Study Group for Roman Pottery

National Research Framework: West of Britain

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RESEARCH FRAMEWORK FOR THE STUDY OF ROMAN POTTERY IN THE WEST OF BRITAIN

Edited by Paul Booth & Steven Willis on behalf of The Study Group for Roman Pottery, Western Regional Group October 1997; selectively revised 2002

2. RESEARCH INFRASTRUCTURE; RECORDING AND REPORTING STANDARDS; METHODOLOGY

2.1 Standards

While it is recognized that the question of standards is not in itself a research objective it is clear that many major topics depend on a relatively high level and quality of recording for their resolution. The need to maintain established standards in the recording and publication of Roman pottery is seen by contributors as being of the utmost importance.

2.2 Project Planning

It is suggested that there is a need for greater input by ceramic specialists at the project design stage (cf. Young 1980), so that pottery-related concerns can be fully taken into account in project planning.

2.3 Site & Assemblage Formation

Issues relating to site formation processes and particularly to differences in the use of pottery between urban and rural sites require data for both sherd count and weight in order to assess chronological, spatial and status-related variations in sherd size. The routine collection of data on volumes of soil removed is also crucial, not only for pottery workers but for analysts of animal bone and other finds categories.

2.4 Vessel Types & Quantification

Similarly, consistent and comparable recording (and quantification) of vessel types is essential to the understanding of variations in assemblage composition. Hence the use of a single measure for quantification of fabric (eg. as recommended by Fulford and Huddleston (1991)) will not enable these vital questions to be addressed.

2.5 Compatibility of Reporting on Specialist Wares

The importance of ensuring that Samian ware, amphorae and mortaria are fully integrated into the overall pottery report, particularly in terms of compatible quantification techniques, needs to be widely appreciated as this is still not standard practice.

2.6 Regional Fabric and Form Series

While a regional fabric and form series is considered desirable in principle it is generally thought that in practice there would be relatively little demand for them/it in the foreseeable future, partly because of the relative scarcity of workers in the region. However, in the case of Wales there is a perceived need for a Roman Pottery reference series, and the National Museum of Wales is intending to support this initiative. It is expected that the Museum will house and curate the collection, which will be established in consultation with Peter Webster and the Board of Celtic Studies Research Fellow examining the chronology of the Roman occupation in Wales (Colin Wallace, cf. 5.3). This development is welcomed by the SGRP.

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