Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Pottery Kilns of Roman Britain

The Pottery Kilns of Roman Britain
by Vivien Swan
Vivien Swan book cover
Published in 1984 and long out-of-print, The Pottery Kilns of Roman Britain (HMSO, London) by Vivien Swan is a remarkable achievement, marking out Britain as the single province for which such a detailed record of kilns and pottery production exists. Even more remarkable is that this resource is the work not of a team of researchers, but a single individual. Those who knew Vivien personally will not be surprised at this achievement, for her methodical and enthusiastic approach to the study of Roman pottery has been a model to many young scholars and resulted in a series of ground breaking articles, most recently using pottery to identify the ethnicity of the potters, particularly in the military context.
Vivien always wished that the gazetteer of The Pottery Kilns of Roman Britain could be made more widely available. Originally printed on microfiche, a limited run of hard copies was produced by Oxbow books but, like the book itself, was out-of- print. In recent years the importance of updating this gazetteer had also become clear, but her untimely death meant that Vivien could not undertake this task.
To honour the achievements of Vivien, the Study Group for Roman Pottery has initiated this project to digitise Vivien’s gazetteer with the aim of enhancing this data. It represents a large project for the Study Group and is being undertaken in stages. Stage one, the scanning and digitisation of the microfiche gazetteer and its mapping, is now completed. This involved the laborious task of copy-editing the digitised output against the original microfiche with some changes to accommodate the digital format.

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