Standards for Pottery Studies in Archaeology

A Standard for Pottery Studies in Archaeology (2016). The document was compiled by the three period-specific pottery study groups (PCRG, SGRP, MPRG) with the aim of creating the first, comprehensive, inclusive standard for working with pottery. The Standard is intended for use in all types of archaeological project, including those run by community groups, professional contractors and research institutions. Link: 

CIfA Standard and guidance for the collection, documentation, conservation and research of archaeological materials (2014) . Collection, documentation, conservation and research of archaeological materials (hereafter finds work) will result in an ordered, stable, accessible archive using appropriate methods and practices. Finds work will result in report(s) intended for dissemination. The methods and practices employed must satisfy the stated aims of any project of which finds work comprises all or part, and comply with the Code of conduct, and other relevant regulations of CIfA. 

CIfA Standard and guidance for the creation, compilation, transfer and deposition of archaeological (2014). All archaeological projects that include the recovery or generation of data and/archaeological materials (finds) will result in a stable, ordered, accessible archive. All archaeologists are responsible for ensuring that the archive is created and compiled to recognised standards, using consistent methods, and is not subject to unnecessary risk of damage or loss. It is the responsibility of all curators of archaeological archives to ensure that archives are stored to recognised standards for long-term preservation and made accessible for consultation. archives.

PCRG (2010). The Study of Prehistoric Pottery. General Policies and Guidelines for Analysis and Publication, PCRG Occasional Papers 1 and 2 (third edition), Salisbury: Wessex Archaeology.   This book is primarily intended for use by those finds specialists involved in the study of prehistoric ceramics although it is hoped that it may ultimately encourage others into the discipline. It is primarily concerned with the analysis of pottery and is intended to be a useful aid for both pottery specialists and for all those other archaeologists (amateur and professional alike) who may be interested in the ceramics of this period. It is also hoped that it will prove of use to those involved with the design and the funding of excavation, post-excavation and research projects. Furthermore, it is intended that this book be used as a general basis for the application of a commonly-applied policy for the study of prehistoric pottery as well as being informative in providing a framework for particular excavations and assemblages.

CIfA (2015). Finds Group response to the draft Standard for Pottery Analysis in Archaeology.
A working group comprised of representatives from the Medieval Pottery Research Group (MPRG), the Study Group for Roman Pottery (SGRP) and the Prehistoric Ceramic Research Group (PCRG) and funded by Historic England has produced a draft Standard for Pottery Analysis in Archaeology. CIfA’s Finds Group has commented on the draft and its comments can be found here.

Perrin K, et al, (2014). A Standard and Guide to Best Practice for Archaeological Archiving in Europe, EAC Guidelines. The aim of the Standard and Guide to Best Practice in Archaeological Archiving in Europe (hereafter called ‘the Guide’) is to make archaeological data, information and knowledge available, stable, consistent and accessible for present and future generations. Archaeological archives contain material objects (finds), records and data about our past which are irreplaceable and vulnerable to damage and loss. The Guide consists of a Standard accompanied by best practice Guidance for archaeological archiving, both of which will enable archaeologists to archive properly the material and documentary results of their work. It sets out how to care for and curate that archive both before and after it is placed in permanent storage. Best%20Practice%20in%20Archaeological%20Archiving%20in%20Europe


Other relevant references:

Watkinson, D. (1987). First aid for finds.

Darling, M J 1994 Guidelines for the archiving of Roman pottery, SGRP Guidelines Advisory Document 1

Doherty, A 2015 Using archaeological archives: a case study of finds from Roman Essex, SpoilHeap Publications

Dunne, J. forthcoming. Organic Residue Analysis and Archaeology: Guidance for Good Practice. Historic England

Haggarty, G, Hall, D and Chenery, S 2011 Sourcing Scottish Redwares, MPRG Occasional Paper No 3

Irving, A 2011 A Research Framework for Post-Roman Ceramic Studies in Britain.

Medieval Pottery Research Group Occasional Paper 6 MPRG 1998, A guide to the classification of medieval ceramic forms, MPRG Occ Pap 1

Orton, C 1993 How many pots make five? An historical review of pottery quantification, Archaeometry 35 (2)

Orton, C, Tyers, P, and Vince, A, 1993, Pottery in archaeology, Cambridge University Press

Orton, C and Hughes, M, 2013, Pottery in archaeology, second edition, Cambridge University Press

Peacock, DPS 1977 Pottery and Early Commerce, Academic Press, London

Perrin, R 2011 A Research Strategy and Updated Agenda for the Study of Roman Pottery in Britain. Study Group for Roman Pottery Occasional Paper 1

Slowikowski, A., Nenk, B. and Pearce, J., 2001, Minimum Standards for the Processing, Recording, Analysis and Publication of Post-Roman Ceramics, Medieval Pottery Research Group, Occasional Paper No.2

Tomber, R, and Dore, J, 1998 The national Roman fabric reference collection: a handbook, MoLAS Monograph 2. (

Vince, A 2010 United Kingdom Thin Section Database e=tsdb

Webster , G, 1976 Romano-British coarse pottery: a student’s guide. CBA Archaeol Res Rep 6, London