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Examples (source; origin)

A Roman coin might have been minted in Germany, stored in the Vatican vaults, sunk in a shipwreck in 505AD, recovered by archaeologists at a specific off-shore location, stolen and then recovered and eventually put on display at a particular museum.
* Provenance would refer to this entire history.
* Provenience would refer only to the wreck site and specifically where in the wreck site archeologists recovered the coin. Because in archeology the provenance rarely can be compiled, the term provenience serves well when discussing physical location and the cultural provenance at that location. Also the origin -- and therefore an element of provenance -- may become known after archeological recovery. Or, in forensic archeology to aid legal investigation or to support physical anthropology, the origin may already be known.


Alteration of provenance


provenience (plural proveniences)

  1. (archaeology) Source; origin.

Usage notes[edit]

  • The term provenience in archaeology/archeology has largely replaced provenance because provenience is restricted to in situ location at the date of archaeological discovery rather than the "origin-to-present" chain of custody details of proper provenance as is customarily used by historians, museums, and commercial entities.