RESEARCH FRAMEWORK FOR THE STUDY OF ROMAN POTTERY IN SOUTHERN ENGLAND 1997
Edited by Suzanne Huson on behalf of The Study Group for Roman Pottery, Southern Regional Group October 1997; selectively revised 2002
APPENDIX 1: WORKING PRACTICES
The use of one or more methods of quantification seems to be standard with members of SGRP in this region and most members also have a copy of M. Darling's Minimum Archive Guidelines, 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. Publication of the Minimum Archive Guidelines would seem to be essential along with its circulation to the monitors of archaeological work, primarily English Heritage and the County Archaeologists. Further concern is caused by the effects of competitive tendering and the increasing occurrence of non-local workers within the region, particularly the smaller, newly-created units. Their standards and expertise are often unknown, and local specialists are not consulted on research objectives (or even problematic identifications) nor are the results of the work disseminated.
Most workers within the region 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. There is concern too about the changing attitudes within local 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.
The English Heritage sponsored Samian training days were considered by most to have been very useful. Similar instruction on mortaria, shell-tempered fabrics (both early and late) and imports is considered desirable. Regional meetings were found useful for viewing material that is out of ones area and the pottery that loiters, usually unseen, in the depths of museums stores.
It was felt that too few sites have been investigated in some areas of the region, (eg. parts of Surrey and south London) to be selective over what is published, whereas for areas such as London it was felt that the criteria for the publication of pottery requires discussion. Consideration should be given on how to publish assemblages and groups so that they can be compared qualitatively and quantitatively. It is also a problem that work takes so long to be published once the reports are completed.
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