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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 Getting Started with the Library guide to learn all about the Library basics. 

Your Librarian at Exeter

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Nicola Nye (Exeter)
Archaeology: Finding & Using Library Resources tutorial

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Where to start your search

Library Search

Search across the print and online collections for books, chapters, articles, journals and lots more. 

For more in depth research in databases and archives, use the A-Z Databases List.

Key Archaeology databases

Archaeology Databases

These databases are subject specific and contain archaeology reports, ebooks, archives, maps and more.



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
Online tutorial

Academic databases

These databases index the global literature and provide references to journal articles, books, conference proceedings, reports etc. These databases are multidisciplinary, covering many subjects, but will contain scholarly content relating to the field of drama and performance.

Anatomy resources

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.


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.

Theses are academic sources of information and the result of substantial primary research into specialised topics. They provide very detailed data and analysis, and can provide information that is unavailable elsewhere. Their bibliographies can be a useful source of wider reading on a topic. They are extremely valuable sources of information.

Search for University of Exeter, UK and international theses here: Theses LibGuide.

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:

Open-access archaeology ebooks

Download open-access archaeology e-books for free from these publishers.


Archaeology Websites

These websites are free to access, and contain records and resources relating to archaeology.




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

Primary Source collections

Use the Primary Sources Libguide to explore the Library's extensive range of online primary source collections, and quickly find the most relevant sources for your research. The collections include digitised copies of manuscripts, letters, books, photographs, newspapers and other key primary sources from archives around the world.

Our comprehensive online news collections range from local news to news publications from around the world and span a wide range of dates.


Find out more on the News Archives LibGuide 

The Library's Special Collections department houses primary sources in many formats including letters, diaries, manuscripts and photos, which can be accessed via their dedicated reading room in the Research Commons, Old Library. 

Visit the Archives and Special Collections LibGuide for more information.

Find out how to search the archives for rare books and materials here.

Use the Archive Catalogue Search to find out what is available.

Devon & Cornwall have a number of local archives that you can use when searching for primary sources. Find out more here.


These databases are nationally significant archives of the UK, covering many different themes, subjects and sources.

Finding print items in the library

The print  collection in the 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.

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.

Use Library Search to find the classmark/call number of the print book you are looking for!


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:

Build your skills and get help from the friendly academic skills teams.

Study Skills Support @ Exeter

Study Zone offers drop-ins, workshops and online guides on a range of study skills topics, including academic writing, referencing, time management, exams and revision, and digital skills.

ASK @ Cornwall

Find out all about academic skills support at the Cornwall campus. Take advantage of the online support materials available through the Study Hub.

Linking the University of Exeter Library to Google Scholar 

Google Scholar is an online, freely accessible search engine for locating scholarly literature  from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites. But not all full text content is free to access.

However, it is possible to link the University of Exeter online library to  Google Scholar, making it quick to identify and access library full text content.

Just follow these instructions:


Click on Check for this @ Exeter or Access this @ Exeter options to view full text article:

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.

Dissertation students

If you are a dissertation student, at some point in your research, you may need to access resources held outside of the university library collections.

The library offers a number of services to help you access these materials. Find out more by exploring the guides below.

Library and Archives Access Bursary 
(Financial help to visit other libraries and archives)

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