General online resources of use to museum staff, related to archaeological knowledge and advice

This list is not exhaustive and will be continually added to.

In alphabetical order:

ADS – Archaeology Data Service
“The only accredited digital repository in the UK for heritage data, with over 20 years of experience supporting research, learning and teaching with free, high quality and dependable digital resources.”
The ADS also hosts a wealth of searchable ‘grey literature’ – unpublished fieldwork reports from across Scotland and further afield. See also: HERALD

ALGAO – Association for Local Government Archaeology Officers
“ALGAO provides a UK wide forum representing archaeologists working for local authorities and national parks employed by local authorities to provide advice on archaeological conservation and management.”

Archaeology Scotland
“An independent charity working to inspire communities and people to discover, explore and enjoy Scotland’s past. We coordinate the Scottish Archaeology Month in September – a bonanza of events across Scotland, campaign for the best interests for Scotland’s heritage, run Adopt-a-Monument for community groups, promote the use of archaeology in the classroom and lifelong learning and much more.” See also: DES

Arts Council England: Subject Specialist Networks

Support arts, museums and libraries through funding, as well as providing other services to support their development: recognises approximately 40 specialist networks including the Society for Museum Archaeology.

ATF – Archaeology Training Forum
“The Archaeology Training Forum is a delegate body which represents all those organisations which have an interest in the issues of training and career development in archaeology.”

BAJR – British Archaeological Jobs Resource
“BAJR Guides as a series of simple downloadable reference articles about a variety of subjects relating to archaeology.”

Canmore – National Record of the Historic Environment
“The online catalogue to Scotland’s archaeology, buildings, industrial and maritime heritage”
HERs from individual local authorities feed into Canmore though individual users can also suggest amendments and contributions to records. Canmore is operated by Historic Environment Scotland. See also: HERs

CBA – Council for British Archaeology
“An independent charity, the Council for British Archaeology brings together members, supporters and partners to give archaeology a voice and safeguard it for future generations.”

CIfA – Chartered Institute for Archaeologists
“CIfA is the leading professional body representing archaeologists working in the UK and overseas.”
CIfA has specialist groups focused on different geographical areas and subject matters, including Scotland, Archives and Finds which might be of interest.

DES – Discovery and Excavation in Scotland
Discovery and excavation in Scotland (DES) provides an accessible, comprehensive, up-to-date and informative guide to archaeological work being undertaken across Scotland.” See also: Archaeology Scotland

Drawing conventions and symbols
Symbols as seen drawn on boxes containing excavated material. Page 9 of the following document illustrates what each symbol means.

FAME – Federation of Archaeological Managers + Employers
“FAME is the distinctive voice of archaeological employers and managers, and the only organisation solely devoted to representing their interests within the profession and the business world.”

FISH – Forum on Information Standards in Heritage
“FISH, the Forum on Information Standards in Heritage will work to co-ordinate, develop, maintain and promote standards for the recording of heritage information.” Includes terminology and vocabulary lists.

HER – Historic Environment Record
Operated by local authorities, HERs are a valuable resource for detailed information on sites of archaeological and historic interest and any work undertaken on them (old or new). They are sometimes referred to as ‘SMRs’ – Sites and Monuments Records. Not all are available online but will be available to access by contacting a local authority officer.
Examples include: &
See also: Canmore and Heritage Gateway

“HERALD is the name given to the overarching project which encompasses the redevelopment of the current OASIS system, and the creation of the ADS library.” See also: OASIS, ADS


This site enables cross-searching of over 60 resources, offering local and national information relating to England’s heritage, including HERs etc.

HE – Historic England

“The public body that champions and protects England’s historic places” largely funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport. Responsible for listing, advice, research, publication, education and training: many research reports, resources and guidance published online.


The Institute of Conservation. Icon’s mission is to represent and support the practice and profession of conservation by promoting the public value of caring for cultural heritage and upholding high standards and ethics in conservation practice.

About us (

MGS – Subject Specialist Networks
“Subject Specialist Networks (SSNs) include both Scottish national, and UK-wide, groups. SSNs tend to be structured around knowledge-sharing among holders of specific collections types”

OASIS – Online AccesS to the Index of archaeological investigationS
The OASIS form is a data capture form through which archaeological and heritage practitioners can provide information about their investigations to local Historic Environment Records (HERs) and respective National Heritage Bodies. See also: HERALD

Interactive historical maps, operated by Historic Environment Scotland

Portable Antiquities Scheme & Finds database

The Portable Antiquities Scheme is run by the British Museum and National Museum Wales to encourage the recording of archaeological objects found by members of the public in England and Wales. Finds recorded with the Scheme help advance knowledge of the history and archaeology of England and Wales.  It has a searchable database and online identification guides plus information pages about Treasure (England & Wales).

PSAS – Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
“The Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland is the premier journal covering all aspects of Scotland’s archaeology and history.” Often referenced as ‘Proc Soc Antiq Scot’. See also: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland

SAIR – Scottish Archaeological Internet Reports
“SAIR is an online, Gold Open Access, fully peer-reviewed journal and has been publishing excavation reports of national significance since 2001.”

ScARF – Scottish Archaeological Research Framework
“The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework is designed to be the go to resource for Scottish archaeology, one which provides an overview of the subject and also a set of useful and relevant research questions for everyone to use.” Managed by the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, ScARF in turn oversees regional research frameworks being undertaken in Scotland. See also: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland

SHED – Scotland’s Historic Environment Data
“The SHED Strategy is a sector-wide initiative to improve access to information about Scotland’s historic environment. The key aim is to work in partnership in order to protect, promote and enhance Scotland’s historic environment through coordinated activity to improve the data, and the associated systems and processes.”

SMA – Society for Museum Archaeology
SMA exists to “promote the interests of archaeology in museums throughout the United Kingdom.” A 3-year Archaeology Collecting Survey in England is currently underway; the annual surveys published to date make for interesting reading.

SMR – Sites and Monuments Record

 Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
“For over two hundred years the Society has promoted the research and conservation of Scotland’s historical and archaeological environment, art and heritage.” See also: PSAS, SAIR, ScARF

Treasure Trove ( Scotland)
“The role of Treasure Trove is to ensure that objects of cultural significance from Scotland’s past are protected for the benefit of the nation and preserved in museums across the country.”

See Portable Antiquities Scheme above for Treasure (England & Wales)

To promote the interests of archaeology in museums throughout the United Kingdom