Study Group for Roman Pottery

National Research Framework

Appendix 1

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Collated and Edited by Steven Willis - October 1997

APPENDIX 1: Updating Samian Corpora and Disseminating Decorative-Typological Information. A Proposed Solution by Geoff Dannell

The data available in publications for all production centres other than Rheinzabern is now severely out-dated. As a result: Post-excavation costs are raised by the amount of time which a specialist needs to search the existing literature and information from their own private files, which is often not available to other specialists.

- The quality and reliability of specialist Samian reports is questionable.
- Publication of Samian is not cost effective.
- It is next to impossible to train new specialists, if the existing material is deficient, and cost is deterring publication of new material.


1. How to bring the existing corpora up-to-date in a format which allows for continuous revision.
2. How to make these processes cost effective.
3. How to get the degree of international co-operation, which is essential to capturing the data.

Proposed Solutions:

1. Create new corpora of animate and inanimate details in the formats used by Oswald (1936-7) and Rogers (1974) for La Graufesenque and Lezoux.
Then followed by similar works for the lesser production centres. The question of corpora of sherds and/or complete vessels needs separate consideration.
2. Fund a pilot scheme to define a satisfactory data capture/publication methodology, which avoids the use of line drawings (ie. through scanning images (cf. Kenrick 1993)).
3. Use computer-based graphics and DTP software for data storage.
4. Develop a coding structure for the figures and details individually, and for their use as designs on individual bowls.
5. Use relational data-bases to link and manipulate data for 'search and match' requirements, for statistical analyses, and for archival and bibliographic reference.
6. Use wide-area networks to link specialists to the primary data-base.

It is pre-requisite that the project is 'owned' by a sponsor to co-ordinate finance and resources, and the international co-operation required, and to guarantee the on-going life of the project.

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