One of the strengths of the micro-archaeological approach used by FSARG in this project is 100% recovery of pottery – the sievers do not miss the tiniest sherd. The following Excel workbook shows the distribution of this pottery grouped by chronological period for each of the Test Pits (TPs). The quantities shown are in grams. All of these pits, except for TP27, were excavated using 30cm spits, to a maximum depth of 1.2metres (four spits at most). Where for various reasons (see TP reports) a full spit was not excavated, an appropriate weighting has been applied to the pottery amount found. This means that the distributions in the pits can be reliably compared, an analytical technique which has been useful for interpretation.
The chronological periods are defined as follows:
Much of the pottery can be more closely dated than this – our mermaid logo, for example, is taken from an Early English Delft bowl c1660 found in TP17. In many cases more detail is given in Test Pit reports. At present (June 2007) we are in the process of setting up a pottery reference collection: once this has been professionally checked we will publish it online and use it to describe the assemblages in more detail.
We do have something of a dilemma. So far we have around 50 kg of pottery, most of it small body sherds and nearly all of it excavated using a spit approach. Cataloguing all of these thousands of pieces seems unhelpful and laborious, yet a fair number of them are interesting and significant – imported wares, for example.
Orton’s ‘eves’ approach is not appropriate here because of the arbitrary nature of the spit boundaries. We could be selective and catalogue only medieval and earlier pottery for each TP, or, alternatively, concentrate on a few TPs with particularly representative assemblages e.g. TP1, TP14. I would welcome advice on this. Whatever we decide, we will be archiving all of the pottery for future users.
Pat Reid, June 2007
Late Iron Age
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