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ANTH 281: The Seeds of Divinity: Getting Started

Professor Antonia Foias

What do you know about your object?

  • Does it have a name?
  • Is the artist/creator known? 
  • What region of world is it from? 
  • What time period is it from? 
  • Is the function of the object known? 
  • Is it an isolated object or are there similar ones in the same location or in other parts of the world? 

The Information Landscape: what type of information exists about your object?

When researching an object, start by thinking about the question of visibility and prominence:  

  • Is the object the property of a museum/archive or in a private collection? 
  • Was the object included in previous exhibitions ?  If yes was it at a museum or a gallery ? 
  • Is the object likely to have been the object of study and research by scholars (archaeologists, art historians) ? 

Thinking about visibility and prominence of the object, will help you assess the type of sources that are available: 

  • Museums and archives provide the following sources of information:  
    • exhibition catalogs 
    • organized and described collections 
    • digitized collections 
    • curators with subject expertise 
  • Scholars produce the following sources of information: 
    • articles in scholarly journals in the fields of archaeology, art history, anthropology, history, religion, etc. 
    • scholarly books 
    • dissertations 
    • conference presentations 
    • scholars with subject expertise 

Getting Started: Background Information

Your Librarian

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Christine Ménard
Research Services
Sawyer Library