USB stick, UK

Archaeological objects can provide a snapshot of individual lives and cultural practices at a point in time, and we are actively creating that archaeology all the time.

Between 2007 and 2009, the owner of this now corroded USB memory stick – excavated from a muddy secondary school playing field in Hendon, north London in 2012 – loaded it with Amy Winehouse music, clips of Bhangra dancers from a popular TV talent show, and content from adult websites. But this also raises the question of how we interpret the information contained within archaeological objects. If this object remained in the earth and was discovered in 200 years' time, would we still be able to access the data inside to give us that snapshot?

Accession number: 2016.47.1