The Stanford University Archaeology Collections

The Stanford University Archaeology Collections (SUAC) is Stanford’s home for hands-on artifact study. It is a museum-style collection of over 100,000 archaeological, anthropological, and archival materials used in teaching, research, and outreach. 

Archaeology Collections

Students in Professor Sarah Derbew’s Fall 2023 course “The African Archive Beyond Colonization” look at a Yoruba osanyin staff used by healers. The iron staff was collected by Glenn Lissner in Nigeria and entered the collections in 1960.

Connections through Collections

SUAC advances Stanford’s role as a purposeful university by promoting socially engaged, collections-based scholarship as a core disciplinary competency and mode of interdisciplinary intellectual inquiry. We model best practices in the ethical stewardship of cultural heritage collections on campus and beyond. We create "connections through collections,” celebrating the power of material culture to inspire innovative thinking and—most importantly—bring people together.

SUAC supports the Stanford Archaeology Center's mission to understand the past and its contribution to contemporary and future worlds, to redress the colonial foundations of archaeology through an enduring commitment to ethics and to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion, and to support excellence in archaeological research and foster dynamic links between scholars in disparate fields.

Collections Overview

The collections possess global scope and regional strengths while reflecting the university's unique collecting history. Over half of the collection originates in North America, with important accessions in the Bay Area and northern California, British Columbia and Alaska, the Southwest, West Mexico, and Illinois. SUAC also holds collections from South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Many places, peoples, and periods are represented within the collections, which manifest a range of complex histories and present-day significances.

Search the Collections Online