Excavation Recording Standards.
The Research Committee wishes to encourage use of a common method of site recording in Surrey. A copy of the standards currently used by the Roman Studies Group has been incorporated into a manual which has lodged with the library at Castle Arch and is available on the Society’s website. It would be of assistance to current and future researchers if these standards were commonly used by all Society members when undertaking excavations in the county.
Excavation so often destroys that which it seeks to understand. We see this most clearly when examining archaeological remains that were unearthed in times gone by when there was an emphasis on “wall chasing” and a concentration on Roman and medieval period relics to the exclusion of those of other periods. For these reasons we have seen a desire to preserve unexcavated sites for the future - when techniques might be expected to improve. Preservation in situ is not always possible and in such cases ‘preservation by record’ is the best that can be managed. Research excavations can only be justified if the best possible approach to recording is achieved.
If the information from a site is to be “preserved”, then a comprehensive recording system is implied. Similarly, as the object of a record system is that data contained therein should be easily retrievable, the design of the system should promote a logical approach.
The Society is keen that our members should follow high standards of recording and therefore wishes to encourage all to follow a standard system which will achieve the desired standards. There are many suites of documents in use but most follow a similar approach which is based on the identification, recording and ordering of the stratigraphic relationship of “contexts”. A manual has been compiled with reference to a number of sources including the manuals published by MOLAS and the ECC Field Archaeology Unit and tested over a number of years by Society members. It is now available together with downloadable forms from the Society’s website where the documentation will be found under the “Research” tab
Emma Corke (Chair, Research Committee)
Rose Hooker (Secretary, Research Committee)