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The following publications are available from the San Diego Archaeological Center by mail, fax or email (Microsoft Word format). Please indicate your preference in your request.

A complete listing of services provided by the Center, fees and staffing qualifications.

2015 Curatorial and Exhibition Services – Click here for a PDF version


Everything you need to know to make your archaeological collections curation-ready.
2009 Collection Preparation Guidelines
Click here for a PDF version



The Curation Crisis
Over the years, millions of archaeological artifacts have been recovered from public and private lands in San Diego. However, the vast majority of these artifacts were still, in effect, underground. Boxes and bags of archaeological artifacts were scattered among private cultural resource management (CRM) companies, public institutions and government agencies throughout San Diego – a true curation crisis.

The San Diego Archaeological Center, the first nonprofit, private organization dedicated to the care, management and use of archaeological artifacts, is attempting to restore these collections to cultural resource status. Our vision is to sustain an archaeological center in San Diego where artifacts will not only be cared for in a state-of-the-art environment, but where further professional research can commence and the public can enjoy learning about the prehistory and history of the San Diego region through educational programs and museum quality exhibits.

Since opening our doors in 1998, the Center has become a nationally recognized leader in the curation of archaeological collections. The Center has played an important part in the development of the concept of curation and the advancement of the discipline at a local and national level. Our “claim to fame” is that we return archaeological collections to the public as a cultural resource that they can understand, appreciate and value. Why Is Curation Important? Curation comes from the Latin word cura, meaning care. We define curation as the CARE, MANAGEMENT and USE of archaeological collections. Care means that you prevent deterioration, management means that collections are organized and accessible, and use means that you use collections for scientific research, public education or cultural use.

Respect: Curation is basically a matter of respect. Respect for the cultures represented in the collections, respect for ourselves and future generations and respect for the millions of dollars spent on the identification and retrieval of cultural resources.

Research: Curated collections will be available for the next generation of investigative technologies. Collections gathered just ten years ago, deserve another look with up-to-date tools and research models.

Mitigation: Curation after excavation is the only way to appropriately mitigate the negative impact of development or academic research on cultural resources. The laws and guidelines that have been enacted to protect cultural resources all contain a component of time, artifacts are supposed to be preserved for the future.

Curation Store:

  • The San Diego Archaeological Center has archival-quality Curation Store available for purchase. We are able to purchase many items in large quantities and are happy to pass the cost savings on to you. Please let us know if there are any additional items you would like us to carry.