After photographs have been taken, the tape holding each artifact together is removed and they are once again reduced to piles of broken pieces. Unless they are later reassembled for museum display, there is no reason to keep these objects whole. The pieces of each artifact are placed together in labeled bags, and tightly packed into archive boxes. All information about the excavation including artifacts, photographs, catalogue database, excavation notes and final reports will be stored together in perpetuity in an archaeological collection facility, such as the one at Sonoma State University.
The historical research records, excavation notes, photographs, cataloging database and artifacts for Privy 507 represent a collection of information about the Peels, a family who lived in San Francisco from the 1850s to the 1870s. The questions we ask about this collection give us a better understanding of how San Franciscans of the Peel's background and class lived in the 1870s. Archaeologists in the future may wish to ask different questions about the Privy 507 collection, or technological advances may enable them to perform more advanced analyses. For these reasons, it is important to preserve collections such as that from Privy 507 so that we can continue to refine and develop our understanding of the past.