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10.0 Explore the data

The dataset

Details of the ceramics are stored in a data set which has 9 variables. These variables contain the data recorded for each entity. The basic entity in this dataset is a single sherd of pottery or group of sherds with the same values for all variables. This does not necessarily imply that all the sherds originated from a single vessel, only that the sherds are indistinguishable from one another using the variables which are presented here. This dataset has been developed from the data that were originally recorded during the cataloguing of the pottery. The original data have been tidied and consolidated to reduce near duplicate entries in the original dataset, for example original separate records for two body sherds of the same fabric have been consolidated into one record here. The values used have been standardised from the original field recordings and translated into English. The pottery was originally described with reference to a set of working illustrations which was created as cataloguing progressed. Subsequent study has reduced the number of illustrations by amalgamating similar illustrations into a single type for publication purposes and also by making reference to similar pottery published elsewhere. This process has also consolidated the records.

For the purposes of this publication the data structure used is a flat file dataset with 9 fields which are described below.

  1. WARE: variable to provide a series of broad classifications for the pottery: values are either in common use or developed for this dataset. Some examples are ´Bucchero´ ´Fine Creamware´ ´Coarseware 1´.
  2. FORM: variable to describe the general shape of the vessel: values are in common use, for example ´Jar´, ´Bowl´, ´Amphorae´ etc.
  3. TYPE: variable to record the detailed variations in the shape of each FORM of vessel: values are often 1, 2, 3, etc. to enable a description of the sherd as WARE x, FORM y, TYPE n. However, additional complications are required to differentiate parts of vessels. If an integer occurs alone this indicates a type of rim sherd, otherwise the nature of the sherd is indicated, for example Handle 1, Handle 2, etc. or Base 1, Base 2, etc. These values have been specifically developed for this dataset. They are directly equivalent to the TYPEs published from the city at Doganella and the Farm at Podere Tartuchino (Perkins and Walker 1990; Attolini and Perkins 1992). TYPEs with the same number but in different WAREs are similar to one another, so Coarseware 1 Jar Type 1 is similar to Coarseware 2 Jar Type 1. For the amphora made at Doganella the TYPE refers to the divisions made in Perkins and Walker 1990 so the TYPE becomes DOG2A, DOG2B etc. As always there is an irreducible minimum of sherds which do not fit easily into a schema. These have been listed as miscellaneous e.g. MISC1 etc.
  4. FABRIC: variable to record the fabric of the sherd; values are generally coincident with the variable WARE but in some cases a ware has been subdivided into different fabrics.
  5. NUMBER: variable integer indicating the number of sherds in the entity.
  6. DIAMETER: variable integer giving the diameter of a rim or base sherd in millimetres. Precision is to the nearest 10mm unless the sherd presented a complete diameter when it was measured to the nearest mm.
  7. COMMENT: variable to record observed values which did not easily fit into any other variable.
  8. FIGURE: variable providing a reference to a line drawing.
  9. SITE: variable to record the find spot of the entity. The primary item recorded by the system is a topographical location where archaeological material was found identified by an abbreviated reference to a 1:25,000 Instituto Geografico Militare map sheet by a code of two or three letters: e.g. SD = San Donato, MAG = Magliano in Toscana followed by an integer e.g. SD23. The integer has no significance beyond being a unique identifier for the location, although in many areas the numerical sequence is coincident with the order in which the archaeological sites were identified. If required the location number was sub-divided into units to represent different spatial locations of surface scatters within the topographic location or chronological divisions discovered in the material. These sub-divisions are represented as pseudo-decimals e.g. SD23.2. A location with only a single scatter or a single chronological period present is always presented as e.g. SD23.0

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Last updated: Fri Nov 13 1998