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Issue 17: Editorial

Jon Kenny

Cite this as: J. Kenny 2005 'Issue 17: Editorial', Internet Archaeology 17. http://dx.doi.org/10.11141/ia.17.6

Issue 17 has been my first edition since taking over the reins as acting editor from Judith Winters who is on maternity leave. This has been a wonderful opportunity for me to work on five excellent articles that take us from Roman forts and samian pottery to Boreal Russia in the Holocene and from the recording of butchery marks on caprine bones to the presentation of 'grey literature' through XML and the Text Encoding Initiative Guidelines. Before introducing the content of this edition I would like to thank all the authors and supporters of Internet Archaeology for their patience and help in putting this edition to bed. Thank you.

The understanding of material culture is a central component of the study of archaeology. This issue brings together papers that illustrate and advance both the process of artefact study and the interpretation of material culture. The e-Monograph by Steven Willis represents the culmination of many years of work undertaken with the support of English Heritage. The objective of the study was to examine the chronology of samian in Britain and to investigate its occurrence. This paper is the second phase of the project and brings together Willis' synthesis and analysis of the data that he has collected. Willis gives us an examination of samian dating and chronology in detail but he also gives us much more: A discussion of samian supply to Roman Britain, the role of samian as a social indicator of status, samian in use and samian as part of burial ritual. Other approaches to artefact study are taken here too, an analysis of the spatial distribution, the role of samian on religous sites and of course the place of samian in broader artefact assemblages.

In addition to his analysis of the data set we also have the data itself. The data from the project have been archived by the Archaeology Data Service and are linked to the article. The data also form the core of a searchable database available through the article. In this way the reader can consult the data that underpins the author's analysis. This is an article that has been awaited with much anticipation by samian specialists, but it goes beyond specialist analysis to bring to the reader both detail and synthesis of this well known product of the Roman Empire.

The article by Allison, Fairbairn, Ellis and Blackall also concerns the examination of Roman artefacts and brings together two of the key contemporary approaches to archaeological interpretation: Spatial analysis and artefact assemblage analysis. In particular the article analyses gendered Roman space in a location often assumed to be a male preserve, the Roman fort or fortress. Allison et al have used GIS to analyse and present their data and conclusions, once again combining interpretation with evidence in a way particularly suited to Internet publication.

Allison et al introduce the reader to a particular example of a Roman fort at Vetera on the lower Rhine. The project involved the digitisation of material from the site excavated in the early 20th century with artefacts published in 1995. This article -like that of Willis- is the culmination of considerable work by the authors and it is with great excitement that we publish it in Internet Archaeology.

The article from Peter Popkin continues the artefact theme of issue 17. The recording and analysis of butchery marks on animal bone is an important part of the interpretation of animal bone assemblages. Through his paper Popkin has continued the work begun by Harland et al in Internet Archaeology by suggesting standardised methods for the recording of animal bone. In this case caprine (goat and sheep) bone and in particular butchery marks. The article has downloadable templates that can be printed and used for recording by researchers the world over.

From the study of Roman artefact assemblages, samian and animal bones the paper from Pavel M. Dolukhanov, Anvar M. Shukurov, Kh.A. Arslanov, A.N. Mazurkevich, L.A. Savel'eva, E.N. Dzinoridze M.A. Kulkova and Ganna I. Zaitseva takes us to assemblages of ecofacts. Pollen, diatom and geochemical analyses of samples from prehistoric lake dwelling sites in the valley of the Serteya River show the development of settlement in the Holocene. Settlement in the upper part of the basin of the Western Dvina River in North-Western Russia is shown to develop from the beginnings of agriculture circa 6200 BC to large scale pile dwellings from 4600-3400 BC.

Having started with Roman samian in Britain we finish back in Britain for an important article by Gail Falkingham. When my colleague William Kilbride and I organised a workshop in Vienna on the applications of XML in archaeology we recognised that substantive work on this subject was scarce. This is no longer the case. Falkingham has taken her Masters thesis completed in 2004 and written it as an article for Internet Archaeology. This paper is of interest both to those of us who take an interest in the application of ICT technologies in archaeology and to those who believe that archaeological site reports should be made available to a variety of user groups. Here Falkingham shows us how the 'grey literature' can be presented for many audiences using eXtensible Markup Language (XML) and in particular the XML version of the Text Encoding Initiative's TEI P4 Guidelines

In short, I hope that Internet Archaeology readers find these articles as stimulating as I did working on them.


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Last updated: Tue Apr 26 2005