Study Group for Roman Pottery

National Research Framework: North of Britain

Urban Sites

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Edited by Jeremy Evans & Steven Willis on behalf of the SGRP, Northern Regional Group. October 1997; selectively revised 2002


Most urban sites in the region have seen a considerable level of archaeological activity in recent years, although publication of many of these excavations is still awaited. Fully integrated and quantified reports which could be compared with assemblages from neighbouring villas and rural sites are still in short supply. This is unfortunate given the possibility that some of these urban sites appear not to have been fully integrated into the surrounding rural economy. This possibility needs to be explored. There were probably different geographical and chronological pottery (and other economic) supply patterns in the relationship between northern urban sites and the countryside, and these, too, require investigation. The existing pattern is for urban sites to be well-examined whilst little or nothing is known of their hinterlands (cf. Section 7.3). This is a particular area in which comparison with the evidence from regions to the south may be enlightening.

The support for synthetic studies of ceramics from urban sites in the Fulford and Huddleston (1991) report is welcomed. However, this cannot substitute for publication of the basic data. It is of great importance for the development of integrated studies of Romano-British artefact data that information about the ceramics can be related to other finds. This is not possible from ceramics only syntheses. Syntheses are statements of current knowledge, which rapidly date. Basic data are just that, and there is no substitute for them. It is recognised though that there are logistical problems in terms of publication vehicles. A long term solution may lay in electronic publication, probably as CD Rom.

There is considerable scope for spatial analyses of pottery function and fine wares on urban sites (cf. Evans 1995b) and these studies ought to be combined with examination of spatial variations in other aspects of the artefact and ecofact assemblages (cf.Cool et al. 1995).

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