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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


Baetican Fabrics

Three Baetican fabrics are included here and are described separately below. They share a range of general inclusions, but are distinctive in their overall appearance and, in some cases, form.


Fabrics 1 and 2 are commonly known and unequivocally allied with production sites along the Guadalquivir (Ponsich 1988); the attribution of Fabric 3 is more tentative, but it comprises the same range of inclusions and production sites are also known in the region for Peacock & Williams Class 31 – the only recorded form in this particular fabric.


Museum of London


Nearly every British museum with an archaeological collection will house Peacock & Williams Class 25 amphorae, but outstanding collections – including other form types – can be found at The Roman Legionary Museum, Caerleon; Colchester Museums; City Museum and Art Gallery, Gloucester; Museum of London; Jewry Wall Museum of Archaeology, Leicester; Arbeia Roman Fort and Museum, South Shields; York Archaeological Trust; Museo Arqueológic, Barcelona (Spain); Museo Arquelógico Provincial, Seville (Spain)


Beltrán Lloris, M, 1970 Las ánforas romanas en España, Zaragoza

Blázquez, J M, & Remesal Rodríguez, J (eds), 1980 Producción y comercio del aceite en la antigüedad, Primer Congreso Internacional, Madrid

Blázquez, J M, & Remesal Rodríguez, J (eds), 1983 Producción y comercio del aceite en la antigüedad, Segundo Congreso Internacional, Madrid

Carreras Monfort, C, & Williams, D F, 2003 Spanish olive-oil trade in late Roman Britain: Dressel 23 amphorae from Winchester, J Roman Pottery Stud 10, 64-8 (P&W26)

Colls, D, Etienne, R, Lequément, B, Liou, B, & Mayet, F, 1977 L’épave Port-Vendres II et le commerce de la Bétique à l’époque de Claude, Archaeonautica 1 (P&W31)

Funari, P P A, 1996 Dressel 20 inscriptions from Britain, BAR Int Ser 250 (P&W25)

Martin-Kilcher, S, 1987 & 1994 Die römischen Amphoren aus Augst und Kaiseraugst, Forschungen in Augst 7/1-3, Augst

Martin-Kilcher, S, Schupbach, S, Sern, W B, & Ballié, J, 1985 Keramikanalysen an römischen Ölamphoren aus Augst, Kaiseraugst, Avenches und Lausanne-Vidy. Naturwissenschaftliche und archäologische Aspekte, Jahrbuch der Schweizerischen Gesellschaft für Ur- und Frühgeschichte 68, 173–204 (P&W25)

Parker, A J, & Price, J, 1981 Spanish exports of the Claudian period: the significance of the Port Vendres II wreck reconsidered, Int J Naut Archaeol Underwater Explor 10, 221–8 (P&W31)

Ponsich, M, 1988 Aceite de oliva y salazones de pescado, Madrid (P&W25)

Remesal Rodríguez, J, 1982 Die Ölwirtschaft in der Provinz Baetica: neue Formen der Analyse, Saalburg Jahrbuch 38, 31–71 (P&W25)

Remesal Rodríguez, J, 1989 Los tituli picti de las ànforas olearias de la Bética, Madrid (P&W25)

Sealey, P R, 1985 Amphoras from the 1970 excavations at Colchester Sheepen, BAR 142 (P&W10, 15, 35)

Williams, D F, & Peacock, D P S, 1983 The importation of olive-oil into Roman Britain, in Producción y comercio del aceite en la antigüedad (eds J M Blázquez & J Remesal Rodríguez), Segundo Congreso Internacional, 263–80, Madrid (P&W25)

Baetican (Early) amphorae 1 (BAT AM 1)

Seven samples

General appearance

This fabric is characterised by its pale brown to buff surfaces. It is particularly associated with the early form variants of Peacock & Williams Class 25 (Dressel 20), but a similar fabric was used to produce Peacock & Williams Class 15 (Haltern 70), Peacock & Williams Class 26 (Dressel 23) and in some instances Peacock & Williams Classes 17–18 (Camulodunum 186) and Peacock & Williams Class 10 (Dressel 2–4). The surfaces tend to laminate and flake, especially on the thick walls of Class 25.

More specifically, the fabric is united by its surface colours, which are normally pale brown or buff to very pale orange (10YR 7/3–7/4, 10YR 8/3–8/4). The break includes a wide variety of colours, recorded here as pale green (5Y 7/1), grey-brown (10YR 6/2-5/2), pale grey (6/0), pale orange (2.5YR 6/8) or pale brown (10YR 7/3), occasionally with either pale brown or brown-pink (5YR 7/3–7/4) margins. There is a tendency for Peacock & Williams Classes 17–18 to have green-cream or cream (2.5Y 8/2–7/2, 5Y 8/2) surfaces and a pale pink (2.5YR 7/6) core. Generally it is a harsh fabric, hard fired with a hackly fracture.

Hand specimen

The fabric usually has a sandy matrix, with ill-sorted inclusions that vary considerably from sample to sample. There is no apparent correspondence between fabric variations and form types. Most samples have a micaceous (silver and gold) clay matrix, with 0.2–0.8mm the average inclusion size, although they range between <0.1–2.5mm. Quartz, including polycrystalline, is common and is the most frequent inclusion in the majority of samples. The remaining inclusions vary in quantity, but feldspar, limestone, red-brown and dark sandstone, metamorphic rocks and iron-rich inclusions may all be common in some samples. Accessory minerals and clay pellets are more likely to be sparse. On occasion the limestone erupts on the surface.

Thin section

A calcareous clay, containing common fine to medium-grade sand, composed mainly of subangular quartz, feldspar and calcareous grains, including fossil shell fragments and microfossils, is visible. Mica schist, chert and sandstone fragments are also present. Sparse silt-grade material consists mainly of quartz, calcite and feldspar, with rare mica.

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

Plate 61: Fresh sherd break of BAT AM 1 (width of field 24 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 61: Fresh sherd break of BAT AM 1 (width of field 24 mm)

Plate 61.1: Photomicrograph of BAT AM 1 (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm) (largely obscured by air bubbles). Click to see a larger version

Plate 61.1: Photomicrograph of BAT AM 1 (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm) (largely obscured by air bubbles)