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sorry, I realise that when I said "not for me to comment..." that might sound like implied criticism!?  Not at all - I just meant I shouldn't try to explain the thinking behind the decision, as it wasn't taken by us (exeGesIS).
Both querying methods would have their pros and cons. But perhaps there could be more on the help page explaining how the various searches work?
Crispin

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From: Crispin Flower
Sent: Wed 24/03/2010 07:54
To: Issues related to Historic Environment Records
Subject: RE: Bronze Age dates query


Some notes about the Heritage Gateway searching...
 
I'm assuming that when you searched on "2400-1700 cal BC" you mean using the "Advanced Search" > "When" > "Year Range"?
If so, then the rules of engagement are that this should return any records that overlap the entered period.  Therefore it should return any records entered as "prehistoric" as well as various Neolithic and Bronze Age.
This was a design choice made early on for the Heritage Gateway (not for me to comment on the reasoning). The alternative (entirely possible) would be to return records that match or fall entirely within the specified range, which would bring much fewer results of course, but perhaps more relevant; however it would make the differing date ranges used a more critical issue, and HERs may unpexpectedly return zero results to such a search (e.g. if their EBA started at 2450BC).
 
Also note that if you search by selecting a period term such as "Early Neolithic" from the pick-list, the search is actually executed using the corresponding calendar years (4000-3300BC in this case). Therefore, the various culture-historical words used in each HER to describe the time periods are irrelevant when using the Advanced Search.
 
As an aside, note that the query you entered is processed independently by each record provider on the Heritage Gateway, and the Gateway itself just displays the results. So whatever logic is decided on, it is important for users of the Gateway that it is implemented by all providers in the same way.
 
all the best
Crispin

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From: Issues related to Historic Environment Records on behalf of Emily Edwards
Sent: Tue 23/03/2010 17:15
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Bronze Age dates query



So you can, I have just tested it out on Heritage Gateway.
I put in 2400-1700 cal BC and it brought up everything with either date in the description and many results that didn't seem to be relevant at all. I would then have to trawl through all of the results (which amount to many, in most cases) to pick out the ones that were actually relevant.
 It seems to be the case that each HBSMR uses its own date ranges and approaches to dating constituent parts of a site and that sherds of different periods are clumped together; I have just spotted an example where the entry says sherd: middle Bronze Age to early Iron Age.

If that was all standardised and if the phrase late Neolithic-early Bronze Age was used whenever relevant (or the date ranges more specific) or alternatively if the databases were all clever enough to lead the researcher to specific relevant entries, then it would be much easier.

All the Best

Emily Edwards
Honorary Research Associate with the Institute of Archaeology and
Antiquity at the University of Birmingham