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The National Roman Fabric Reference Collection: a Handbook

Hand specimen picture panel
Thin section picture panel


Appendix 1: Keywords and Definitions
Appendix 2: Physical Layout of Sherds Housed in the NRFRC


Argonne Colour-coated ware (ARG CC)

Single sample

General appearance

This sherd is orange (2.5YR 6/8) with matt brown-black (10YR 3/1) slip; the roughcasting is abraded but appears to have been composed of clay. It has a smooth fracture and is soft with powdery surfaces, most likely due to burial conditions. Bag-shaped beakers with cornice rims are the most common form.

Hand specimen

Our sample is in a fine fabric with common well-sorted silt-sized quartz and black iron-rich inclusions (<0.1mm) set in a sparsely micaceous (silver) clay. Other visible inclusions comprise sparse white grains (<0.3mm) and fewer large clay pellets (1.8mm). The fabric equates to Anderson’s (1980) ‘North Gaulish’ fabric 1.

Thin section

This is a micaceous clay containing common muscovite and less biotite mica. Well-sorted inclusions (<0.1mm) are abundant and comprise, in decreasing order to rare, angular quartz, opaques, feldspar and heavy minerals. Rare ferruginous pellets to 0.5mm are also present.


The source has been located in the Argonne, based not only on distribution but the presence of wasters at Vauquois/Les Allieux (Symonds 1990) and analysis of samples from Avocourt and Les Allieux by A Bocquet (Vilvorder 1999).


Museum of London


Colchester Museums; Musée des Antiquités Nationales, Saint-Germain-en-Laye (Chenet Collection) (France)


Anderson, A C, 1980 A guide to Roman fine wares, VORDA Res Ser 1

Blaszkiewicz, P, & Dufournier, D, 1987 Caractérisation et diffusion du ‘gobelet sac’ en Normandie, du milieu du Ier à la fin du IIe siècle, SFECAG. Actes du Congrès de Caen, 75–80

Blaskiewicz, P, & Dufournier, D, 1989 Diffusion de gobelets bruns d’Argonne entre la fin du Ier siècle et le fin du IIe siècle en Normandie, Gallia 46, 253–9

Symonds, R P, 1990 The problems of roughcast beakers, and related colour-coated wares, J Roman Pottery Stud 3, 1–17

Vilvorder, F, 1999 Les productions de céramiques engobées et métallescentes dans l’est de la France, la Rhénanie et de la rive droite du Rhon, in Céramiques engobées et métallescentes gallo-romaines (eds R Brulet, R P Symonds & F Vilvorder), RCRF Acta Suppl. 8, 69-122

Plate 33: Fresh sherd break of ARG CC (width of field 24 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 33: Fresh sherd break of ARG CC (width of field 24 mm)

Plate 33.1: Photomicrograph of ARG CC (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 33.1: Photomicrograph of ARG CC (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm)

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