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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


Central Gaulish Black-slipped ware (CNG BS)

Five samples

General appearance

This fabric is typically pale orange (5YR 7/6), sometimes with a pink (10R 6/8) core. The clay used for barbotine decoration, normally applied under the slip, is often paler to near white (7.5YR 8/2). Some samples may exhibit a sandwiched core, but not normally the thin, closely spaced layers seen on Moselkeramik Black-slipped ware. A smooth, even and lustrous black slip, occasionally metallic, covers the surfaces, although it is slightly thinner where it covers the barbotine trails and consequently the body colour usually shows through. The fabric is hard with a smooth fracture and a smooth feel. A range of cups and beakers, sometimes folded, are commonly decorated with barbotine and rouletting, less frequently with excised decoration.

Hand specimen

Inclusions, of varying frequency, are usually well sorted and set in a calcareous silty matrix. Fine limestone (<0.1mm, rarely to 0.3mm) dominates, as either common or abundant.Silver mica (<0.2mm) is also diagnostic and may be common in some samples. Dark or red iron-rich grains and quartz are consistently present but sparse, normally not exceeding <0.2mm, while occasional grains of polycrystalline quartz measure up to 1.5mm.

Thin section

A fine calcareous clay with common muscovite and rare brown mica (occasionally to c 0.25mm) is visible. Also present in the isotropic clay are sparse silt-sized and larger quartz inclusions – some polycrystalline, limestone, opaques and iron-rich clay pellets and rare feldspar, normally to c 0.15mm but occasionally to c 0.25mm.


These vessels were made at Lezoux, alongside samian production (Symonds 1992).


Museum of London


Museum of London; Musée de la Céramique Gallo-Romaine, Lezoux (France); Musée des Antiquités Nationales, Saint-Germain-en-Laye (France)


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

Richardson, B, 1986 The waterfront group: coarsewares and non-samian finewares, in The Roman quay at St Magnus House, London. Excavations at New Fresh Wharf, Lower Thames Street, London 1974–1978 (L Miller, J Schofield & M Rhodes), London Middlesex Archaeol Soc Spec Pap 8, 106–38

Symonds, R P, 1992 Rhenish wares. Fine dark coloured pottery from Gaul and Germany, Oxford Univ Comm Archaeol Monogr 23

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

Plate 36: Fresh sherd break of CNG BS (width of field 24 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 36: Fresh sherd break of CNG BS (width of field 24 mm)

Plate 36.1: Photomicrograph of CNG BS (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 36.1: Photomicrograph of CNG BS (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm)

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