SGRP Conference 2017: Tullie House, Carlisle

The SGRP 2017 conference will be held at Tullie House in Carlisle from Friday 14th July to Sunday 16th July. Over the weekend we hope to address several themes, including Roman pottery from North-West Britain and pottery from other larger projects. There will also be a visit to the Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage site.

The Committee would like to invite 20 minute papers on recent or current pottery research. While we hope for a particular emphasis on material from the North of Britain, all contributions will be considered. Anyone wishing to give a paper is asked to provide a title and submit a short abstract of c 100-200 words to the Secretary by 31st January 2017.

Further details about the conference will be posted in due course.

Out now: A Standard for Pottery Studies in Archaeology

Standard_Pottery_StudiesPottery is one of the most common artefacts recovered from archaeological excavations. While it is widely regarded as a reliable tool for dating, pottery is also significant as evidence for technology, tradition, modes of distribution, patterns of consumption, and site formation processes.

But when simple, basic tasks have not been carried out, and the true value of an assemblage has not been understood, the potential for missing important information is too great. With that in mind, A Standard for Pottery Studies in Archaeology takes the reader through the various stages of an archaeological project, from planning and data collection through to report writing and archiving, with the intention of informing not only pottery specialists but also those who manage and monitor projects.

This Standard, produced with funding from Historic England, was compiled by the Prehistoric Ceramics Research Group, the Study Group for Roman Pottery and the Medieval Pottery Research Group, with the aim of creating the first comprehensive, inclusive standard for working with pottery. It is intended for use in all types of archaeological project, including those run by community groups, professional contractors and research institutions.

Click here to download a copy of A Standard for Pottery Studies in Archaeology.

Case for joint standards in pottery studies made in new volume

Insight_from_Innovation_coverThe Insight from Innovation conference, held in honour of David Peacock, provided an opportunity for representatives of the three main pottery groups (SGRP, PCRG and MPRG) to collaborate on a joint paper in honour of David Peacock. The paper reflected on Peacock’s contribution to pottery studies and reviewed some strengths and weaknesses of current practice. This collaboration was itself a significant innovation, for, although sharing many of the same interests, methods and concerns, the three period groups have typically functioned in isolation.

The principal objectives of the published paper were to emphasise shared ambitions and methodologies and to advocate the case for a joint guidance document that would press for appropriate standards of analysis to be maintained, and for innovation to be fostered, in the face of increasing commercial pressures. The collaboration forged between the three groups, while working on this paper, resulted in the production of the joint pottery standards, which have now been published.

The paper, ‘Hold your beliefs lightly’: Innovation and best practice in Prehistoric, Roman and post-Roman ceramic studies in Britain, by Jane Evans, Duncan Brown and David Knight, can be downloaded here.

Insight from Innovation: New Light on Archaeological Ceramics, edited by Emilie Sibbesson, Ben Jervis and Sarah Coxon, is published by Oxbow Books. Click here for more details.

SGRP Roman pottery conference 2016

SGRP_logo_2016_smallStudy Group for Roman Pottery Annual Conference
Saturday June 11th – Sunday June 12th 2016

This year the SGRP conference is being held in Peterborough and will be based at the Park Inn Hotel. There is a choice of week-end residential or day attendance only. On the Saturday there will be a full programme of papers focussing on pottery from the Nene Valley area as well as pottery from London and further afield. There will also be a visit to the museum (5 min away) during an extended lunch break. In the evening there will be a conference meal at the hotel.

On Sunday morning a visit is being organised to visit Normangate Field (Castor) and a tour of the Praetorium and church led by Dr Stephen Upex. The Church community centre, which is on site is organised to provide morning coffee.

Click here to download the conference programme

Click here to download the conference registration form

SGRP annual conference 2016 – first call for papers

Peterborough, Saturday June 11th – Sunday June 12th 2016

Nene Valley colour-coated beakerFIRST CALL FOR PAPERS

This year the SGRP conference is being held at Peterborough, based at the Park Inn Hotel. There is a choice of week-end residential or day attendance only. The format will slightly differ in that we will have one concentrated day of papers with pottery handling on Saturday. Sunday is devoted to a visit to Castor (Normangate Field), and a tour of the “Praetorium” and Church, led by Dr. Stephen Upex.

We are looking for offers of papers up to 20 minutes in length but shorter contributions are also welcome to highlight new finds or interesting facts. Please get in touch with SGRP secretary, Jane Timby, if you would like to contribute.

Latest volume of JRPS now out

Journal of Roman Pottery Studies, volume 16The latest volume of the Journal of Roman Pottery Studies has just been published. Containing papers that cover a diverse range of topics, the volume represents a cross-section of current research on Roman pottery in the UK and on the Continent.

Among the papers presented in the volume are investigations of the pottery industries of Verulamium and north Kent, a look at pottery production in Belgium and Germany, studies of unusual kiln vessels from Essex and Tripolitanian amphorae in France, a discussion on the mechanism of samian supply, and reviews of samian ware in northern and western Britain, North-West England.

Volume 16 of JRPS is available to buy from Oxbow Books, currently at the special price of £28. Click on the link to find out more.

Successful SGRP conference in Norwich

A good time was had by all at the annual SGRP conference, this year held in Norwich on the 12th-14th June. Delegates at the city’s Castle Museum and then the University of East Anglia heard a range of fascinating papers over the three days. Topics covered the Roman pottery of Eastern Britain, news from major pottery projects, the ceramics of London and the Channel Islands, and aspects of manufacture. We were especially pleased to welcome members from the Prehistoric Ceramics Research Group to the conference for a joint session on recording standards, guidelines, and pottery resources.SGRP 2015 at Norwich Castle MuseumA highlight of the conference was a tour of Roman Norfolk, beginning with a visit to the Roman town at Caistor St Edmund. Professor Will Bowden, who has been undertaking fieldwork at the site, led the group round the walls and spoke about the origins and development of the town. The visit ended at the village church, where members were offered tea and biscuits, which were very welcome on a soggy day.

SGRP 2015: Tour of Caistor Roman townThen it was off to Burgh Castle Saxon Shore Fort near Great Yarmouth. Dr Steven Willis gave an entertaining tour of the walls of the fort, which remain very impressive.SGRP 2015: Tour of Burgh Castle Saxon shore fortApart from the papers and the tour, delegates also enjoyed a wine reception and buffet at the Castle Museum, and a conference dinner at the Queens Head, Burgh. Huge thanks are owed to Alice Lyons and her team for organising the conference, and ensuring that everything ran smoothly the entire weekend.

2012 Glasgow conference – Fri 6th to Sun 8th July 2012

This years’s conference is to be held at The University of Glasgow.              

The University of Glasgow
The conference theme will be two-pronged. Firstly, in celebration of the Group’s 40th conference, a reflective look over Roman ceramic studies in the past, present and future. Secondly, given the conference location, it seems an ideal opportunity to explore Roman ceramic production and consumption in frontier contexts.
Download programme Download registration form

Futher details are available on this years’s conference page

Mortarium Training Workshop – Saturday 5th May 2012

The SGRP will be running a day school to provide training in mortarium research. The workshop will be tailored to existing Roman pottery researchers or students looking to develop a greater understanding of mortaria research. The day will include a demonstration by Kay Hartley on how to take rubbings and recommendations on how to publish mortaria. A discussion of the Lincolnshire and South Yorkshire industries will be included as a case study. A large quantity of mortaria from these industries would be available for study and for researchers to take rubbings from for their own reference.
Specialist knowledge on the subject will be provided by Kay Hartley, Maggi Darling and Paul Buckland.
The meeting will be held at The Lincolnshire Archives St Rumbold Street, Lincoln, LN2 5AB.

The SGRP protest against the destruction of archaeological sites in Lezoux (France)

At the 2011 conference of the Société Française d’Etude de la Céramique Antique en Gaule (SFECAG) in Arles, Philippe Bet gave a rather worrying talk about the escalating destruction of Roman Pottery kilns and associated archaeological sites in Lezoux. The local authorities have long disregarded the national and international importance of this 130 hectares site, but this neglect has taken a more worrying turn recently and several housing developments have gone ahead without proper archaeological investigations or care. In 1994, a thorough assessment by P. Bet, R. Brulet and others had established various archaeological sensitive spots within the city of Lezoux. This document proved fundamental to the development of an urban strategy specific to Lezoux taking into consideration archaeological remains. Unfortunately this urban plan seems to be largely ignored now. 

The SFECAG Committee decided to write a letter of protest which was published on their website on the 7th of June 2011. In this letter the SGRP is listed as one of the organizations they were seeking support from. The matter was raised at this year’s SGRP annual conference in Amsterdam and the assembled international specialists were shocked to hear about the destruction of various archaeological sites in the town of Lezoux, At the AGM, on the 24th of June 2011, SGRP members voted unanimously to protest against this destruction and we therefore publish this letter in support of the SFECAG.
The SGRP Committee has also composed and signed a letter of protest in French which has been emailed to Lucien Rivet, president of the SFECAG.
You can find the SFECAG letter and a film of Philippe Bet’s talk on the SFECAG website:
 If you scroll towards the bottom of the front page and click on “PROTESTATION SOLENNELLE “Lezoux” under the “ANNONCES/PARUTION/NOUVEAUTÉS” heading, you will find a link to a PDF copy of the letter and a link to Philippe Bet’s talk.
The letter is as follows:-
Study Group for Roman Pottery
 Protest against the destruction of archaeological remains at the site of Lezoux (Puy-de-Dôme, France)
At this year’s annual conference of the Study Group for Roman Pottery (SGRP), in Amsterdam, the assembled international specialists were shocked to hear about the destruction of various archaeological sites in the town of Lezoux, At their AGM, on the 24th of June 2011, SGRP members voted unanimously to protest against this destruction, We therefore publish this letter in support of the SFECAG.
   The Study Group wishes to emphasize the international importance of the site of Lezoux, where workshops produced a range of Roman pottery. Lezoux products were distributed across the whole of the Roman Empire, an area which today encompasses most of the modern European Union, and beyond. The Lezoux ceramics, particularly the samian ware, are therefore part of a common European heritage. They, and their production sites, provide a unique and irreplaceable source of information on chronology and commerce across the Roman Empire. Any impediment to the appropriate recording, study and publication of archaeological remains in Lezoux will therefore have international consequences and implications.
   The Study Group wishes to convey its profound concern regarding the apparent lack of coherent, long-term planning regulation in the town of Lezoux, and the consequent potential loss of internationally significant knowledge. We therefore call on the relevant local, regional and national authorities to act to stop further damage to the archaeological heritage of the town, in line with the European Convention on the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage.
8th October 2011
Jane Evans, SGRP President
and the SGRP Committee:
Alex Beeby, Ted Connell,
 Gwladys Monteil, Ian Rowlandson,
 Andrew Souter, Cathy Tester & Jane Timby