SGRP home page

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


Cadiz amphorae (CAD AM)

Three samples

General appearance

A spectrum of light-coloured fabrics are included in this group, ranging from pale brown (7.5YR 7/3, 7.5YR 7/4–6/4) to pale red or orange (2.5YR 7/8–6/8, 2.5YR 7/6, 7.5YR 7/6), frequently with lighter or pale yellow to green-cream (2.5Y 8/2–8/3) margins or self-slipped surfaces. The fabric is hard with rough surfaces and an irregular fracture. The wide-mouthed Peacock & Williams Classes 17–18 (Camulodunum 186) were typically produced in this fabric.

Hand specimen

Although this fabric has a variable matrix containing quartz and calcareous inclusions – either ill or well sorted – it is united and distinguished by sparse large (up to c 10.0mm) red-brown iron ore nodules, frequently erupting on the surface. The clay, which contains fine sparse silver and even less gold mica, is frequently poorly mixed with red or white lenses. Sand-sized quartz with occasional feldspar and common calcareous inclusions, of varying sizes, comprise the matrix. Of our three samples, two average size ranges have been identified, 0.1–0.6mm and 0.1–0.3mm, but additional samples would undoubtedly result in a continuum effect. The calcareous inclusions are almost exclusively limestone but microfossils can be identified.

Thin section

Two of our samples were sectioned and demonstrate the variability in fabric indicated in the hand specimen. Both, however, are united by a micaceous (muscovite and biotite) matrix with common to abundant limestone and quartz, falling within the fine-silt to fine-sand grade. In one sample (Plate 64), which in the hand specimen best conforms to the classic fabric, larger inclusions ranging up to c 0.5–7mm are common. In addition to monocrystalline quartz, polycrystalline quartz, feldspar, limestone, and rare fine-grained ferruginous sandstone, ferromagnesian accessory minerals and foramanifera occur. Some ferruginous quartz-rich clay pellets (to c 0.3mm) and smaller opaques are also present, but none of the distinctive larger iron ore inclusions can be viewed in this section.


Amphorae are likely to have been produced throughout the Cadiz region, and several kilns are known (Peacock 1974; Ponsich 1988).


Museum of London


Colchester Museums; Museum of London; York Archaeological Trust; Museo Arqueológico Municipal, Cartagena (Spain)


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

Beltrán Lloris, M, 1977 Problemas de la morfologia y del concepto histórico-geográfico que recubre la noción tipo, in Méthodes classiques et méthodes formelles dans l’étude des amphores, Collection de l’Ecole Française de Rome 32, 97–132, Rome

Peacock, D P S, 1971 Roman amphorae in pre-Roman Britain, in The Iron Age and its hill-forts. Papers presented to Sir Mortimer Wheeler on the occasion of his eightieth year (eds M Jesson & D Hill), 161–88

Peacock, D P S, 1974 Amphorae and the Baetican fish industry, Antiq J 54, 232–43

Ponsich, M, 1988 Aceite de oliva y salazones de pescado, Madrid

Zevi, F, 1966 Appunti sulle anfore romane, Archaeologia Classica 18, 207–47

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

Plate 64: Fresh sherd break of CAD AM (width of field 24 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 64: Fresh sherd break of CAD AM (width of field 24 mm)

Plate 64.1: Photomicrograph of CAD AM (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 64.1: Photomicrograph of CAD AM (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm)

Plate 64.2: Photomicrograph of CAD AM (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 64.2: Photomicrograph of CAD AM (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm)

<< Baetican Fabrics  ::  Campanian Fabrics >>