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Archaeology: Getting started

A guide to resources for archaeologists at Oxford.

Purpose of this guide

This guide is intended for students and researchers at the University of Oxford seeking support in Archaeology, although students and researchers from any field may find it useful.
Use this guide to find out about printed and online resources, including ebooks, ejournals, databases, and special collections for Archaeology.

2020-2021 Graduate research skills workshops

Induction handouts

Introductory resources

Oxford Bibliographies : Archaeology : Oxford Bibliographies Online are comprehensive subject bibliographies, which provide an up-to-date overview of the most recent and authoritative scholarship in a given field.

Oxford Handbook of Archaeology : This book is a comprehensive treatment of the subject and covers all the key debates. It is designed to open up the world of archaeology to non-specialists and to provide a starting point for those who want to pursue particular topics in more depth.

Springer encyclopedia of global archaeology : Contains 1626 entries spanning all regions, eras and topics in Archaeology


Archaeology collections

Archaeology collections are held across the Sackler, Balfour and also in the Bodleian Book Storage Facility.

The Sackler Library incorporates the former constituent departmental libraries of the Ashmolean Museum and strongly reflects the collection strengths of the Museum. The Sackler also holds materials relating to the Archaeology of Asia on the third floor. 

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.  Materials related to New World Archaeology can also be found in the Bodleian Book Storage Facility and are available for stack request.

Sackler Library: 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.

Balfour Library: Principle 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.