Approaches to the Investigation, Analysis and Dissemination of Work on Roman Rural Settlements and Landscapes in Britain

An important aspect of the Roman rural settlement project is the desire to harness the intelligence gathered by the project over the last four years to evaluate what we have seen of commercial professional practice in the investigation, analysis and reporting of rural settlements and landscapes. We also want to offer suggestions for how commercial approaches can be improved in the future. We hope this will be one of the major legacies of the project and one of its biggest impacts. We would like to provoke a debate within the profession about how we can get best value from commercial investigations, and to this end the project team have written eight short discussion papers on the following topics:

Paper 1 Introduction (Michael Fulford and Neil Holbrook)

Paper 2 Field Practice (Neil Holbrook)

Paper 3 Contextualisation (Stephen Rippon)

Paper 4 Pottery (Jane Timby)

Paper 5 Other Artefacts (Tom Brindle)

Paper 6 Faunal Remains (Martyn Allen)

Paper 7 Plant Remains (Lisa Lodwick)

Paper 8 Burial Practice (Rebecca Gowland and John Pearce)

Paper 9 Options To Address the Issues (Stewart Bryant)

We discussed and debated our thoughts at a day meeting at the University of Reading on Wednesday 14 September 2016. This was a well-attended and dynamic meeting, and it is hoped that some of the key conclusions of the day will be used to inform discussions and workshops on important issues within the heritage sector which are being convened in 2017 by the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists, in partnership with and funded by Historic England. Workshop topics include the synthesis of developer-funded information to create new historical narratives; the challenges of archaeological publication in a digital age, and professional standards and guidance. Our work is directly relevant to all three of these strands.

During 2017 we will also prepare a journal paper which summarises the main conclusions of the methodological strand of this project.