3.10 Research Recommendations

• Fuller and more consistent application of science to support post-excavation study.

• The greater use of in situ non-destructive analysis in museums and on site.

• More in-depth technological examination and analysis of key artefacts and collection groups in collections in Scotland. 

• Enhance partnerships and strategies that will maximise equipment and facility availability and use for informed application of heritage science in Scotland.

• Secure or stabilise funding for central analytical facilities, including large-scale systems such as X-radiography.

• Ensure that heritage science in Scotland remains a core component of the UK wide scene through active participation in the Heritage Science Forum and by demonstrating public benefit and increasing opportunities for engagement.

• Research and development in ORA. Application of ORA to later pottery.  Adopt more holistic approaches to organic residues that incorporates, for example, the botanical and faunal records. Develop further the protein-based method. 

• Encourage a more rounded characterisation of ceramics, glass, metals and lithics such that questions of origin and technology are looked at together.  Where possible link this work to corresponding effort elsewhere in the UK and beyond.

• Encourage more experimental work linked with analysis/examination.

• Exploit further the applications of stable isotope analysis.

• Assess the need and opportunities for better facilities for the preservation and interpretation of wet organic materials from excavation or underwater sites.

• Highlight what techniques are not currently used but should be used on Scottish material.

In addition, the following comprise potential opportunities

• Further work on the sourcing of steatite, and flint, and the sourcing of rock types to help understand sources, distribution systems and chronology behind building and sculpted stones.

• Identify and study of mines and metal sources (with a focus on proxy environmental records as a first step).

• Define and interpret regional alloy patterns at all periods.

• Make an over-arching study of ironworking evidence in Scotland to produce models of its organisation, similar to the recent synthesis of non-ferrous metalworking.

• Undertake the metallographic study of artefacts to understand iron technology and its influences in Scotland, notably the question of any Roman influence and changes in the Early Historic/Norse period.

• Investigate the production, chronology and function of Crogan pottery in Scotland.

• Investigate the material and technological aspects of Scottish industries, such as glass, paints/varnishes and other materials used in building and decorating, on a diachronic basis from their earliest manifestations to the early twentieth century.