As you may remember my directed studies project is an assessment of the preservation and significance of the artefact collection PHR02. The most difficult part of this project has been developing a criteria in which to assess the preservation of the artefacts and the significance of the collection. Something I had to keep in mind while developing this criteria was the fact that the rest of the collection has been deaccessioned. With this in mind I felt conflicted, how can one assess the significance of a collection when the majority of it has been deaccessioned for some time? Is there any point in assessing this part of the collection without its context? I have decided to press on, judging solely on the preservation of the artefacts. The majority of the artefacts are iron materials, from the local blacksmith’s quarters, they were not originally assessed and included in the 2003 study because they are standard materials that are available to anyone and do not display ethnic characteristics.
So now I have to develop criteria to evaluate the preservation of these materials, where to start??!! Schiffer and Gumerman (1977) suggest that firstly, one must specify the type of significance they are dealing with: scientific, historical, ethnic, public, monetary or legal. Then the fit between the criteria and the resources must be evaluated. The overall judgement will be based on a weighting of the types of significance that have been considered. According to the definitions provided in Schiffer and Gumerman (1977) this collection is of scientific significance. With this in mind, I have to assess the preservation of the artefacts and its potential for future research. So to do this I am devising a checklist criteria which I will use to measure the preservation of each individual artefact in my collection. This criteria will rate the level of corrosion, form, function, etc. My checklist needs to be refined, my initial checklist was I think inadequate, so I am in the process of revising it, hopefully the new edition will give me a better understanding of the current state of preservation of these artefacts, and help me determine whether they are significant enough to keep at Flinders.