Study Group for Roman Pottery

National Research Framework

Appendix 2

search tips   advanced search 
site search by freefind

Collated and Edited by Steven Willis - October 1997

APPENDIX 2: Working Practices

A2.1 Standards

The use of one or more methods of quantification seems to be standard with members of SGRP and all members also have a copy of Guidelines for the Archiving of Roman Pottery (Darling 1994), defining minimum archive standards, which is generally adhered to. In addition MoLAS have their own clearly-defined standards which they are intending to publish. However, there is concern over non-SGRP pottery specialists and what recommendations they work to. Further concern is caused by the effects of competitive tendering and the increasing occurrence of non-local workers in regions, particularly the smaller, newly-created units. Their standards and expertise are often unknown, and local specialists are not always consulted on research objectives (or even problematic identifications), nor are the results of the work disseminated. Publication of the Guidelines for the Archiving of Roman Pottery would seem to be essential along with its circulation to the monitors of archaeological work, primarily English Heritage and the County Archaeologists. It is hoped that this will help curators to ensure the maintenance of high standards, and the compatibility and dissemination of archives within their areas.

A2.2 Funding and Storage

Most workers currently follow MAP2 procedures, although there is concern amongst the independent consultants that this often entails almost as much work as the report itself. Competitive tendering is regarded as having a limiting effect on developer funded projects, and there is some concern that matters will only continue to suffer under this system. The implementation of projects funded under PPG16 regulations needs examination to ensure the work is carried out to a high standard, and does not have a deleterious effect on future work and research. This should identify what is acceptable to be funded by the developer, and what constitutes research, to be integrated into other projects, and/or funded from other sources.

There is concern too about the changing attitudes within museums and their growing reluctance to take archaeological collections because of the extra costs of storage and curation that would be incurred. It is a worry that sites are backlogging with units, and even individuals, who are even less well equipped to store, curate and make the material accessible. It is felt that greater consideration needs to be given to the long-term storage of pottery. On-going consultation between the SGRP and the SMA and other Museum authorities is welcomed as a route by which these problems can be resolved. The long-term curation of computer databases is a further problem needing urgent discussion and resolution at a national level.

A2.3 Training

The English Heritage sponsored Samian training days were considered by most to have been useful introductions, and need extension and continued support (Section 5.3.2 (i)). Similar courses on mortaria, shell-gritted fabrics (both early and late, including collaboration with Prehistoric and Post-Roman specialists), and imports is considered desirable. Given the enormous potential of computer databases, courses on computer use specific to the problems of Roman pottery are also a priority requirement.

The SGRP's peripatetic Annual Conferences are found useful for viewing material that is out of one's area and for exploration of national issues, while the regular meetings of Regional Groups are particularly helpful to address more localised problems. Attendance at both is of considerable benefit to all practitioners and should be supported.

Given changes in the structure of archaeology in the field, largely arising from the strictures of competitive tendering, there is a danger that opportunities for 'in-work' training are decreasing. It is essential that entrants into Roman pottery work are encouraged to ensure the maintenance of the current high quality. The provision of 'in-work' training and a viable career structure are pre-requisites, and these require urgent attention, in collaboration with other national, pottery and finds organisations.

To Appendix 1 Return to National Framework Contents Page Return to Framework Menu To Bibliography