Rural Settlement in Roman Yorkshire Conference thoughts!!

I attended the above conference at the Milton Rooms in Malton last Saturday, organised by the Roman Antiquities Section of the Yorkshire Archaeologial Society and The Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies (The Roman Society)

It has to be stated that the conference was to some degree spoilt by the woeful quality of the PA system which seemed to consist of a couple of speakers from somebodies old HiFi that couldn’t deal with the output of the amplifier, an amplifier that spent most of the day either on the verge of distortion, or doing a Norman Collier impression by clipping the output,  fronted by what seemed like an oki koki 3000 microphone nicked from a  chidrens karaoke machine with awful frequency response.

Most of the speakers were to some degree affected by the quality of the PA, at least one had their talk ruined in my opinion,  only the predictably loud Dominic Powlesland  abandoned it all together and went vocally commando to do his talk on West Heslerton that replaced the original talk on the Aiskew villa. . Surely it is not beyond the wit of organisations where public speaking is at the core of their function, to either pick a venue with decent sound equipment, or spend a few quid to buy a portable system themselves.

It was encouraging that two of the talks were from amateur groups working in Yorkshire. The Roman Roads project was presented by Mike Haken who came up with some interesting ideas regarding settlement along the major routes, and the Swaledale & Arkenga thdale Archeaology Group(SWAAG) presented an interesting talk on their work in their valley.   Steve Sherlock gave a talk on the A1/Catterick road improvements,  Steve had  that much to talk about that the 30 mins slot was just not enough. Archaeology on another scale!

Prof Martin Millet and Dr Peter Halkon both gave their usual professional and interesting talks about their  work in East Yorkshire.

Dr Pete Wilson gave a talk on behalf of  Dr Martyn Allen on  data syntheses from the national Roman Rural Settlement project, aimed at collating and analysing developer funded projects since the advent of PPG16 legislation around 1990.
Although all of these developer interventions are recorded on the HER, few have been formally published, strangely the cut off point for this work was indicated as being 2004, and seemingly excludes anything that is not developer funded,  which in effect makes the work already 11 years out of date, and incomplete.
This built in obsolescence was exampled when Pete presented a map of the various types of Roman settlement, where the evidence for  the extent of the Roman villa landscape  appeared to be that from pre- 1995 with Holme House at Piercebridge being the only ‘villa’ indicated in the Tees Valley. It does question the validity of the research if the Dalton on Tees  and Quarry Farm ingleby Barwick  villas, both research led investigations, and both on the national monument record since before 2004 are absent.
One would presume if you are calling a data synthesis project Roman Rural Settlement, that it would record all Roman Rural Roman settlement , and not just Roman Rural Settlement that conforms to an abstract project design. The key is in the title, Roman+ Rural + Settlement.
Interesting conference though also bumped into one of my old tutors Professor Jenny Price.