A selection of ceramics through the ages (5 second delay) Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology The Collections:
PotWeb: Ceramics online
@ the Ashmolean Museum
Early Europe & Near East
Classical to Medieval
Europe from 1500
Oriental & Islamic
Have we answered the question?

 

Although the visual examination of coarseware and fineware sherds did not prove conclusive, the chi-sqarue test gave us the statistic that there is somewhere between a 5% and a 2% probability that the two areas had similar functions, based upon the ceramic assemblages.

 

This is an extremely low figure which can be taken to strengthen Professor Biddle's reasoning that the building excavated in Area 11, functioned differently to that of a 'typical' Seacourt house as represented by Area 4. This statistic, although not proving the existence of an inn, provides mathematical justification for further study.

 

However, the results may also be misleading. Rather than strengthening our argument about the function of these buildings, the results may simply reflect the level of 'brokenness' of the vessels. More detailed recording is needed to eliminate this possibility, a requirement which the four week time limit for this study would not allow.

 

In answer to the general question, 'Is it worthwhile re-examining sites such as Seacourt?', this case-study has undeniably highlighted the fact that there is far more information that can be obtained by looking at the excavated material once again.

 

 

Figure 6. Photograph showing the excavations of Seacourt, source: Biddle, 1963.

 

The Oxford Western by-pass now covers this area making any future work difficult. Re-examination of existing excavated material is therefore essential for sites such as these.

General view looking north of the 1958 excavations on the East side of the former Botley / Wytham road. Area 4 is in the middle distance, with Area 5 beyond.

With modern scientific methods employed, such as residue analysis or thin-section fabric analysis for example, a greater insight as to the function of ceramics from such sites could be obtained. Coupled with modern dating techniques and a greater time limit, this study shows that there is unquestionable potential to greatly enhance the picture, first outlined by Professor Martin Biddle in 1963.

 


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