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What is the Ceramic Database?


Introduction

The ceramic database is an attempt to standardise many repeated tasks encountered during the recording of archaeological and ceramic data in an efficient framework. The program, called ‘APX: Archaeological Context and Artefact Database’, created in Microsoft Access, is a normalised relational database and can store over 100 descriptive variables for a single pottery sherd. As much as possible these variables, for example, rim type or handle shape, are chosen from drop-down lists to minimise time-consuming data entry but the ability for recording free text in the event of unusual or unique vessels has been retained.

The database has the advantage of recording pottery from many sites allowing direct comparisons, both qualitatively and quantitatively. Manipulation of quantitative data can produce tables for statistical analysis allowing patterns of supply or use to emerge.

 

Structure


The database has a tiered structure consisting of site records at the top level with context data attached to a site record and pottery data attached to a specific context record. Records of contexts can be grouped in many ways, including area, periods and phases, those for pottery can be grouped into fine wares, coarse wares, amphorae and samian as well as vessel type.

This structure allows analysis on a large or small scale with the inclusion or exclusion of any aspect of the recorded data as required.

 

Screenshots from the database

 


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