Published in 1984 and long out-of-print, The Pottery Kilns of Roman Britain (HMSO, London) by Vivien Swan is a remarkable achievement, marking out Britain as the single province for which such a detailed record of kilns and pottery production exists. Even more remarkable is that this resource is the work not of a team of researchers, but a single individual. Those who knew Vivien personally will not be surprised at this achievement, for her methodical and enthusiastic approach to the study of Roman pottery has been a model to many young scholars and resulted in a series of ground breaking articles, most recently using pottery to identify the ethnicity of the potters, particularly in the military context.
Vivien always wished that the gazetteer of The Pottery Kilns of Roman Britain could be made more widely available. Originally printed on microfiche, a limited run of hard copies was produced by Oxbow books but, like the book itself, was out-of- print. In recent years the importance of updating this gazetteer had also become clear, but her untimely death meant that Vivien could not undertake this task.
To honour the achievements of Vivien, the Study Group for Roman Pottery has initiated this project to digitise Vivien’s gazetteer with the aim of enhancing this data. It represents a large project for the Study Group and is being undertaken in stages. Stage one, the scanning and digitisation of the microfiche gazetteer and its mapping, is now completed. This involved the laborious task of copy-editing the digitised output against the original microfiche with some changes to accommodate the digital format.
Data collection for the original volume was concluded in 1982 and to continue the legacy and enhance the impact of the kiln data, Andrew Peachey, on behalf of the Study Group for Roman Pottery, surveyed kilns recorded on the Historic Environment Records of England, wales and Scotland between 1982-2014 and 2014-2018 in order to update the resource. A total of 336 (1982-2014) and 51 (2014-2018) kilns were added to those originally included in the microfiche gazetteer, which are now included within the searchable map and database available through this website. The SGRP intends to implement future phases of research in order to continue to update the database as further Roman kilns are recorded.