Barbican Research Associates

                    providing an integrated post-excavation service for the archaeological community



About - Stephanie Rátkai


Research Interests

I work mainly with the ceramics of the post-Roman to post-medieval periods (c 450-1800). from the counties of the West Midlands (Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and West Midlands). My work has included urban and rural sites, castles and ecclesiastical sites and industrial and domestic assemblages. All told I am the author of over 100 reports and a full list can be seen here. This also acts as a useful introductory bibliography for the medieval and post-medieval pottery for the West Midlands as I am the main specialist working in the area and have developed many of the form and fabric type series.


Most recently I have been involved with project management and have managed our Wigmore  and  Weoley Castle projects. I also do an increasing amount of academic editing and the integration of specialist reports such as in The Bull Ring Uncovered and Birmingham on the Edge of Industry. I have been the principal author or co-author of several archaeological reports and volumes.


I am particularly interested in the use of material culture to inform and expand our knowledge of the everyday life of ordinary people and feel strongly that the full potential of archaeological (and historical) data sets are only realised when they are fully integrated with each other.

Recent work has led to an interest in castle archaeology, tanning and tanneries and their associated artefactual, environmental and ceramic assemblages, and to the archaeology of industry in general. Published work deriving from these interests is included in the selected publications listed below




Between 1976 and 1983 I worked as a field archaeologist on seasonal excavations at Okehampton Castle, Devon and Barnard Castle, Co. Durham and worked as a volunteer at the Bowes Museum, Co Durham.


In the summer of 1983, I was Archive Assistant at the Western Archaeological Trust (Bristol). From October 1983 to April 1997 I worked as a finds and medieval pottery officer for the archaeological divisions of various councils and museums in the West Midlands such as Warwickshire Museum, Dudley Borough Council, Stafford Borough Council and the Hereford and Worcester County Council. During this time I occasionally worked as a freelance specialist, and since 1997 have been a self-employed pottery specialist in partnership with Jeremy Evans. As  a result of the partnership I have worked with Jerry on Roman pottery reports for Binchester, Walton-le-Dale, Lancaster and Worcester (Magistrate's Court), which has given me a working knowledge of Roman ceramics.


In addition to ceramic studies I have been involved in project management, academic editing, stratigraphic analyses and narratives, and documentary and cartographic research.




I have a degree in Classics from the University of Birmingham (1977) and was a post-graduate student in the Archaeology Dept of the same university until 1981.




I am a member of the Medieval Pottery Research Group, the Archaeological Leather Group, and CeSMA (Centre for the Study of the Middle Ages University of Birmingham). I am a committee member of the Birmingham and Warwickshire Archaeological Society,  an Honorary Research Assistant, at the Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity, University of Birmingham and a member of the Steering Group for the Archaeological Frameworks for the West Midlands.



Selected publications


Rátkai S  forthcoming. Wigmore Castle, North Herefordshire: Excavations 1996 and 1997  Soc Med Arch Monogr Series.


Linnane SJ, Morriss RK,  Mould Q and Rátkai S 2011. An Archaeological Overview of Weoley Castle, Birmingham.


Forster A ,  Hewitson, C  and Rátkai S forthcoming.  Birmingham on the Edge of Industry: the Archaeology of Industrialisation in Digbeth and Deritend, BAR.


Mitchell W and Rátkai S forthcoming. Excavations at the Morrison's Supermarket Site, Wednesbury  (this deals with a post-med pottery kiln and its waste).


Rátkai, S., 2011. 'Tanning and Related Industries in Birmingham, 1200-1800', in R. Thomson and Q. Mould (eds) Leather Tanneries: The Archaeological Evidence. Archaeotype, Exeter, 131-152.


Rátkai S 2010. Pottery (78-87) in K Colls, 'The Avon Floodplain at Bristol: Excavations at Templar House, Temple Way in Bristol 2004 and 2005' Trans of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeol. Soc. 128, 73-120 (this deals with pot waste and  sugar refining).


Cuttler R, Hunt J and Rátkai S 2009.   'Saxon Burh and Royal Castle: Rethinking Early Urban Space in Stafford', S Staffs Transactions 39-85, (The pottery 54-63).


Patrick C and  Rátkai S 2009. The Bull Ring Uncovered: Excavations at Edgbaston  Street, Moor Street, Park Street and The Row, Birmingham City Centre 1997-2001, Oxbow.


Rátkai S 2007.  "The medieval and early post-medieval pottery" in I Soden (ed)  Stafford Castle: Survey, Excavation and Research 1978-1998; Volume II - The Excavations 1978-1991. Stafford Borough Council.



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