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Our Collection


The City of York is designated an Area of Archaeological Importance (AAI) under Act of Parliament. York Archaeological Trust collects archaeological finds which would otherwise be destroyed by development in the City and its hinterland. It works within the City of York Development Framework and to briefs issued by the City Archaeologist.

As an excavated archaeological collection which has been developed over a period from 1972, it reflects developing standards in the care of retrieval, detail of recording and research and scientific analysis over the last four decades, and is important in this respect. The collection is one of the largest collection’s outside London.

The collection is made up of finds assemblages recovered through controlled excavation by York Archaeological Trust in response to a threat to the buried environment from development. The collection reflects both York’s importance in an historic context but also the rare and excellent preservation found in the City, especially of organic materials which often do not survive well in the buried environment.

Attracting interest from all over the world, York Archaeological Trust welcomes research enquiries relating to its collection from Universities and other academic institutions. Enquiries relating to loans are welcomed from accredited museums and are subject to professional good practice.


York Archaeological Trust’s in-house researchers and curatorial staff specialise in a wide range of services relating to the assessment, analysis, recording and care of archaeological artefacts.

They can also offer advice on policy and procedure relating to collections management and access.

The Trust’s Collections Development policy can be viewed here.


In curatorial terms York Archaeological Trust’s collection has:

• Artefacts (small finds) of metal (iron, copper alloy, lead alloy, silver and gold), vertebrate hard tissue (including animal bone, antler, ivory and horn), textile, wood, leather and other organic materials

• Pottery

• Zooarchaeological material of animal and fish bone

• Human osteological material

• Building materials (ceramic building materials, architectural stone and structural timbers)

• Archaeobotanical material (plants, seeds) from environmental residues

• An associated archaeological record archive.


The Archaeological Resource Centre

The York Archaeological Trust Resource Centre is a facility providing a single site for the storage of its archaeological collection and the process of large-scale timber conservation.

The Trust holds tours on certain dates for the public to come see samples of its collection and the processes used in conserving and cataloguing such a huge collection.

Details of the next open day can be found here

For More Information


Contact the Collections team today for an informal chat about how we can assist you.


✉ cmcdonnell@yorkat.co.uk

☎ +44(0)1904 663030

Normal office hours: Mon-Fri, 09:00 - 17:00