (a) purchase, (b) gift, (c) sponsoring an archaeological excavation, or (d) loan.

Chapter Contributors

  • Helen Dixon ( - hdixon) 'University of Helsinki'