Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Adventures in archaeological research: 1

I've just started the second, more intensive research phase for my Early medieval ceramic building materials in Yorkshire article.

First up, is establishing the presence of curved and flanged tiles in Scarborough. This has entailed checking out the origination of this oft-quoted occurence. It seems to come from J N Hare's Battle Abbey publication (1985). Anthony D F Streeten's refreshingly substantial Ceramic Building Materials report (p79-102) discusses the presence of curved and flanged tiles at the Abbey. He then cites the Scarborough curved and flanged tiles, and the references is: P and N Famer, pers. comm. The tiles were found from the early phase of Scarborough ware (pottery) production, where they were found amongst wasters.

The next step was to find out if this material was ever published. Cue a visit to the British and Irish Archaeological Bibliography.

There were three references:

An introduction to Scarborough Ware and a reassessment of knight jugs
1979, Peter G Farmer: privately published by author

Symposium on Scarborough Ware
1982, P G Farmer, N C Farmer & et al: Medieval Ceram, 6, 1982, 66-119

Excavations at the deserted medieval village of Osgodby near Scarborough, 1956-65
1968, Peter G Farmer: Trans Scarborough Dist Archaeol Soc, 2(11), 1968, 29-61

Unfortunately, none of them are after the date of the pers comm from the Battle Abbey report. However, I will still check them out. To do that, I have to find out if the local libraries have got them.

I checked the University of York - they have Medieval Ceramics. They also have a puzzling reference to the Trans Scarborough Dist Archaeol Soc at the Borthwick, but I suspect they don't have the complete run. However the Scarborough and District Archaeological Society have a website, and if I need to, I will go directly to them. Indeed they have several more recent Scarborough archaeological publications, but I've already checked those (they are in my CBM library) and the legendary curved and flanged tiles are not mentioned there.

Next with trepidation onto the the privately published 'An introduction to Scarborough Ware ...' But it's not a problem. The York Minster Library has a copy. Phew.

Another avenue of enquiry would be to talk to P. and N. Farmer. Unfortunately, Peter Farmer had died, as his obituary was reported in Medieval Ceramics in 2001. I haven't yet made much headway in finding out the whereabouts of N. Farmer. Indeed, on the personal contact front, there may be several other people to talk to, as they are currently involved in the archaeology of Scarborough, so it is likely I will try them first.

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