Romano-British pottery in the fifth century

Online publication ‘Internet Archaeology’ has released a themed issue on the topic of Romano-British pottery in the 5th century. Click here to access the issue.

Introduction

In 2012 the Centre for Interdisciplinary Artefacts Studies (part of the School of History, Classics and Archaeology) at Newcastle University hosted a day conference on ‘Roman Pottery in the Fifth Century AD’. At this conference some fifty delegates listened to papers given by nine archaeologists drawn from academia, commercial units, museums and freelance specialists. The diverse backgrounds of the contributors as well as the audience underlines why the conference and this edition of Internet Archaeology are needed. Previously there had been no venue that had brought these specialists together in the same forum.

The genesis of the conference and this set of articles actually lies further back still. During my period of doctoral research at the University of York (2002-2005) I investigated the end of the Dorset Black Burnished pottery (BB1) industry in south-western Britain (Gerrard 2005). Part of this research involved reaching out to colleagues who worked with Romano-British pottery and it showed that a surprising number considered they had evidence that Romano-British pottery was being used and/or produced in the 5th century AD. When asked whether their views were published the response was, perhaps unsurprisingly given that many of these individuals worked in commercial archaeology, that they had neither the time nor the resources to disseminate their data and interpretations (Perrin 2011). Extremely interesting material was thus languishing unpublished or was hiding in obscure papers and monographs. The publication of some of this material was clearly an important step in problematizing how the ‘end’ of Roman pottery production in Britain was interpreted (Willis¬†2004, 16-17). It is hoped that this collection of articles will go some way to resolving the lacuna I first observed a decade ago.

James Gerrard.