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Archaeology Subject Guide: Online library support

Help and guidance on finding resources in your subject area

Welcome to the Archaeology Subject Guide

Use this guide to help you make the most of the library and information resources and services.

New to the University?  Explore the Library Induction to learn all about the Library basics. 

Your Liaison Librarian

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Nicola Nye
Archaeology: Finding & Using Library Resources tutorial

Where to start your search

Library Search

Search for print books, ebooks, journals, articles + more.

The Library Search LibGuide is available for guidance.

For a full selection of databases and archives, use the A-Z Databases List.

Expand your searching

Key Archaeology Databases

Research databases index the global literature and provide references to journal articles, books, conference proceedings, reports etc that match your search criteria. They help you to find information about previous publications in your research field.

These are the key databases we recommend that you use. You can see a fuller list in the A-Z database listing under Archaeology.

Content is organized into 3 sections:

  • Archsearch - Search monument and event records
  • Archives - Search for archaeology data
  • Library - Search journals, books and reports

Reference resources can be very useful as you begin your background research into a topic, before you move on to more in depth research.  A number of archaeology related reference works are available to you online via the Oxford Reference Online service, with thousands or archaeology related entries. 

Use these to find short-entry, general reference information or to cross search more in-depth articles on specialized subjects.

You have access to a number of anatomy resources that providing high quality 3D images of the human body.  Further details can be found on the Anatomy Libguide.

JSTOR provides access to scholarly book, journal and primary sources via an easy to use search interface.

Use the How to Search JSTOR LibGuide for an introduction to the service or take a look at JSTOR's Vimeo channel for educational and instructional videos. 

JSTOR holds content relevant to Archaeology as well as complementary disciplines cross the social sciences.

The following video shows you how to use ebooks on the JSTOR service.

Use the A-Z Database List to access the full list of databases the library subscribes to.  

You can browse by subject e.g. Archaeology or by type (e.g.maps, news, images etc.) or search to find your required resources.

Explore the full A to Z Database list:

Box of Broadcasts (BoB) is an extensive archive of free-to-air TV programmes and radio shows

  • Search the archive to find programmes relating to your subject
  • Record programmes from over 65 free-to-air channels and add to the archive for others to view
  • Create your own clips and playlists
  • TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less).  

  • You can explore TED Talks related to the topic of archaeology.

  • You'll find talks on all sorts of other topics too. The latest and most popular talks are available from the TED homepage

Explore research materials available elsewhere

  • Library Hub Discover - Search the catalogues of over 100 major UK and Irish national, academic and specialist libraries to find books, journals and other materials

  • WorldCAT - Search the collections of over 10,000 worldwide libraries  

  • The European Library - Access to the collections of the 48 National Libraries of Europe and leading European Research Libraries.

  • The Library of Congress -  Catalogue records of the print and digital resources held in the Library of Congress collections (USA)

  • LibWeb - Find online library catalogues worldwide

  • CORE - Search the world's largest collection of open access research papers

I am looking for ...


Our book collection includes both print and ebook formats. Increasingly, books are made available in ebook format. This gives the best access to materials, allowing 24/7 access to books from any location.  Where ebooks are not available, multiple print copies of key titles are  purchased.

Textbooks are useful for providing an introduction or general overview of a topic. For example: 

Scholarly monograph books include in depth discussions of research areas/themes/topics and are accompanied by detailed bibliographies in order to explore the literature on the given topic in more detail. For example:

You can search for e-books using Library Search . Use the links to login and access the full text.

As well as individual e-books, we have a number of e-book collections such as Oxford Handbooks online.

The vast majority of our journal articles are available in digital format, although we do keep older print journals in the Forum Library.

Our journal databases may offer full text access or abstracts only, or sometimes a mixture of both.

  • Full text access allows you to view or download the entire journal article from that database.
  • Abstract only access provides a summary of the content of a journal article and in many cases, links out to full-text sources held digitally in our collections.

Many of our databases fully index their content, by organising them under various subjects. This helps ensure that all potentially relevant articles are captured when searches are carried out.

Use Library Search to find Journal Titles and articles that relate to your research/study area.

For targeted searching, select a research database and explore the published literature in your field. Key databases are flagged above.

The Library holds some BAR publications in print. 

Carry out searches for BAR publications in Library Search:

TIP: Use British Archeological Report as your keywords

The University has access to an extensive range of online primary source materials. These contain digitised copies of documents, letters, books, photographs and other primary sources. 

The Primary Sources Libguide will help you identify the best databases for your research. As we have over 550 Primary Source collections, the collections have been categorised by Country, Time Period and Theme so that you can quickly find the most relevant collections for your research.

Exeter subscribes to a wide range of online specialist map resources, the most useful of these to archaeology is the Digimap collection.

These collections provides extensive online access to aerial, Lidar, Ordnance Survey and historical maps.

Click here to find out more.

Finding print items in the library

The print  collection in the Forum library is organised by shelf number according to Dewey Decimal Classification, so that  books on the same subject are grouped together..

You will find archaeological works throughout the 910s and 930s in the Dewey sequence.

For example, this screenshot which shows on online browse view of items on the shelves adjacent to Archaeology : an introduction / Kevin Greene and Tom Moore.  - 930.1 GRE


A quick online guide is available to help you understand classmarks

Each book has a classmark or call number on it's spine that refers to it's Dewey Decimal Classification.

The Dewey Decimal Classification system has 10 broad classes:

  • 000 - 099: Computer Science, general reference works and Information Science
  • 100 - 199: Philosophy and Psychology
  • 200 - 299: Religion
  • 300 - 399: Social Sciences
  • 400 - 499: Languages and Linguistics
  • 500 - 599: Science (including Mathematics)
  • 600 - 699: Technology
  • 700 - 799: Arts and Recreation
  • 800 - 899: Literature
  • 900 - 999: History and Geography (includes Archaeology)

Each of these topics may be further divided into more specific subject areas, e.g. 900-999 History & Geography, 930-939 History of Ancient World, 936 History of Europe north & west of Italy to ca. 499, 937 History of Italy & adjacent territories to 476

The numbers can be subdivided further using a decimal point and additional numbers after the point. The more numbers, the more specific the classification, e.g. 930.1 Archaeology, 930.16 History Archaeology Iron age

After the numbers you will usually find 3 letters - either the first 3 letters of the author's surname or the title of the book, e.g. 930.1 GIL.

Many of the Archaeology books are found in the 900-930 section, but depending on the exact nature of the material, you may well find relevant books in other sections of the library.


Pamphlets are short printed works, typically less than 50 pages. They tend to get lost or misfiled if kept in the main book sequence. Instead they are organised in pamphlet boxes at the end of each of the broad Dewey classes. 

Pamphlets in the archaeology subject area (900s) are located in boxes at the end of the 900-999 sequence on Level +1 at the Forum end of the library floor.




Oversize books are large books which do not fit on the normal shelves.

 As with pamphlets, you'll find them at the end of each broad Dewey class.  So oversize books in the 900s, are found at the end of the 900-999 sequence on Level +1 at the Forum end of the library floor. 

You can tell from the classmark/call number on the Library Search catalogue whether an item is a standard book and will be in the main sequence and whether an item is an oversize or pamphlet item so that you need to look in those sections.  The table below illustrates how the differing sized items are reflected on the catalogue.

  Location Call No. Loan Type Status
Standard Book Forum Library

930.1 EGA

Standard Available
Oversize Book Forum Library

Oversize Section 913.4272 ARC/X

Standard Available
Pamphlet Forum Library

Pamphlet Section 913.4231 VAT

Standard Available


To find the pamphlets and oversize sections, walk to the end of the 900-999 shelf sequence - this will take you to the Forum end of the Library, Level +1.


Effective Searching & Referencing

It is important to plan your search strategy, and manage your search results so that you get the most from your online searching.

Keep a record of all the material you need to cite in your assignments, papers, projects etc. 

Use the Search Techniques and Referencing guidance to assist you.

  • It is  easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer breadth of information available to you.  
  • Invest time in planning an effective online search strategy so that you can quickly and easily discover relevant and high quality information. 


As you search you need to keep track of all the material you will be using in your academic work so that you can cite and reference it appropriately.

Top Tip

Always check your module handbook for specific departmental guidance on the style required for your assessed works and dissertations.  Check with your personal tutor or dissertation supervisor if you need clarification.

For more guidance take a look at:

Find out more about the skills support available to help you develop a range of academic skills including essay writing, referencing, critical reading and getting the most out of lectures.

Academic Skills Support

Sage Research Methods Online (SRMO) is a great resource to use when you are planning and conducting your research. 

It is targeted at social science researchers but is useful across all subject areas as it covers key research methodology topics that are applicable across the research spectrum.

Sage have produced a comprehensive LibGuide to help you get the best from the resource.

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