Production in this fabric was probably mainly mortaria. Although mortaria are likely to have been produced at Aldborough in a red-brown fabric as well, only the white ones are included here.
The fabric is off-white (10YR 8/2) with a cream to buff (10YR 8/3) slip, although this is difficult to see on the example in the collection. Hartley (1971, 66) notes that the slip is often darkened near the spout. It is hard fabric with an irregular fracture, rough feel and wiped surfaces.
Inclusions are generally ill sorted with grains ranging between <0.1–1.2mm, although on average they measure between 0.1–0.2mm. The fabric is characterised by abundant subrounded quartz, common rounded red iron-rich grains (<0.6mm) and sparse matrix-coloured clay pellets (c 1.0mm). Trituration grits are abundant, small, and may be tightly packed, all features which Hartley (1971, 64) considers distinctive. Included amongst the grits are abundant ill-sorted subrounded grains of quartz sandstone (3.0–4.0mm), sparse subrounded quartz (1.0–4.0mm, average 1.5–2.5mm), and other rounded red to darkcoloured grains (2.0–3.0mm).
A well-sorted groundmass containing abundant well-sorted quartz and sparse opaques, normally to c 0.05–0.2mm but occasionally to c 1.0mm, can be seen. Trituration grits are abundant, mostly comprising sandstone, with rare quartz (sometimes polycrystalline), flint and quartz-rich opaques (1.0–5.0mm).
No kilns are known, but Hartley (1971, 64) identified the possibility that mortaria, as well as other coarse wares, were made locally, and Jones (1971, 53–4) identified some distorted sherds and possible kiln debris on site.
Aldborough Site Museum
Hartley, K F, 1971 Mortaria, in Aldborough, West Riding, 1964: excavations at the south gate and bastion and at extra-mural sites (M U Jones), Yorkshire Archaeol J 43, 64–7
Hartley, K F, 2000 The mortarium stamps, in Roman Castleford. Excavations 1974–85. Vol 3. The Pottery (P Rush, B Dickinson, B Hartley & K F Hartley), Yorkshire Archaeol 6, 186–90
Jones, M U, 1971 Aldborough, West Riding, 1964: excavations at the south gate and bastion and at extra-mural sites, Yorkshire Archaeol J 43, 39–78