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ANTH 335 Archaeology of North America

Searching Tips

When searching databases or the Online Catalog, consider the following when entering your keyword search terms:
1.  If you know the specific site you are searching for, enter the site name:
  • clovis site
  • cahokia mounds
  • hagen site
  • gault site  
  • gault site and archaeology   
2. Are there synonyms or very similar terms that could be used to help you find provide additional information about your
    chosen site?
    For example:     paleo-indian or clovis or folsom   
                              mounds or mound-builders or mississippian
                              stone or lithics
​                              pottery or ceramics
                              implements or tools
                              archaeology or antiquities   
3. Are there ways to "truncate" a term to pick up alternative spellings or singular/plural?
    For example:     archaeolog*  -- for archaeology or archaeological
                              southwest* --   for southwest or southwestern
                              lithic* --  for lithic or lithics
                              paleo-indian*  -- for paleo-indian or paleo-indians
                              pubelo* -- for pueblo or pueblos or puebloan 

        Note: The most common truncation symbol is an asterisk *. The Online Catalog uses a question mark?
4. Some databases and the online catalog attach the term "culture" to an archaeological period in their subject headings
     such as Mississippian culture, Fort Ancient culture, Woodland culture, etc.

5. If appropriate and helpful, use combined terms as well as truncated terms in your search statement to find an
    archaeological site to research or to find additional information on your chosen site.. 
    Examples of search statements:                                        
                               hopewell culture and Ohio
                               pueblo* and sites
paleo-indian* or clovis
                               (paleo-indian* or clovis) and texas
​                               (antiquities or archaeolog*) and kansas
                               pottery and southwest*
                               (pottery or ceramic*) and southwest*
                               (pottery or ceramic*) and (southwest* or pueblo*)   

We have many archeological site reports online and in print. One of the most effective ways to locate archaeological site reports -- in either print or online --from a state or region of the United States and other parts of North America is to enter the state or province name as a keyword search in the Online Catalog followed by the word, "antiquities". For example.

  • kansas antiquities
  • british columbia antiquities
  • north dakota antiquities
  • great basin antiquities

To search for a specific site, enter the site name:

  • clovis site
  • cahokia mounds
  • hagen site
  • danger cave

In another kind of keyword search, combine the state or region and type of site (e.g. cave, mound, petroglyphs, village) or the name of a specific group of people with one or more of these terms or phrases: excavations, antiquities, or archaeology. For example:

  • navajo excavations archaeology
  • woodland village antiquities
  • hopewell excavations archaeology
  • pueblo indians antiquities

In addition to keyword searching in the Online Catalog, you can also search by the Subject Headings that are assigned to each report. Some  examples of Subject Headings that could be used for archaeological site reports include:

  • excavations archaeology - kansas
  • kansas - antiquities
  • excavations archaeology - texas

Other terms that might be helpful in keyword searching are "archaeological site" and "archaeological investigations". Many of these same terms and strategies will also be useful in searching for articles on archaeology sites in databases.

Special note about site reports in the print collection:

Generally, site reports related to North American archaeology are located on the 3rd floor of Ablah Library and begin with the call number, E78. The reports are then divided alphabetically by state. For example, books on the archaeology of New Mexico begin with E78.N65, and those about Kansas begin with E78.K16. Although you could browse this call number area of the general stacks, there are a number of strategies you can use to find archaeological site reports by using the Online Catalog. Since there are site reports found in other call number ranges, i.e. AS, E78, and F, you may not want to always limit yourself to one call number area.

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