An initial map of General Pitt-Rivers' English archaeological collections

A map of Pitt-Rivers' English archaeological collections, assembled during the 1860s and 1870s
Earlier this month, the Excavating Pitt-Rivers team downloaded and transferred our project data, and shared it with our project partners - the British Museum's Portable Antiquities Scheme, as we move into the next phase of the project. The data comprise the locations at which the c. 10,986 English archaeological objects acquired by General Pitt-Rivers between c. 1866 and 1880 were excavated or found. These objects are those held by the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, and so do not include his later excavations on his estate at Cranborne Chase in the 1880s and 1890s: instead, they are a snapshot of the younger Pitt-Rivers at a crucial formative period in which he was developing his modern, scientific approach to archaeological fieldwork.

In the coming weeks, further data cleaning, checking and research will lead to the data being published through the Portable Antiquities Scheme, linking Museum records to databases that are shared with local archaeological groups, local authority Historic Environment Records, and researchers around the world. The data will also be shared through Europeana portal and the Collections Trust's Culture Grid. Funded by ESRC, this strand of research for the Excavating Pitt-Rivers project, which we have titled "From Museums to the Historic Environment" - experiments with using historic museum collections as resources for understanding England's historic environment today.

The screen grab above shows the initial geographic distribution of the c. 256 archaeological sites represented by the data set - a unique map of the beginning of modern archaeology, which will be developed, enhanced and refined in the coming weeks - watch this space! Meanwhile, you can consult a list of the sites represented in the collection in our previous post here -