The Grey Literature Library: Over 22,000 Open Access Archaeological Reports available at the ADS

The aim of the Archaeology Data Service’s (ADS) Grey Literature Library is to make unpublished archaeological fieldwork reports, that are often difficult to discover via conventional channels because they are not published commercially, freely available to the public in an easily retrievable fashion. These unpublished reports cover archaeological interventions such as: watching briefs, excavation reports and building surveys. Desk-based assessments and specialist analysis are also included.

Through the Grey Literature Library it is possible to search for archaeological reports by contractor, using the browse by contractor option, or carry out more advanced searches, filtering the reports by period, monument type, artefact type and location using the search option.

The Grey Literature Library has been growing steadily over the past decade as a result of the OASIS project in England and Scotland. The OASIS project allows archaeologists to upload reports and associated metadata about archaeological activities via an online data capture form. The OASIS project then manages the flow of information from the archaeological data producers, such as the contracting units and community groups, through to the local Historic Environment Records and the National Monuments Record for validation, before it is passed on to the ADS for public dissemination via the Grey Literature Library.

To coincide with Open Access Week ADS has released 1678 new grey literature reports bring the total of currently available reports to 22,128.

Here are just a few examples of important reports made available by the Grey Literature Library:

The Over Narrows (Cambridge Archaeology Unit)

The Over Narrows (Pt. V; 2010)

Two reports on Mesolithic and Neolithic lithic scatters, Beaker and Grooved Ware pottery spreads, roundhouses and a “strip-compound” enclosure of Bronze Age date. Notable for rare evidence of spade-cultivation (probably Beaker-associated).

Bedford Western Bypass

Four reports revealing an area of intense past activity from the Neolithic through the Bronze Age, Iron Age and Romano-British periods.

BRITNED Interconnector

Multiple reports on multi-stage offshore investigations including test-pits, geophysics, cores and investigations of a previously undiscovered wreck site.

Holy Island (Lindisfarne)

Report on geophysical survey that revealed structural remains possibly associated with the priory, as well as other phases of activity and possible industrial features.