A RESEARCH DESIGN FOR THE STUDY OF ROMAN POTTERY IN THE EAST MIDLANDS & EAST ANGLIA

Edited by T.S. Martin & C.R. Wallace on behalf of The Study Group for Roman Pottery, East Midlands & Anglia Regional Group October 1997; selectively revised 2002

INTRODUCTION

This research design covers the civitates of the Catuvellauni, Corieltauvi, Iceni and Trinovantes which roughly corresponds to the East Midlands and East Anglia. This large tract of lowland England is bounded to the north by the Humber, to the south by the Thames and for much of the west by the Warwickshire border; it includes the modern counties of Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Derbyshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Middlesex, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Rutland and Suffolk). For most of the Roman period (apart from the immediately post-conquest period and in the later period around the East Anglian coast) it formed a large portion of the civil zone (ie. that area not under direct military supervision). Study of the pottery from this vast area can provide important information about marketing patterns and the demand for pottery in a purely civilian context (both urban and rural) and clues concerning the interaction between soldier and civilian in the later period. The national importance of the region’s pottery, especially its pottery industries, is clear to all those involved in studying it; not least since its products were widely traded.

The East Midlands and Anglia Roman Pottery Research Group (EMARPRG) was set up in 1981 to view and discuss pottery in response to the need for specialists to take part in regular collective discussion of topics relevant to, and affecting pottery work and attitudes towards it. Many of these topics will be echoed in this document. They include: the need for local fabric reference collections containing examples of all the main wares likely to be found in the region (cf. 1.1.2); funding (cf. Appendix 1); methodology (cf. 1.2); publication policies; research projects etc. Though several of these areas appear to be closer to some kind of resolution, others are not.

The basis of any research design must be to identify major lacunae in knowledge (Part 2) and the necessary steps to remedy them (Part 3). Many of the issues outlined in this document are not specifically regional, but of national significance: they impact at both national and regional levels (cf. HBMCE 1991, 51; Olivier 1996). This Regional Research National Research Framework concentrates particularly upon two points:-

(i) the potential themes for future integrated study as academic objectives, to which pottery can fruitfully contribute and against which the opportunities presented by threats to deposit/sites/landscapes/collections can be assessed (Part 2);

(ii) the necessary pre-conditions for future advances, if work is to be completed in, say, the next ten years (Part 3).

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