Consumption, deposition and social practice: a ceramic approach to intra-site analysis in late Iron Age to Roman Britain

Martin Pitts

Department of Classics & Ancient History. University of Exeter, Amory Building, Rennes Drive, Exeter. EX4 4RJ.


This paper outlines an approach for the interrogation of excavated pottery assemblages from archaeological sites, as a means of providing insights into themes such social practice and identity, at an intra-site resolution. Particular emphasis is placed on the extensive digital archive from the late Iron Age to Roman site of Elms Farm, Heybridge, Essex. Using a combination of simple (tables) and more complex statistical procedures (correspondence analysis), the contents and contexts of multiple pottery assemblages from this site are analysed with a view to shedding light on patterns of food consumption and identity. Finally, the resultant narrative of changing patterns of eating, drinking and disposal at Elms Farm is discussed in terms of the cultural, social, and economic impact of the arrival of Roman hegemony in Britain.

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