Archaeology Collection Policy


subject description and guidelines

  • Cornell University Library has strong holdings in the archaeological literature on most periods and places of past human cultures and civilizations. The collection scope described in this document covers only a subset of these holdings and only a portion of the overall field of archaeology, specifically: (1) general and theoretical works on historical archaeology, works on specific types of archaeology (e.g., environmental, social, industrial, underwater), archaeological techniques and methods, surveys of archaeological discoveries across two or more major geographical/cultural areas, and the history of archaeology; and (2) prehistoric and historical archaeology of the Greco-Roman world and ancient Near East. General and theoretical works on prehistoric archaeology are collected as part of the Anthropology subject collection. Information about holdings in and selection criteria for the archaeology of specific world regions can be found in the descriptions of the respective regional history or area studies collections.


  • Archaeology is an interdisciplinary field at Cornell. The Program in Archaeology awards bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Archaeology, with major concentrations in environmental archaeology, historical archaeology, Latin American archaeology, medieval archaeology, Mediterranean and Near Eastern archaeology, and Stone-age archaeology. The Program includes faculty from the Departments of Anthropology, Asian Studies, City and Regional Planning, Classics, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, History, History of Art and Visual Studies, Landscape Architecture, and Near Eastern Studies. The graduate field of History of Art, Archaeology, and Visual Studies offers a Ph.D. program in the History of Art and Archaeology; the concentration in Archaeology emphasizes Ancient, Near Eastern, Classical, and Southeast Asian art.


collection strength

  • Within the specified geographical, historical, and subject parameters, Olin Library holds most reports of standard excavations/expeditions, and full runs of the major journals. The Library maintains acquires book series from all major publishers, and attempts to add all new major journals. Selection of monographs is more selective.

collection level

  • research

geographical guidelines

  • Acquired for this collection are materials on the archaeology of the Greco-Roman world and ancient Near East, as well as publications that cover the archaeology of multiple world areas. Information about holdings in and selection criteria for the archaeology of specific world regions can be found in the descriptions of the respective regional history or area studies collections.

areas of significant geographic coverage

    country (self-governing)

    • Austria
    • Bulgaria
    • Cyprus
    • Egypt
    • France
    • Germany
    • Greece
    • Iran
    • Iraq
    • Italy
    • Libya
    • Portugal
    • Romania
    • Spain
    • Switzerland
    • Syria
    • Tunisia
    • Turkey 

    language guidelines

    • English, German, Italian, French and Spanish are the principal languages. Publications in other languages are acquired selectively.


    • French
    • German
    • Italian
    • Spanish

    chronological guidelines

    • This library subject collection is focused on the archaeology of the Ancient Near East and Classical world from prehistoric times to around 500 C.E. Works covering the archaeology of two or more major geographical/cultural areas and works on archaeological theory and methods are also included in the scope of this collection, but for these materials, the chronological parameters are narrower and include only historical archaeology (i.e., the study of the material remains of societies that also left written remains). Publications from the 19th century to the present represent the bulk of the Library’s holdings in archaeology.


    • Works on prehistoric archaeology covering multiple world areas are acquired as part of the anthropology collection. Works on theory and methods of prehistoric archaeology likewise fall within the scope of the anthropology subject collection.

    material types

    • The Library acquires the major international journals and monographic series in the field, as well as new individual book titles from the U.S. and Europe. Many journals (current issues and back files) and, increasingly, books are made available in electronic form. The Library provides access to most of the major databases used in Classical and Near Eastern archaeology, such as L'Année philologique, Dyabola (Subject Catalogues of the German Archaeological Institute), and New Pauly Online.


housed in

  • Library Annex
  • Olin Library

special collections or noteworthy resources in the field

  • The Library’s Rare and Manuscript Collections hold 197 cuneiform tablets, most dating from the Old Babylonian period (ca. 2000-1595 B.C.E.) and some from the Ur III period (ca. 2100-2000 B.C.E.). The Library’s cuneiform holdings complement larger collections housed in the Jonathan and Jeannette Rosen Ancient Near Eastern Studies Seminar in the Department of Near Eastern Studies. All are represented in the digital Cuneiform Library at Cornell University, which is hosted by the Library (

related library subject collection


associated with organization

  • academic department

    • Classics (CLASS)
    • History of Art and Visual Studies (ART H)
    • Landscape Architecture (LA)
    • Near Eastern Studies (NES)

    graduate field/program

    • Anthropology
    • Archaeology
    • Classics
    • Geological Sciences
    • History
    • History of Art, Archaeology and Visual Studies
    • Landscape Architecture
    • Near Eastern Studies 

    academic unit

    • Cornell Institute of Archaeology and Material Studies (CIAMS)


    • Anthropology (ANTHR)
    • History (HIST)


    library contact

    • Cole, Virginia A. -  Classics, History, & Medieval Studies Librarian