Help with Searching

This page is intended to provide some guidance for searching the database on-line. Keep in mind that you can download the database to perform more complex queries.

Artfact Search

You can search the artifact database by object type/subtype, material type/subtype, ware type/subtype, taxonomy (for faunal and floral remains), site, or deposit type. You may also use the "Term (Full-Text)" field to find specific records by searching all fields in the artifact database.

To begin a search, select an option in one or more categories. Note that the object subtype, material subtype, and ware subtype choices will not be available until you select object type, material type, or ware type, respectively; the various options in the subtype categories will then reflect only valid options for that type.

For a less structured search, type a word or words in the Term (Full-Text) box. This search will scan the ObjectType, ObjectSubType, Material, MaterialSubType, WareType, WareSubType, Taxonomy, Temper, Technology, Glaze, Paste, SurfaceTreatment, Decoration, Color, Element, BoreDiameter, MakersMarks, Condition, Dimensions, and Remarks fields in the main artifact catalog table. It will find only an exact match, so if you are not sure about possible spellings use the smallest search string that you can (e.g., see "alban" if you are not sure whether something is coded as "St. Albans", "St. Alban's," "St Albans," etc.). Case does not matter; the search will find the string regardless of capitalization.

More complex "boolean" searches ("this AND that" or "this NOT that") are not currently supported. Very complex searches may require you to download the Access database; there are many online and printed books on Microsoft Access that describe how to perform very complex queries indeed.

Context Search

You can search the context database by site, context number, summary, or deposit type/subtype. Enter all or part of the context number and/or summary to find specific records.

Again, the deposit subtype field will not be enabled until a choice is made in the deposit type field. If you are doing a search for a particular context number, it is recommended to select a site first; this will limit the available options in the context number dropdown. Note that "context number" generally consists of the state site number followed by a hyphen, then the provenience designation in the original field catalog.

Results Page

On the results page, a simple list of the returned results is displayed. You may sort the results by clicking on a column head. Click on the Context or Object Type links to see a full view of any particular record.

Detail Page

Details about a particular record are shown by clicking on the link in the object type field on the results page. Separate tabs are provided for the artifat catalog record, the small finds record(s), the context record, and associated images. Note that fields associated with the "specialized" tables (bead, buckles, etc.) are shown with the more general small finds data on the Small Finds tab.


You can get a summarized count (by number of records and number of artifacts) by clicking the Summarize by Site button on the results page.

About the Project

A multi-year and multi-institution collaboration standardizing and synthesizing archaeological data for important sites in the Potomac River Valley during the period 1500-1720.

Technical Data

How we gathered and organized the data, details about the databases, information for those who want to download and work with the data.

Browse the Sites

Browse the 34 archaeological sites included in the project. These site summaries include links to images, maps, GIS data, and artifact collections.

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