I was at IfA conference last week, where my paper seemed to go down well. Time will tell if it will make a difference. One of the nice aspects of IfA conference is catching up with old friends but also find out what is happening in the wider world beyond my ivory lab.
One intriguing tid-bit was a discussion with the head of a middle sized organisation looking into the use of tablet based recording systems. this reminded me of this blog: paperless archaeology which reflects some of the process of converting recording systems into a digital process. This pretty well reflects my experience in developing computer based solutions for archaeological recording both for field and find work. One very important aspect of the process is you develop an initiate relationship with record methods, and have to think about practice, so I think if the contracting side is embracing this technology there may well be a recording revolution just around the corner. A revolution which I hope is theoretically
As part of my Easter of business I am giving a paper at the IfA conference in Birmingham on 'The sampling of CBM'. sadly that is the most boring title in the session - I must be loosing my touch or trying to hard at this multi tasking lark!
Anyhow the opening of the paper is a very quick summary of the potential of CBM - because we need to have a clear idea about what we are asking before we ask the question. ('How can we find anything if we don't know what we are looking for?' to paraphase Kant)
and one of the examples I'm interested in is supply - in the later Roman Period in Britain we see the rise of a few regionally dominant industries (after a much more locally based industry with itinerant tile makers up to the early 2nd)
I have now identified Crambeck, Horningsea, Harrold, Holme-on-Spalding Moor and Towcester pink grog tempered manufacturies. For the latter Jeremy Taylor has produced a distribution for the pottery in this fabric (JRPS4) over which I have overlaid the fabric proportions from sites in which I have identified the same fabric in CBM - both roof tile and flue tile - shown above.
The distribution match quite nicely , although I would like to have a few more points in the distribution map. I will also need to do further work on what specific CBM forms are being distributed, and with what pottery forms. Given that the unit of distribution is the roof load, or the hypocaust load, I wouldn't expect distribution pattens to be the same as for pottery - perhaps much more stepped - and there is the intriguing question of which product is being shipped with what - or is it more complicated than that?
Anyway the main point is that these late Roman tiles are the last roofing in the Roman period - the buildings are deserted and collapse or are demolished, so the majority of the tile is in the tip soil - two of the projects above are field walking surveys, which suggests that excavating topsoil and keeping the roof tiles is actually a useful thing to do. Not too sure how persuadable field specialists would be on this topic.
I missed the last two TRAC conferences, 2011 at Newcastle because of time limits, and 2012 at Frankfurt because I find it hard to justify the expense of too many international conferences. Fortunately I have managed to attend some of the University of Leicester's research seminars this term so I knew a lot of the 'new contingent'.as well as having the opportunity of meeting up with old friends and colleagues. I was very pleased that there so many sessions and papers on finds and material culture. Unfortunately there was a clash so I could not attend the economics session which would have been potentially of extreme relevance to my work, but that is always the case at conferences.
-Our paper was in the general session of the last day. we have had some polite feedback, (and always welcome as much feed back as possible) the main question centered around the pattern emerging from the date distribution graphs that show the sharp decline in pottery loss in the later 2nd. third century, but a contrasting rise in amphorae consumption in the 3rd century - which raises a whole series of intriguing questions which I will write about on another occasion
I am a finds specialist, working on Roman and Medeival CBM as well as Roman pottery. I a based in Britain but work all over the area of the ancient classical world, including, to date, Lebanon, Syria,Bulgaria Tunisia and Italy