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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


Bourne-Greetham Shelly ware (BOG SH)

Three samples

General appearance

Samples of this fabric are both oxidised and reduced, although the majority appear to be oxidised (M Darling, pers comm). The single oxidised sherd represented here has red (2.5YR 6/8) to orange-brown (5YR 6/6) surfaces with a grey (4/0, 7/0) core; when reduced, colours range from black to pale grey (2.5–4/0, near 10YR 7/1) with surfaces in similar tones or brown (7.5YR 5/4). It is a hard to very hard fabric with hackly fracture. Surfaces vary in feel, depending on condition, but harsh, rough and soapy ones are represented. Jars with double grooves below the shoulder, storage jars and lids are typical BOG SH products.

Hand specimen

Abundant ill-sorted fossil shell is the dominant inclusion with most fragments measuring c 0.5–3.0mm, although examples up to 5.0mm can be identified. Other inclusions, which rarely exceed 1.0mm and are likely to be <0.5mm, are normally sparse but include some fine silver mica, quartz and variously coloured pellets. The fabric is distinguished from Harrold products by being exclusively shell, with some mica, and having fewer inclusions; the form types also differ.

Mr John Cooper notes that the fabric contains medium oyster shell, naturally occurring, and probably from a Jurassic clay.

Thin section

A slightly silty matrix containing rare muscovite mica is visible in thin section. Ill-sorted fossil shell is common, with less limestone and rare sparry calcite, measuring between c 0.1–2.5mm, but mostly belonging to the larger range. Other inclusions comprise sparse quartz, both monocrystalline and polycrystalline, and common opaques, to c 0.3mm.


Kilns producing shelly wares are known from both Bourne (Whitwell & Wilson 1968) and Greetham (Bolton 1968).


Lincoln City and County Museum


Bourne Grammar School; Lincoln City and County Museum; Nottingham University Archaeology Department Museum (Bolton’s kiln site material)


Bolton, E G, 1968 Romano-British Pottery kiln at Greetham, Rutland, Trans Leicestershire Archaeol Hist Soc 43, 1–3

Perrin, J R, 1996 The Roman pottery, in Orton Hall farm: a Roman and early Anglo-Saxon farmstead (D F MacKreth), East Anglian Archaeol 76, 114–204

Samuels, J, 1979 Production of Roman pottery in the East Midlands, Unpublished PhD, Nottingham University

Whitwell, J B, & Wilson, C M, 1968 Archaeological notes, 1967, Lincolnshire Hist Archaeol 3, 19–39

Plate 127: Fresh sherd break of BOG SH (width of field 24 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 127: Fresh sherd break of BOG SH (width of field 24 mm)

Plate 127.1: Photomicrograph of BOG SH (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 127.1: Photomicrograph of BOG SH (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm)

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