The basements of the Hearst Museum in 2010

Hearst Museum # 5-10637 (*)
In April 2010 it will be three years since I started working as Research Archaeologist at the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology whose public gallery lies nested in the south side of Kroeber Hall on the UC Berkeley campus. My office is in a basement; one of the many basements the museum collections are stored in. There are no windows and I can't have my coffee on the desk. There are however, endless rows of cabinets packed with archaeological material accumulated in over hundred years of research. Over 7000 sites, 7000 dots on a world map are represented, from small samples for teaching and comparative values to entire assemblages. The museum has functioned as a repository for faculty and graduate students excavating in California and overseas since its foundation. One of the projects I'm currently working on is a complete inventory of the Old World prehistoric collections that include a number of important archaeological sites in Europe, the Middle East, India, and especially Africa. With the help of students and volunteers, over 60,000 artifacts from the Lower Paleolithic to the Bronze Age had been located and re-housed. They haven't been actively used in teaching for some time now and therefore going to a more stable storage.
Hearst Museum # 7-1425 (%)

The collections are beautiful and most have interesting stories to tell. In some cases we don't know the finale as we come across assemblages that were deposited with less documentation than others. As we proceeded I thought that some of these objects and stories deserved a little highlight.
For those who'd like to see more objects and are not terribly interested  in prehistory and stone tools the museum has a browser that searches across all the collections.
I also hope to include different types of object - especially from the ethnographic and media collections - from time to time.
Hearst Museum #5-1368 ($)
While I wish that the blog could be of interest to anthropologists and researchers the posts are chiefly written having in mind a non-professional audience. Bibliographic references are generally not included but I'll do my best to provide them if so requested. Feel free to write either as comments on posts or directly to my email. I've never been much of a blogger but I took inspiration from Allison Lewis who works in the Conservation Department and started posting about their effort with the Egyptian objects that would go on exhibit later this year.
If you live in the Bay Area I hope to see you in our gallery. Admission is free for all.

(*) Hearst Museum # 5-10637
Pot; reconstructed
Sudan; Jebel Tomat
Collected by J. Desmond Clark, 1972-1973

(%) Hearst Museum # 7-1425
Endscraper, flint
France; Valley of Correze near Brive; Puy-de-Lacan (Level A; Magdalenian)
Collected by Mr. and Mrs. H. H. Kidder, 1931

($) Hearst Museum # 5-1368
Chipped shell knife
Kenya; Turkana District
Collected by University of California African Expedition, 1947-1948