[Back] [Forward] [Contents] [Home]

2. Outline of Project Aims and Objectives

2.1 Creating a dataset of samian information

A principal aim of the Project has been to create a structured dataset of types of samian information of use to those working in and researching the Roman era.

One component of this dataset is the collation of a database of stratified (or otherwise discrete) dated samian groups, compiled from a sample of assemblages from across England, complemented with some site data from Wales and Scotland (Appendix 2.1). Previous quantitative and comparative studies (eg. Millett 1980; 1983; 1987b; Marsh 1981; Tyers 1993; Willis 1993; 1997b) had suggested that there was considerable scope for numerical and database analysis of samian ware, exploring various archaeological avenues. The database is designed to be an informative aid open to interrogation.

Three broad aims relating to the analysis of the data are:

  1. to offer guidance for those interested in dating site assemblages and collections, for instance, via the straight-forward assessment of ratios of plain ware types (and in some instances decorated types)
  2. to establish, or be able to establish with ease, the 'normal' life-span of types by examining their behaviour in a large number of stratified samples
  3. to establish to what degree there may or may not be something approaching a 'normal pattern' (or 'normal range') of samian occurrence by time, region and site type. If such patterns exist this would be potentially useful as specific site assemblages and stratified groups might be compared with such 'normal patterns', thereby highlighting similarity or deviance. The approach in this case is similar to that previously established with success for the characterisation of Roman coin assemblages (Reece 1973; 1983; 1993; 1995; for discussion of methodology see below).

Hence the core aim has been to produce a dataset of samian information, with analysis and commentary, that should be a practical resource for many types of non-specialist research, including the reporting of samian from fieldwork.

2.2 Samian and chronology; dating site groups

A central purpose of the Project is to consider samian evidence as an index for dating and to explore samian and chronology, moving beyond specific sites and assemblages using a wide sample to identify broad trends. The Project aims to consider, therefore, samian and aspects of chronology:

[Back] [Forward] [Contents] [Home]

© Internet Archaeology URL: http://intarch.ac.uk/journal/issue17/1/2.1_2.html
Last updated: Mon Mar 7 2005