Allard Mees` abstract

Allard Mees, RGZM Mainz
Internet based Samian research and statistical methods.
The wealth of information provided by more than 100 years of Samian
research is growing and growing. In fact, one could say that western part of
Europe was covered with a thick layer of Sigillata in Roman times. Problems
caused by this sheer quantity have hindered serious progress in research
methodology for a long time. Especially in terms of decorated ware, vague
and unverifiable art historical ideas clearly dominate.
Samian was produced in a standardised way. As the Samian data recovered
are usually also recorded in a standardised way, the perspectives for “putting
Samian into the computer” are at currently unparalleled in archaeology. It
allows for laying grids on its Europe-wide distribution, workshop internal
analysis on work specialisation, but also site internal spatial analysis.
However, it also became clear that some analysis routines required for the
questions put by archaeologists aren’t available in commercial software
packages. Archaeologist in this field must therefore be aware that creating
and using specialist software adapted for archaeologists is also part of the job.
It is a fact that the main usage of software in archaeology is software driven.
New commercial software to play with always produces new graphs in
archaeology, no matter whether the colourful graphs produced actually make
sense or not. However, for Samian research at least, real software coding is
also required on occasion, in order to provide archaeological answers to
archaeological questions. The current trend towards browser and web based
database software development gains its momentum from the fact that it
parallels the development towards the emerging Europe-wide cooperation
between institutions and extra-mural specialists.
Work the Net, instead of Surf the Net, together with the development of web
based databases and web based archaeological mapping and exploration
tools are provide sufficient ingredients for a thrilling future in this research
Examples will be shown of different applications, which will throw some light
on targets and limitations of statistical methods used in Samian research.
Themes in this lecture on “Samian research and statistical methods”:
Where do we come from in archaeological statistics and where are we going?
- the roadmap of publications on archaeological statistics
How many pots do I need to be able to say something?
- volatility
Inside structures
Correspondence analysis of figure type usage
- the development from Italian towards provincial Roman workshop structures
Seriation and Chronology
- Comparing seriations and dating evidence
Using Harris matrices
- kiln site internal chronology by damaged poinçons
Outside structures
- Correspondence analysis on intra site level
- Correspondence analysis on distribution level
Web based mapping: Just dots on distribution maps?
- Mapping based on Chi-Square values or Mócsy values
Web based correspondence analysis
- looking inside the structures behind the Index of Potters’ Stamps
Recording it all
- bias and representativity when collecting Samian data