Review of Shut Up and Deal

Shut Up and Deal is a novel that explores the world of the compulsive, yet professional, high limit poker player. This fictional account chronicles a piece of the life of a young poker pro named Mickey as he struggles to keep himself in the black, but more importantly in action, over the course of several months.

Shut Up and Deal has engendered a great deal of controversy in knowledgeable poker circles. Folks seem to love or hate the book, but few are indifferent to it. It’s not a book on how to play poker, nor is it long in conventional literary stylings. For example, the book is almost completely devoid of theme and is very light on plot. Only one character is developed. It’s a narrative, and one that doesn’t go anywhere, although that’s partly the point. The protagonist spends most of the book spinning his wheels, but in his mind, that’s a victory, because his ambition seems to be just to stay in the game.

The book is written in a “conversational” style, although the voice of the conversation, Mickey talking to the audience, draws out sentences and rambles almost aimlessly. Unpleasant is far too strong a word for my impression of the prose, but I have to admit that I never did get into its rhythm. This is despite my being a fan of the great stream-of-consciousness writers, like Hunter Thompson and William Burroughs, that May seems to borrow from. It may very well be my failing for not getting the flow right in my own mind, as writer (and poker player) Tony Holden indicates that he thinks May is skilled in this regard.

The poker, however, is accurate. At least as much as we get to see of it, which isn’t in much detail. May has convinced me that he has spent time around these games, at the very least. If anyone wants to get inside the head of a high Slot Gacor stakes compulsive gambler, they’ll find an avenue here. Why do folks do it? What drives a person to play big at almost any cost? What’s the need that gets filled? Those who haven’t experienced it will probably never know for certain, but this is as close as most are likely to get, at least without a five figure bankroll.

Overall, though, my reaction to Shut Up and Deal is best summed up as tepid. I didn’t despise the book, nor did I consider it a waste of time, but it didn’t excite me either. I certainly can’t recommend it as highly as Holden’s first rate Big Deal, which I think is much more compelling, irrespective of the fact that it’s also a true story. Maybe it’s just the lack of conventional plot, or the lack of any strong themes or lessons to be learned, or maybe even its that the psychology is described, but the poker action never is that gets to me, I don’t know.

In any event, anyone who enjoys reading about the world of gambling and the attitudes that surround it will probably get into this book, at least enough to make it worth reading. For those who want either more substantive literature or compelling poker, read Big Deal first, then trek down to the local card room and check out the action for oneself.

I seem to be one of the few who had a lukewarm reaction to Shut Up and Deal. On the one hand, it is a compelling psychological look into the life of a high stakes poker player whose life revolves around being in action. On the other hand, for me the book held almost nothing else of interest, including no interesting writing and almost no plot whatsoever. Either way, I don’t feel the book is a waste of time, but I believe there is a lot of writing on the topic of much higher quality. As a case study, it’s my opinion that this book is ultimately more of a study on addiction than poker.…

Voice-overs / Audio – Translation Services UK



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Tournament of UFA Champions is in a Class of its Own

The 2021 Tournament of UFA Champions (“TOC”) final event is about to get underway under the bright lights of film crew cameras at the Orleans Hotel in Las Vegas. The TOC has drawn hundreds of players from the four corners of the globe. Many are unknown champions from thousands of miles away, who travel here to pit their talents against the regulars, the tournament circuit pros and poker’s most accomplished UFA players and renowned personalities.

The three day long event tests the broadest range of skills of any poker tournament on the planet. Every player here is a champion! In order to play in this event each player has won a TOC designated qualifier. From small towns and big cities, one time lucky winners and tournament circuit pros face off in the rotation of various forms of limit poker games; Limit Hold’em, Stud, and Omaha Hi-Lo Split. The nine finalists will then turn to the “Cadillac of poker games,” No Limit Hold’em, to decide the TOC Champion.

The TOC was founded with a vision; a gathering of sturdy gladiators – from private clubs in small hamlets to the giant poker rooms of the Americas and the growing poker meccas from Austria to Australia – for the most rigorous competition invented in the Land of Poker.

Every year the TOC brings innovations and surprises and this year has been no exception. TOC President Chuck Humphrey called a first ever “Town Meeting” of poker players in the Champion’s Lounge. He challenged the movers and shakers to rise and shine early in the morning on July 25th to take part in a player/management gabfest to determine this year’s pay-out structure for the remaining TOC events – even including the “Big One.”

Everyone was asked to do their homework and to bring written proposals of their ideas. At 11am (dawn for a lot of poker players), Humphrey called the meeting to order by naming “yours truly” Chair for the meeting. He had warned me of his plans privately before the meeting. He said there would be plenty of poker heavyweights in the crowd and that my lion-taming prowess was about to be tested. I smiled slyly and insisted that no such warning was necessary for this business meeting with the likes of tournament experts T. J. Cloutier, “Miami” John Cernuto and Eric Seidel a poker star of Rounders in attendance. The participating crowd swelled to more than sixty. They listened to presentations from top tournament pros including Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu, and Ian Dobson who was a Poker Million finalist last year and a spokesperson for the Europeans.

Linda Johnson, Poker Ambassadoress extraordinaire and TOC founder Mike Sexton did their homework and set forth their similar proposals that were roundly applauded and built a consensus. TOC Boss Humphrey was a man of few words during the meeting. But while it was in progress he put pen to paper and made a few adjustments to the recommendations and returned to the table to announce that the input at the meeting was at the heart of adopted revisions for the prize pool distribution for the remainder of the 2001 TOC.

The revisions enhance the pot of gold for the top finishers while insuring respect for those who place in the money at the bottom of the totem pole. Under the revised plan, the top dog in the final event is likely to earn more than $200,000 – a heck of a payday, no matter how grueling the work. The finisher in 45th place (based upon sufficient entries) will be rewarded with double his/her Buy-In for a cool $4,000. Now, that’s more than a drop in the bucket for a lucky recreational player who has come from afar – maybe a small club in Birmingham or a casino in Sydney.

Ah, first these finishers qualify for the indescribably delicious TOC Championship, and then they get to play with the masters of the trade (probably knocking out a poker celebrity or two in the process). They have a fabulous time, a free vacation and money left over for gifts – maybe enough to buy a car, or with skill and a nod from Lady Luck, a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Personnel and players are very pleased by Humphrey’s exceptional efforts to bring prestige to the poker industry while upgrading respect for all players within the poker community.

In addition to the unique Mixed Games championship, and the first ever Tournament Participant Town Meeting, Humphrey will once again electrify the TOC Championship arena with the opening ceremonies at the final event. The pageantry of contestants parading into the arena with their country flags will be a filmed celebration of the game and a tribute to the poker greats and dark horses who make up the tournament mosaic.

The TOC’s innovations have been non-stop. This year, Humphrey incorporated a Seniors TOC with the inimitable promoter “Oklahoma” Johnny Hale who did the hosting chores and brought the baby boomer in to rock ‘n roll. It was one of two events with a charitable component. Humphrey turned over the reins once more to Linda Johnson who hosted an international charity event that was played by teams from the competing nations. Vietnam was the winner with Men “The Master” Nguyen championing “Children of Vietnam” for 50% of his winning proceeds. Not to be outdone, a Japanese contingent set up a money tournament that drew lots of extra attention when the team challenged Pokerpages President Mark Napolitano to become Japanese for a day. Napolitano anted up his $120 and went on to become vested in the Japanese tradition with a first-place finish.

As we go to press, there has been a filmed weigh-in for tournament punters who dare to diet and wager $2000 on their anticipated success based upon a formula and timetable that was kept secret until their arrivals at the scales. Those who succeed will share in the proceeds from those who don’t. Yours truly was among the brave.

Tune in for a list of those who promise to become newly svelte at during the exclusive Internet broadcast of the TOC final table action beginning 8pm Sunday, July 29th or you’ll have to wait until the video comes your way!

Wendeen Eolis’ accomplishments in business, politics, and poker have been profiled this past year in The New York Times, on A&E;’s Biography, and on Court TV, as well as in GQ Magazine and Poker Digest. Her legal consulting company, Eolis International Group, Ltd. reviews law firms and selects counsel, worldwide — for companies, governments, and individuals. Wendeen has also been among the most effective advocates for smoke-free poker rooms in the United States.


Bola88 Risk Versus Reward



Weighing the upside versus the downside, what you stand to lose versus what you stand to gain, is pretty universal. It’s how we figure out what to do in any given situation, assuming the governing factor is logic. Poker, like many important life decisions, should be approached with a risk versus reward analysis.


Good poker players assess the risks they face in a given situation and the potential reward they may receive if the cards come their way. Of course, most poker equations have an effectively infinite number of variables, plus the decision is based on incomplete information, as you can rarely be sure of your opponents’ exact holdings. So, poker decisions are based on educated guesses, taking into account all of the known variables, the possibility of unknown variables, and your conceptual knowledge level. The greater your conceptual knowledge level and information, the better your decisions should be.


The game was $40-$80 limit hold’em. It was a generally solid group, with a couple of weak players in the mix. The field folded to one of the weak players, who limped in from three off the button. As a general rule, I do not like the play of limping to open a pot from late position. It can be correct when it is done as a “trap” play in order to induce players to make incorrect calls later in the hand, but that is the right play in fewer situations than you might think.


When you open the pot with a raise, you add the possibility of winning the Bola88 blinds without a struggle into the plausible scenarios. If there is little or no chance of winning the pot without a call, the play loses some value. But even when the raise won’t win you the pot right away, if you utilize good hand selection, the likelihood that you’ll have a better hand than your opponents who always call a raise from the blinds is great. Of course, a limper in front of you changes the scenario some, as it increases your risk and almost eliminates the chance to win without a flop.


After the weak player limped, the button (a solid player) called and the action was on me in the small blind. I looked down to see K-9 offsuit, not the best of hands by any means, but it had some potential. Still, the hand was very marginal. I could easily make a hand, only to find that it was second best.


In marginal hand-selection situations, I include other factors in the equation to define my risk-reward ratio. What types of opponent(s) am I up against? Are they easy to read? If I make a second-best hand, am I likely to be able to get away from it? Will I get good value out of my hand? Is my hand likely to get paid off? Can I likely bluff the pot or otherwise outplay my opponent(s)? In this case, the limping player was likely to call me down, as he had a tendency to pay off everything. The button would very likely play his hand correctly no matter what.


In this situation a major variable to consider was the likelihood of the big blind raising. He was a tight raiser, particularly when out of position, and I felt little threat of a raise from him. Since I already had half the bet committed, the pot was laying me 7-1 now, so I called. The big blind rapped the table and we took the flop fourhanded.


The flop came Q-J-3 rainbow, giving me a gutshot and an overcard draw. With the weak limper in the pot, I did not think that betting as a semibluff would be a strong play, as he called most everything and also had position on me. I checked, hoping to get a free card. The weak limper disappointed me and fired $40 into the pot. The button folded. The big blind, yet to act behind me, appeared to have lost interest in the hand. I was the only viable contender left.


The pot was laying me 5-1 ($200-$40). I was 43-4 to make the gutshot; 43 cards missed the straight and four completed it. That was not currently a good enough price to draw to the hand. Did any other factors add value? Would a king also be good? It might or might not be, but overall, I believed it had added value. Also, Mr. Limper paid off everything. If I made the straight, I should be able to extract additional bets out of him, and they would likely be bets placed in the pot with him having little chance of winning. Additional bets placed in the pot with your opponent stone dead have much more value than bets placed in the pot with your opponent having a chance of drawing out.


There was also the slight possibility that he would check the turn and I would benefit from a two-for-one sale: two cards for the price of one. The additional value that those factors added to my hand turned my hand from a fold to a profitable call. I flat-called the $40 and took one off.


The turn card was the Jspades, pairing the board and putting a two-flush up, also. I checked, once again hoping to get a free card. Once again, my opponent disappointed me and bet.


The price I was getting now was $360-$80, 4.5-1, which was not far off the price the pot offered me on the flop. But things had changed! No longer was there the possibility that I could see two for the price of one, as only one more card was to come. Also, the chance of my making my hand and losing had gone up. My opponent could already have a full house. And he could have picked up a backdoor-flush draw in spades, thereby reducing some of my outs. Add to that the fact that my price had gone down, and my hand had turned into an easy fold. I tossed my cards into the muck.


This hand is not the most interesting poker story, but most poker hands aren’t. It does speak to the concepts of adjusting your play based on the strengths/weaknesses of your opponents, how the hand plays, and how you must adjust your odds based on your likelihood of winning, not just improving.


With the turn of each card and each bet by my opponent, my risk-reward ratio changed. In poker, you have to make your decision based on the situation at the time — and if you don’t understand the way changing conditions have changed the situation, you’ll likely find yourself always taking more risk than the potential reward justifies. spades




All hail the reign of the beautiful Qq Poker Online Spain



So dreams can come true. Even Spanish footballing ones. And they can even come true in a wondrous way.


The Cava is still flowing and rightly so. In winning Euro 2008, Spain ended a quest for silverware that at 44 years’ length, two more than England’s, had defied all sense of fairness or logic.


But that they laid their hoodoo to rest in such style makes them the toast of the soccer world. Not since the Netherlands in the World Cup of 1974, or the Hungarians in 1954, has a nation playing such dazzling football reached the final of a major tournament. Unlike Cruyff’s and Puskas’ teams however, the Spanish vaulted the Qq Poker Online Germans at the last hurdle. The heart has beaten the head at last and the Beautiful Game is new again.


Their 1-0 win was not as delightful as their earlier victories in the Alps, but there was still enough of their mesmerizing passing and movement to leave nobody in any doubt that in more ways than one, the best team of the tournament had triumphed.


Germany suffered from Michael Ballack’s woes; having missed Saturday training, he took a bloody wound to the eye and got himself booked in a frustrating first 45. Then Philipp Lahm, another key player, fatally hesitated to let Fernando Torres score before leaving the side at half time. In the second half, the Germans looked oddly jaded and unable to test Iker Casillas in Spain’s goal, but even had fortune been on their side, you suspect the Spanish would still have been too strong for them.


This was indeed a victory for football, if we believe the game at its best is about aesthetics and not just winning. The soccer world had believed for so long that strength, hard work and organisation were the keys to victory, that we had forgotten about the entertaining by-product the fans so adore.


Flair players are have been considered liabilities in the quest for results, so set against this background, Spain’s win comes as an refreshing counterblast to the prevailing consensus.


Watching them labour to a 1-0 win over the USA in Santander on the eve of the competition, I saw enough of a midfield loaded with attacking talent to know they would be a force at the finals, and I tipped a team from the Iberian Peninsula to win, though I still felt a fit and on-song Germany could edge them thanks to their superior big-game mentality.


I was wrong – Spain had that inner steel to balance their twinkle toes. Confidence, that most powerful yet elusive weapon a team can posess, stayed with them until the end. Where the Netherlands, the other truly impressive team from the first round failed, the Spanish succeeded. Their self-belief saw off the challenge of the impressive Russians, devastatingly so (3-0) in the semi-final, before their prowess prevailed once more when Vienna called.


A final is like a second home to a German Mannschaft, while for Spain it has remained terra incognita since General Franco was in power. But last night in the Prater, the conquistadors of fútbol sailed crossed their ocean of doubt to plant their flag in the winners’ enclosure. It is, one hopes, a new era for European football, a lasting challenge to the German-Italian axis which has scooped so many trophies, and an encouragement to coaches worldwide to teach a beautiful style of play to win.


Not that Spain set out to entertain, but their end-product was both victorious and dramatic. Dancing to a flamenco rhythm, their ball-to-feet midfield quickly became a joy to behold. Elvish little terriers like Xavi, Andres Iniesta and David Silva mastered the ball like virtuoso musicians, whipping it around with flair and a panache not seen in an international team for years.


That the country which contains club giants Barcelona and Real Madrid could apparently not produce a winning national team in almost half a century remains hard to explain.


Repeated exits from World Cups and European Championships left us so hoarse from repeating the old maxim that sooner or later it had to be Spain’s year, most of us had given up tipping a nation which seemed immune from success.


The return of silverware to their FA leaves England, with its last trophy in 1966 as Europe’s most under-achieving soccer nation, a depressing albatross of a boast for the game’s motherland.

In his masterful book ‘Morbo’, the first English-language dissection of the game in Spain, Phil Ball suggests the historic dominance of foreigners in La Liga and the cultural divisions of the nation could have rubbed off invisibly on La Selección.


Journalist Guillem Balague told me this week he thought Spain had never had a winners’ mentality because of repeated failure, so just needed a rub o’ the green to have a chance to prove they could be victors at last.


While England persist with blind optimism and a fighting spirit despite their poor record, Spain’s collective mentality has tended to wither more quickly. Take their 1994 World Cup quarter-final exit to Italy for instance. The Spaniards spurned several chances to win the game before Roberto Baggio finished them off. Valencia winger Vicente summed it up when he replied to a question about Spain’s Euro 2004 failure – “What do you expect? We’re Spain.” By 2006, most of us had given up tipping the Iberians for good.


Only two years ago, eight of the Euro 2008 winners took the field in the second round of the World Cup finals, facing an ageing French eleven. Spain took the lead through David Villa and had 62% of the ball, but France ran out 3-1 winners.


But then along came a saviour. More prosaically perhaps, we can ascribe the torn page in the record book to Luis Aragones.


The 69 year-old might hail from Madrid but his Spanish team have played more ‘Catalan’ than previous incarnations. Three Blau-grana players featured in the team – Iniesta, Carlos Puyol and Xavi; four if you count former Barça man Cesc Fabregas, while Real Madrid had only two – goalkeeper Iker Casillas and right-back Sergio Ramos.


The short-passing ‘tiki-taka’ style of Spanish play looked a lot like Barcelona to me, while the speed of midfield exchanges and player rotation called to mind the best of Valencia’s Champions League endeavours in recent years. David Silva and Euro 2008 top gunner David Villa play for that club.


Silva was one of Spain’s unsung heroes, as mobile and skilful an attacker as any in the team, while the excellent Brazilian-born holding midfielder Marcos Senna was for me one of the players of the tournament, an award which went in the end to Xavi.


The team was short by modern standards, which makes their triumph over the tall and muscular Germans even more pleasing.


Their goalkeeper was not perhaps the best in the tournament but was no slouch. And while centre backs Puyol and Carlos Marchena lacked a little speed, and full backs Sergio Ramos and Joan Capdevila weren’t the best positionally, they defended stoutly enough to repel the best Italy, Russia and Germany could throw at them and kept clean sheets in the knock-out stages.


The statistics are staggering: Across the tournament, Spain had more than twice as many shots on target than Germany and made 900 more passes than them with an 81% completion rate, the highest in Euro 2008, just eclipsing the Dutch. They were No.1 for shots on target and with 12 goals, hit the net more than anyone else: End of story.


What a great time to be Spanish. Even die-hard Catalans, Galicians and the odd Basque have had to swallow their pride and join the fiesta. If the frail-looking 69 year-old Aragones can get the bumps, so can they enjoy the special moment, too.


All in all, a magnificent victory for Spain and a beautiful day for football. Olé!




Premiership Bandarqq Betting



A new season kicks off this weekend and see’s the return of Walker’s Word. Another 10 months of non-stop top flight football action begins on Saturday with both the opening and closing matches ripe for picking a couple of shock results at great odds writes David Walker.


Saturday 19 August


Sheffield United vs Liverpool

Sheffield United make their Premiership return after a 12 year absence at lunch time, to kick off another 10 months of top flight action. The bookmakers are predicting a cakewalk for visiting Liverpool, but Blades boss Neil Warnock will have other ideas. During the 2002/03 Carling Cup, United beat Liverpool 2-1 at Bramall Lane, drew 0-0 at home in 1993/94 and beat the Reds 1-0 the previous year in the Premiership’s debut season. Liverpool may have one eye on their Champions League tie against Maccabi Haifa Bandarqq three days later which still hangs in the balance at 2-1 in the Reds favour.

Walker’s Word: A “shock” draw to go against the bookmakers @ 12/5 (Coral)


When Is Electric The Right Choice Akku Rasenmäher Test?


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Photography has been fundamental to archaeology since at least the late 19th-century and it is still one of our principle means of primary data gathering. Indeed, in certain branches of archaeology, such as aerial work, the photographic record can represent the dominant, or even sole, source of data. Its value often lies in the fact that it produces, in as much as is possible, an objective pictorial record, whereas secondary illustrative techniques, such as plan and section drawings, at best involve an element of (possibly mistaken) interpretation and, at worst, are open to subconscious or even deliberate falsification.

For most of its history photography has been a photochemical process which exploited the readiness of silver-halide salts to break down when exposed to light. The result was an image composed of metallic silver particles, which could itself be replaced by dyes in the case of colour and chromogenic (C41 colour process compatible) B&W films. In recent years, however, we have seen the rapid rise of photoelectric processes, most of which use CCD (Charge Coupled Device), or similar technologies to produce digital pictures. Digital imaging is hardly new. My own career began as an archaeological photographer in the early 1980s and it was starting to appear even then. We have been using scanners for around twenty years but, although digital cameras have been available for a similar period, it is only in the last few years that they have really started to come of age. Now, however, we are starting to see many archaeologists, including a number of aerial workers, making the transfer to digital. But some of the reasons given make one wonder whether this has always been done with proper consideration of the potential ramifications. Indeed, one is sometimes left with a feeling that the process is being, at least partly, driven by fashion and a “toys for the boys” attitude. In other words, digital photography and digital cameras are currently, to use the vernacular, “cool”, and it is tempting to wonder whether some archaeologists are adopting them so as not to be seen as old fashioned, rather than because they have decided, after due reflection, that they do the job of archaeological recording better than traditional technology.

Of course digital photography has a number of clear advantages and no one could object to its use in archaeology. In particular, the images are obtained instantly. This allows technical aspects such as focus and exposure to be checked on the spot so that failed pictures can be re-shot: something which might no longer be possible after the delay imposed by film processing. Less obviously, though, it can also permit instant access to data which might help to guide the progress of an excavation. For example, I have long used a technique of elevated photography in which a camera, fired by its self timer, is used to shoot vertically downwards into a trench from the end of a long telescopic pole (Woolliscroft 1989). For the most part, this is just an economical way of producing more helpful plan view images, but it occasionally reveals subtle features before they had been noticed on the ground, so that the ability to view the pictures immediately, on site, allows such features to be more fully investigated. Modern communications technology also allows digital pictures to be transmitted to and from site which can be useful in consulting finds and conservation specialists and in communicating quickly with heritage bodies, other scholars and the media. The fact that digital photography is archaeologically useful is, however, a very long way from meaning that it should be relied on as our prime or only means of photographic recording. Indeed, given the current state of the technology, there are powerful reasons why this is not the case, and is not likely to become so in the immediate future. The first is the question of resolution.

Archaeological records should, of course, be as comprehensive as possible, which means that features should be photographed at all stages of excavation and in such a way as to bring out maximum detail. Yet for the last few decades, much of archaeology has already seen something of a retrograde slide in this area. Cookson, in his classic 1954 book ‘Photography for Archaeologists’ (chapters 2 & 3), took it almost for granted (albeit not entirely realistically) that archaeologists would seek to use large format cameras whenever possible; with medium format, and especially 35mm, being useful only as a poor second best when nothing else was available. It is true that film has improved a good deal since that time, but not to the extent that a modern 35mm negative can even begin to compete with the resolution of Cookson’s full plate work. Nevertheless, 35mm is now the default photographic medium on most archaeological sites including, I admit, my own. Likewise, much early aerial photography was conducted using large format film. For example, much of the late Prof J.K. St.Joseph’s work used 12cm square negatives. Some of his pictures are now almost sixty years old and yet their quality can still beat air photographs taken today, despite our better films and lenses, simply because most workers now use 35mm or, at best, 6cm negatives.

This much might be bad enough, but digital photographs usually represent a further marked diminution in quality. The two technologies are not directly comparable, but the resolution of a 35mm frame is thought to equate to that of a digital image of somewhere in the region of 12-20 megapixels, depending on the grain size and sharpness of the film being used, and the ISO setting of the digital camera, which effects its signal to noise ratio. On the other hand, most current generation digital SLR (single lens reflex) cameras have resolutions of only around 6MP: less than half that of an average 35mm film, and poorer still when compared to medium format. In fairness, there are many applications where this tends to matter less than one might expect. For example, the difference is barely noticeable on a standard 6″ x 4″ imprint and most published archaeological photographs are reproduced at this size or smaller using half tone printing technology which, even at its best, will further lower resolution. Nevertheless, archaeological archive photographs (especially air photographs) are often used under high magnification, where their full resolving power can be exploited and we would thus seem duty bound to ensure that this should be as high as possible. In particular, archaeological features are sometimes visible only as slight changes in soil texture, rather than colour, and very high resolutions are often needed to record such changes.

Of course, there are a few digital cameras that can now match at least 35mm resolution. At the time of writing Canon make a well thought of 16MP SLR, whilst a 22MP digital back is available to fit certain medium format cameras. These are, however, frighteningly expensive (at present £6,000 and £20,000 respectively) and although costs will no doubt fall in the future, they remain out of reach of most archaeologists. They also represent a great deal to invest simply to be able to do something by another means that we have anyway been doing for decades. Most archaeologists do, after all, already have access to high quality film based equipment and so, unless there are compelling reasons to the contrary, the money might be better spent elsewhere. Moreover, simple angular resolution is not the end of the story. Archaeological recording is heavily dependant on the ability to distinguish very subtle colour/tone changes, be they in soils, crops or artefacts. Yet digital cameras are inherently limited in this respect, since they record tones as a fixed series of (albeit fine) discrete steps. Traditional film, with its infinitely variable tonal rendition is thus again a potentially superior medium.

Another issue is what is sometimes called “total cost of ownership”. The price of professional quality digital cameras may be high, but it is often argued that digital running costs are lower, since there is no expenditure on film and processing, and only those images deemed necessary need be printed. In practice, however, a good site or aerial archive should contain at least imprint sized versions of all the pictures taken and, on this basis, digital costs can actually be higher than film.

True objectivity in archaeological recording, although perhaps not a completely attainable goal, has always been an ideal to strive for, and here again there are advantages with film. No one who has worked in a dark room could accept without reservation the old adage that “The camera never lies”, but it is certainly a great deal more difficult to falsify a traditional negative than it is a digital file. More seriously, digital imaging can produce visible noise and processing artefacts which might accidentally falsify data or be misinterpreted as archaeological data by the unwary. In fairness, negative faults can be similarly misleading, but they do, at least, tend to be relatively large and highly localised and are thus easier to spot and discount.

Next, come a number of issues which, although not necessarily inherent to digital photography do raise questions over the suitability of current equipment. The first is the fact that most digital SLR’s are based on the latest generation of autofocus film cameras, which are themselves not particularly well suited to archaeological work. Fast reacting autofocus systems have been a godsend to sports photographers and to parents trying to photograph energetic children at play. For the archaeologist, however, autofocus is just one more thing to go wrong with delicate equipment under tough field conditions. At best it is largely valueless and at worst it becomes an active nuisance. On excavations, for example, depth of field is usually far more important than any specific point of focus, since we generally want entire features or trenches to be rendered sharp. Here, so called “hyperfocal” focusing becomes crucial, with the aperture and depth of field scale being used together to produce the desired result. Sadly, few autofocus lenses have depth of field scales, which means that, although some control is possible, it is largely a matter of guesswork, and precision is hard to obtain. Likewise, autofocus can be a major problem in the air as it has an irritating tendency to lock onto to any part of the aircraft that comes into shot, leaving the ground as a distant blur. There are also times when critical point focusing is vital in situations where autofocus might not be reliable in its target selection: particularly in macro and finds photography. Yet, although many autofocus cameras do allow manual focusing, few have the precision viewfinder aids (split prism rangefinders etc) needed to exploit this facility properly. Furthermore, digital and autofocus film cameras are completely battery dependant, whereas many older film cameras only need power for their light meters. This can be a major issue on remote sites and digital cameras suffer particularly badly because most run on rechargeable batteries with only enough power for a few hours use. This may be more economical under normal circumstances, but it leaves them totally dependant on ready access to the mains.

With a few exceptions, the sensors used by current digital cameras tend to be markedly smaller than a full frame 35mm negative. This tends to make them noisy, since the minute signals from their tiny individual light gathering sites require greater amplification, but it can also have serious consequences in a discipline like archaeology which relies heavily on wide angle lenses. For the smaller the sensor, the smaller the angle of coverage of the pictures becomes, which means that digital cameras tend to decrease the angle of view of the lenses used. Digital SLR’s are generally designed to use the manufacturers’ normal 35mm system lenses. This may seem to save money for users of existing systems, but the lenses will most emphatically not behave in the way that they did with film. The cameras usually quote a lens correction factor, a focal length multiplier which will …


As part of a continuing attempt to identify and re-evaluate un/under-published Roman material from Scotland north of the Antonine Wall, the writer was able to reanalyse a quantity of glass from the legionary fortress of Inchtuthil and the Gask system forts of Ardoch and Bertha. All three assemblages came from 19th or early 20th century excavations or surveys and had only previously been published in the most cursory form. In view of modern advances in the study of this material and especially in the light of the forthcoming reports on the glass from Newstead and Cardean (Hoffmann forthcoming a & b), it seemed worthwhile making a full re-examination of the finds and comparing them with the corpus from the rest of Roman Britain. The author wishes to express her gratitude to Mr F. Hunter of the National Museum of Scotland for locating the material and making it available for study.

The Glass from Inchtuthil

31 Fragments of glass have been deposited in the museum from the 19th century excavations at Inchtuthil (Abercromby et al, 1902). No fragments of cast or mould-blown glass survive. The assemblage is divided as follows:

  • colourless: 1
  • fragment greenish: 2
  • fragments blue/green: 12
  • fragments Bottle glass: 10
  • fragments objects: 2
  • fragments window glass: 2

There are also two modern fragments in the assemblage.

Only eight fragments warrant closer attention. One is an indented colourless fragment (1), which probably came from an indented beaker or cup, popular in the second half of the first century. Both types are occasionally decorated with wheel-cut or abraded lines, and tend to be of a cylindrical or slightly convex shape over a flat base or pushed-in base ring (Price and Cottam 1998, 85-88 – Cool & Price 1995, 70). These beakers were extremely popular throughout the Roman world and occur in blue/green and greenish glass, as well as the colourless glass used here. Parallels from the North of Britain include similar blue/green cups from Corbridge (Charlesworth 1959, 166 fig. 22, 1-3 – Allen 1988, 293 fig. 132, 41), York Blake Street (Cool et al. 1995, 1571 fig. 740, 6040), Doncaster (Buckland 1986, 17 fig. 11) and Castleford (Cool and Price 1998, 146; 159 fig. 54, 91). A greenish-colourless indented beaker was found at Strageath (Price 1989, 198 Fig. 100,7). As the latter originated from the Antonine occupation of the fort, it is debatable whether it belongs to this group or a later version of the indented beaker. It shares with the other quoted examples the rim treatment (knocked-off and ground smooth) and the wheel-cut lines, both of which are common in Flavian beakers. That indented beakers were available after the Flavian period in the North of Britain is documented by the Housesteads specimen, which is dated to the later second century (Charlesworth 1971, 35-6 fig. 6). At Vindolanda indented vessels were found in unstratified contexts during the excavation of the third century vicus buildings and none are yet known from the Flavian levels. It cannot be ruled out, therefore, that the single indented vessel from Newstead may belong to the Antonine period rather than to the Flavian occupation. (Cool and Price 1998, 145 on post-Flavian indented vessels).

The other piece of tableware recovered is part of a yellow/green long-necked jug (2). Even though the general shape of the body has not survived, the handle-attachment with its nicked extension of the central rib suggests that it originally had a conical body similar to the Turiff jug from Aberdeenshire (Thorpe 1934). These jugs exist in a number of varieties, differing in colour, shape and decoration. The pale yellow/green example from Turiff shows some diagonal ribs on the body, but nothing suggest that the Inchtuthil specimen was similarly decorated. While the strongly coloured examples of this jug appear to be mainly limited to the second half of the first century, some colours (viz. yellow/brown, blue/green and yellow/green) appear to continue into the third quarter of the second century AD, with the yellow/green example from Felmongers-Harlow (Price 1987, 193-5 fig. 3,20) being the latest closely dateable example (from a context dating c. AD 160-170).

Further yellow-green conical jugs are known from the Pre-Flavian levels at Usk (Price 1995, 179 fig. 46, 100), from a pit dated AD 70-130 from Chichester (Charlesworth 1978, 269 no. 30 fig. 10.23), from Richborough, pit 122 (dated c. AD 130-150: Bushe-Fox 1949, 148 pl.67, 367), two near complete vessels from pit DD II 29A at Alcester (dated AD 150-60), Towcester, Park Str. (Price 1980, 66 fig. 15, 7-8 (dated c. AD 155-165)), and from the Antonine levels at Strageath (Price 1989, 198 no. 9). A further possible Antonine piece comes from Carlisle, The Lanes (Price & Cottam forthcoming I,13) dating to period 8), as well as unstratified handle fragments from Corbridge (Allen 1988, 289 fig. 131,6), Watercrook (Charlesworth 1979, 232 fig. 93, 169), Doncaster (Allen 1986, 103 fig. 24, 1), Shepton Mallet (Price and Cottom forthcoming b) Verulamium, King Harry Lane (Price 1989b, 45 fig. 27,305) and Colchester (Cool & Price 1995, 124 fig. 8.3 no. 895). Three possible pushed-in base rings from Caersws (AD 100-130+): Cool & Price 1989, 39 fig. 21, 34), Baldock (?: Charlesworth 1986, 193 fig. 84, 876) and Puckeridge-Braughing (Price & Cool 1988, 83 fig. 35, 10), as well as a yellow-green ribbed neck and shoulder from Gorhambury (Neal et al. 1990, 203 fig. 163, 22) may all belong to similar vessels.

Fragments 3 and 4 form part of prismatic containers. These storage vessels, most commonly square in section and often decorated with geometric (or far more rarely figural) patterns on the base, became the most common glass vessel on Roman sites. They appear to have been used mainly as storage containers for liquids, although some large examples have large enough openings to allow the storage of small objects (e.g. eggs). Neither rims nor bases of these vessels survive amongst the Inchtuthil material, but the fact that 10 sherds out of 30 probably came from glass containers, either of this type or the slightly earlier circular variety attests to their frequency in Northern Scotland. The majority of such containers are found in contexts dating to the middle of the first to the end of the second century AD (Price and Cottam 1998, 194-202).

Reuse of materials, especially of glass is a common enough feature on Roman sites but the dark blue fragment (5) appears to have been reworked into a squarish shape, which is slightly unusual. The most common form of reuse of glass fragments appears to be their conversion into gaming counters, e.g. from Carlisle (Cool & Price 1991, 176 fig. 155, 684), but the unusual diameter of this piece and its shape makes appear look unlikely for the Inchtuthil ‘counter’.

The material also contained one glass melon bead. Dark blue melon beads are a less common variety of the ubiquitous frit melon beads. Both types appear particularly common on military sites of the first and early second century, and then seem to continue in very much reduced numbers into the later second and third century AD on both military and civilian sites (Guido 1978, 100). They are often associated with horse harness (Böhme 1978, 288-9), but also occur on other forms of military equipment. One of the highest concentrations of melon beads within the province appears to be Newstead with over 129 melon beads (both frit and glass) recorded to date (Hoffmann forthcoming).

The remaining two fragments are Roman window glass, both showing the characteristic combination of matt/glossy finish that comes from casting the material. Recent experiments conducted during the making of the BBC television program ‘What the Romans did for us’, showed that this process most likely involves a bun of hot glass being pulled into shape with tweezers and then being reheated in the furnace. This process could be repeated until the desired shape was achieved. Window glass of this type is first recorded in a Claudio-Neronian context in Colchester (Harden 1947, 306) and appears to have been gradually replaced by the thinner blown window glass during the third century AD (Boon 1966). The occurrence of window glass at the fortress of Inchtuthil (a further piece was recovered by Richmond’s excavations) suggests that even in Scotland glazing in at least some windows formed part of Roman fortress design from the start. The prime candidate for such ‘luxury’ would have been the hot room of the bath block. However, as none of the fragments can be associated with an exact find spot, it is impossible to confirm or deny this.

Comparison with other glass material known from Inchtuthil

The excavations within the legionary fortress in 1952-1968, produced a further 75 fragments of Roman vessel glass and another melon bead, as well as the one fragment of window glass already mentioned. The glass recovered belonged to various forms of vessel glass, including a pillar-moulded bowl, a hemispherical cup, a further five long-necked jugs (including a yellowish green discoid jug), an unguent bottle, one square bottle and six cylindrical bottles. With the addition of the current indented cup, a further jug and another 2 prismatic (square?) bottles. The assemblage now presents a good cross-section of the most popular glass vessels on northern military sites of the late first century. The omission of the facet-cut beaker, known from other contemporary sites, may be due to the comparatively small number of fragments recovered from the fortress overall. Only the hemispherical cup found in the 1952-1968 excavations still forms an unusual marker and is hard to explain on a site that presumably started only in 83-89, as these beakers are usually associated with sites in occupation in Britain in the Pre-Flavian period and possibly extending into the early seventies, although an heirloom should perhaps not be ruled out. In fact in many ways (e.g. the high number of long-necked jugs and the indented beaker) the Inchtuthil glass assemblage would also not cause comment in a fort that had an Antonine as well as a Flavian occupation (compare, e.g. Strageath (Price 1989)), although no indicators for such a reoccupation have been found in the case of Inchtuthil.


1. FY 156/11 1 body fragment, colourless. Indented beaker. One indent surviving. no bubble. No weathering. Dims: 25 x 19 Th: 1.5 EVE: 0.20

2. FY 156/29 1 body fragment, yellow/green. Conical long-necked jug. Lower handle attachment of Handle with central rib, Handle drawn out over body and nicked in regular intervals. Elongated bubbles. No weathering. H(ext): 57 W(handle): 30 EVE: 0.14

3. FY 156/21 1 fragment, body. Blue/green. Straight sided prismatic container. One edge preserved. Small bubbles. No weathering. S: 45 S2: 11 H(ext): 87 EVE: 0.14

4. FY156/24 1 body fragment, blue/green. PrismaticBottle. Dims: 40 x 32 Th: 2 EVE: 0.14

5. FY156/27 1 fragment. Dark blue, transparent. Round glass object, chipped into shape rectangular section. Scratched. One small bubble. No weathering. D: 46 Th: 14.

6. FY156/31 1 Glass melon bead, dark blue. Grey surface. L: 21 D: c.30 D (int): c. 7

7. FY156/13 Window glass. Dims: 21 x 37 x 4

8. FY156/25 Window glass. Dims: 29 x 67 Th: 3

Surface finds from the Roman fort at Bertha

The NMS preserves 14 fragments of Roman glass from the fort at Bertha, near Perth. The majority of these were deposited on March 13, 1781 by Mr Anderson and Mr. Marshall of Perth. As to their find circumstances the following information is given in the ‘Account of the Institution and Progress of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland’ (Smellie 1782,

‘The remains of some Roman cinereal urns of yellow clay, and some fragments of glass vessels, of a bluish colour, lately dug up on the north bank of the river Almond, near its influx into the Tay, where there had been a bridge built by Agricola over this last river, of which some remains still exist.’

The claims that these glass vessels belong to the remains of Roman burials is hard to verify, especially as the find spot is likely to have been long since eroded …