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John Hooker writes:
>  A focused and specialized private collection is ALWAYS better than any
> public collection.
Well, of course this is totally untrue in the case of the example discussed
in the post to which you are answering. The study of the pottery fabrics,
forms, imports, spatial differentiation of the pottery over time in even a
single medieval town requires considerably more than a few
tastefully-restored pots in a glass case in a collector's study or living
room, but hundreds (literally) of boxes of grotty bodysherds and broken bits
linked to an extensive cataloguing system. I doubt whether there are that
many private collectors who would set out to create such an archive for
research even if they had the space and access to the material in the first
place. It should also be pointed out that getting a fuller picture (for we
recognise that in pottery studies we are far from a full picture) is more
than one person can achieve oin even a lifetime of research. As we find out
more about new pottery sources we have to go back and look again, the scope
is ever-expanding.

We are talking here about the storage of bulk material from excavation
archives measurable in kilograms and not a few select pretty objects like
coins or bronze fibulae.

Paul Barford