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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 Red-slipped ware (ARG RS)

Three samples

General appearance

Our sherds are generally orange-brown (5YR 6/6, 2.5YR 6/8) with smooth, similarly coloured (2.5YR 5/8, 10R 5/8) surfaces, covered with a slightly glossy slip. The fracture is also smooth and the fabric hard. Bowls, frequently with roller stamped decoration, are characteristic.

Hand specimen

The fabric is fine with a sparsely micaceous (silver) matrix. It contains well-sorted common quartz and brown or occasionally red iron-rich inclusions, all normally measuring <0.1mm. Sparse calcareous inclusions (possibly accumulated in voids after deposition) and matrix-coloured clay pellets (to 1.0mm) are visible in some samples.

Thin section

In thin section the fabric is essentially the same as that described for Argonne samian. It is a micaceous clay containing primarily muscovite mica, with some rare brown mica. Well-sorted quartz (<0.1mm) predominates, with occasional larger grains; other inclusions within this same size range comprise rare feldspar, common opaques and glauconite. Rare ferruginous pellets and opaques measure to 0.6mm.


Production is known from a number of kiln sites in the Argonne (Blaszkiewicz & Jigan 1991, 396–7).


Canterbury Museums; Museum of London


Canterbury Museums; Department of Greek & Roman Antiquities, The British Museum; Museum of London; Richborough Castle


Bayard, D, 1990 L’ensemble du grand amphithéatre de Metz et la sigillée d’Argonne au Ve siècle, Gallia 47, 271–319

Blaszkiewicz, P, & Jigan, C, 1991 Le problème de la diffusion et de la datation de la céramique sigillée d’Argonne decorée à la molette des IVème-Vème siècles dans le nord-ouest de l’Empire, SFECAG. Actes du Congrès de Cognac, 385–413

Chenet, G, 1941 La céramique gallo-romaine d’Argonne du IVe siècle et la terre sigillée décorée à la molette, Mâcon

Chenet, G, & Gaudron, G, 1955 La céramique sigillée d’Argonne des IIe et IIIe siècles, Gallia Supplément 6

Feller, M, 1991 Classification et datation des molettes d’Argonne. Problèmes de méthodes, SFECAG. Actes du Congrès de Cognac, 161–9

Feller, M, & Deru, X, 1992 La céramique gallo-belge d’Argonne, SFECAG. Actes du Congrès de Tournai, 91–9

Fulford, M G, 1977 Pottery and Britain’s foreign trade in the later Roman period, in Pottery and early commerce. Characterization and trade in Roman and later ceramics (ed D P S Peacock), 35–84

van Ossel, P, 1995 La sigillée d’Argonne du Bas Empire dans le nord de la Gaule: distribution, limitations et concurrences (IVe–Ve s.), Acta Rei Cretariae Romanae Fautorum 34, 221–30

See the related record on the Atlas of Roman Pottery on the Potsherd website

Plate 34: Fresh sherd break of ARG RS (width of field 24 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 34: Fresh sherd break of ARG RS (width of field 24 mm)

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