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National Archaeology Collections Inventory Project (NACIP)

Research project AG/LL/166 (Research action AG)


Persons :


Description :

Inventorying and conserving collections are museums’ basic responsibilities on which all other activities are based. Regarding the section “National Archaeology and General Prehistory” of the Royal Museums of Art and History the present state of the reserves is alarming. These collections contain ceramic, wooden, metal and stone artefacts, obtained by the museum since 1835, from the Prehistoric, Gallo-Roman, Merovingian, Mediaeval and Post-Mediaeval periods. In total more than hundred thousands objects are stored, all periods mixed together. The poor state of the reserves makes it impossible to control climatic conditions, to monitor passive conservation and to capture needs for restoration.

A ministerial audit, published in 2009, already pointed out the alarming state of the collections. Several priorities were formulated, such as the management of the collections, the making of inventories on a clearly defined and uniform basis and the renovation of the reserves in order to prevent further degradation of the artefacts.

Therefore, the NACIP (National Archaeology Collections Inventory Project) aims to fill in the existing gaps and respond to the findings raised in 2009. The projects’ priorities are on the one hand the revalorisation of the collections and on the other hand their disclosure to scientists for future research, both on a national as on an international basis, and to the broader public throughout educational activities and exhibitions.

The NACIP envisages:

- A better knowledge of the collections’ content by identifying and classifying all objects per period and per location of findings;
- Setting up a new digitalised inventory, using spreadsheets, and considering all existing inventories;
- The rehabilitation of the reserves in order to stop further degradation of the collections’ items and this in accordance with the current conservation criteria;
- A start-up of a juridical discussion regarding the possible removal and/or destruction of those items that have no longer any value, nor scientifically or aesthetically;
- The re-storage of the items in a well thought and organised manner;
- Making the reserves accessible to other scientific institutions (museum, universities, etc.) involved in research programs concerning the aforementioned periods;
- Responding, finally, to the standards imposed by the responsible minister as mentioned in the ministerial audit report of 2009.


Documentation :

National Archaeology Collections Inventory Project (NACIP) : synthese  Claes, Britt - De Poorter, Alexandra - Ghesquiere, Valérie  Brussels : Belgian scientific Policy, 2016 (SP2652)
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National Archaeology Collections Inventory Project (NACIP) : synthese  Claes, Britt - De Poorter, Alexandra - Ghesquiere, Valérie  Brussel : Federaal Wetenschapsbeleid, 2016 (SP2653)
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National Archaeology Collections Inventory Project (NACIP) : synthèse  Claes, Britt - De Poorter, Alexandra - Ghesquiere, Valérie   (SP2654)
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