Our permanent research collection consists of more than 16,000 objects, most of which are ethnographic. Current strengths include holdings from the U.S. Southwest and the Pacific Islands, and basketry from California. Our searchable online database features the entire Anthropology collection, including digital images for every piece.
Query Results & Number of Records
The query form enables you to retrieve object records by virtually any combination of fields present in the database. The parameters entered on the form are summarized in query language at the top of every result page. Read the query statement to be sure that the query being processed is what you intended. Some browsers have a tendency to "remember" parameters from previous queries. Press the Clear button between queries to clear previously used parameters.
The number of records retrieved by every query is reported immediately after the query feedback (near the top of the page) as the results are being formatted. If the number returned is much larger than you expected or want to wait for, press the "STOP" button on your browser to cancel the query. You can create a more restrictive query by adding additional criteria to the form.
A single-select list box. Most artifacts fall into several categories, making these divisions subjective. For our purposes the categories are very broad. For example, TEXTILES includes the tools and dye materials used in making textiles along with the textiles themselves, while the category WATERCRAFT includes life-sized boats as well as models. If this field is used alone to search, you will end up with several hundred or several thousand entries. This field is best used in conjunction with other fields in order to clarify and narrow down search results. For example, use the POTTERY category with the "Culture" field to find all ceramics made by the Navajo tribal group. The categories are as follows:
Bead & Leatherwork
Jewelry & Metalwork
Tools & Implements
A text box. This is the name under which an object is cataloged. Begin by searching with general terms, using more specific terms as needed. If you are not successful, try simplifying searches by using root words such as HAT instead of HATS. This field contains an automatic wild card, returning any records that contain the query text. For example if you type in FISH, the query will retrieve "fishing pole," "fish hook," "fishing net," etc.
A text box. This field lists the material(s) of which the object is composed. This field contains an automatic wild card, returning any records that contain the query text. For example if you type in WOOD, the query will retrieve objects solely made from wood as well as objects made from wood and other materials. If a specific material cannot be found, such as "granite," search on "stone" to find unidentified stone objects.
A text box. This field lists the known maker/artist of an object. This field contains an automatic wild card, returning any records that contain the query text. For example if you query on GEORGE, the query will retrieve records listing "George Aden Ahgupuk," "George Cochise" and "Davin George" as the maker of an object. If you are not sure about the spelling of a name, you can search on a portion of the name, such as "Ah" to find all objects made by "George Ahgupuk." It is recommended that you use last names only or first names only to search in this field, NOT a combination of both. If you search on first and last names together, use a percent % sign between the names in order to call up records which include middle names as well. For example, searching on "Lucy%Lewis" will retrieve all records listing "Lucy Martin Lewis."
A single-select list box. Choose from a drop-down list of ten significant collections donated by a particular donor. (Please note: these collections do not represent all objects from a particular culture area.) Only use this field if you are researching these specific collections, otherwise, use a more general search. This field is best used in conjunction with other fields in order to clarify and narrow down search results. For example, search on "Elkus Collection" with "baskets" in the category field to find all baskets donated by the Elkus family. To find out more about these highlighted collections, click here.
Catalog numbers are unique values assigned to each object by the Department of Anthropology. These values must be known in order to search this field. Catalog numbers are preceded by "CAS" and contain either two or three segments, with each segment made up of four digits. This field contains an automatic wild card, eliminating the need to type in "CAS" before every catalog number. However, because each number segment contains four digits, zeroes must be added when necessary. For example 370-12 should be entered as "0370-0012" and 1988-12-2 should be entered as "1988-0012-0002."
A text box. Query on the name of a culture associated with production and/or use of an object. This field contains an automatic wild card, returning any records that contain the query text. For example if you query on SIOUX, the query will retrieve records listing "Sioux," "Dakota Sioux" and "Lakota Sioux" in the culture field. Begin with broad, general terms for more results.
A single-select list box. Use this field in conjunction with other fields to narrow down your query results. For example query on BASKET and NORTH AFRICA to further define your search results. Each object has been assigned to one of the following global regions:
Mexico & Central America
A text box. The name of a primary political unit.
A text box. The name of a secondary political unit, typically a province, district, or state name.
A text box. The name of a tertiary political unit, when known.
Other Geographic Data
A text box. The name of additional location information, such as an island, pueblo, city or town, or archaeological site, when known.
Two pairs of radio buttons. The first pair is Multiple Pages / Single Page. Choose Multiple Pages if you would like the results displayed 20 per page, one page at a time. If you would like all the results displayed on one page, choose Single Page. The second pair of buttons is Brief Records / Full Records. Brief Records will display only a few fields of data for each record, while Full Records will display all available data, including the image, for all records retrieved. (The full record of any retrieved item can be accessed by clicking on "Details" under a Brief Records search.) Be warned that depending on your connection speed, choosing Single Page and Full Records can take a long time to download if there are a large number of records found.
How to access our collections, donate objects, apply for an internship, and more.
For inquiries please contact:
Department of Anthropology
California Academy of Sciences
55 Music Concourse Drive
San Francisco, CA 94118