8.2 The Challenge of fieldwork

Today, much of the new raw material for study comes from developer-funded archaeology. This puts a heavy responsibility on local authority archaeologists, who often have to deal with conflicting priorities. In terms of immediate practical issues, the following are highlighted.

  1. Planning controls should consider as standard the area within 1km of a Roman fort site as sensitive and worthy of evaluation.
  2. Camp interiors should be excavated as standard, on a large scale, and the exterior sampled as well as the ditch.
  3. Excavation of Roman sites in order to maximise the data outcome is expensive. There are often massive inventories of finds (including quantities of ironwork, expensive to conserve), and environmental and other samples (all requiring specialist treatment). Post-excavation work can be long drawn out and very demanding in human and material resources. Recent years have seen a number of worrying cases where the recovery of data or its post-excavation treatment has been inadequate, and some cases sadly are known where material was barely looked at before being consigned to archive. This is unacceptable.
  4. A programme of publishing backlog Roman excavations is badly needed.


8.1 Introduction

The volume of work that has been undertaken in Roman Scotland since the late 19th century has built up a substantial corpus of information about individual sites and artefacts. Antiquarians have been intrigued by the Romans for centuries, whether recording sites in the field or collecting artefacts for their collections (see 2.2 and 2.3 above). The Roman period is data-rich compared to many other periods; the increasing availability of such data means that it has the potential to offer exciting and challenging future research opportunities, but poses practical issues which are discussed in the following sections.