Small objects, small questions? Perceptions of finds research in the academic community

Swift, E.V. (2007) Small objects, small questions? Perceptions of finds research in the academic community. In: Willis, S. and Hingley, R., eds. Roman Finds: context and theory. Oxbow Books, Oxford, pp. 18-28. ISBN 9781842171639. (Access to this publication is restricted)

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Abstract

Debate at recent conferences has touched on a particular area of concern-that unless more people are attracted into the study of Roman finds there will be a shortage of informed specialists in years to come. The situation is, however, unlikely to change unless we try to reach a fuller understanding of the state of finds research and the ways in which it is perceived. It is illuminating, for example, that the problem has been initially raised as that of a future skills shortage in the identification of objects, rather than the constraints on academic enquiry created by the neglect of finds as a serious research area. This paper reports the outcome of a questionnaire (circulated to Roman finds specialists in universities and members of the Roman finds group) on perceptions of Roman finds research and investigates the status of this research in universities. Finds researchers are shown to have a distinctive age/sex profile and finds research itself to be at the margins of academia. It can be argued that the perceived status of finds specialists and finds research, and the consequent numbers of researchers going into and staying in this area, will not change without a critical evaluation of established hierarchies (which encompasses both gender issues and perceptions of academic 'orthodoxy') within academia and more widely within archaeology.

Item Type: Book section
Uncontrolled keywords: Roman archaeology artefacts finds objects research historiography academic community
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages
Depositing User: Ellen Swift
Date Deposited: 29 Apr 2008 11:13
Last Modified: 05 Sep 2011 23:31
Resource URI: http://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/3060 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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