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The National Roman Fabric Reference Collection: a Handbook

Hand specimen picture panel
Thin section picture panel

References

Appendix 1: Keywords and Definitions
Appendix 2: Physical Layout of Sherds Housed in the NRFRC

 

Colchester samian (COL SA)

Three samples

General appearance

This fabric is orange-brown (2.5YR 5/8) with red-brown (10R 5/8) surfaces that are sometimes duller and pinker (10R 6/6) in colour. It is hard with a smooth fracture and feel. Forms are similar to those produced by the east Gaulish samian industries.

Hand specimen

Colchester samian is essentially a silty fabric, much coarser than Continental ones. A fairly wide variety of size and sorting is represented by our samples, with quartz, limestone, silver mica and black iron-rich grains consistently present. The standard fabric (Plate 107) is fine (<0.2mm) with only sparse inclusions, but in other samples mica and quartz are more visible and limestone may be abundant and measure up to 0.4mm.

Thin section

This is a slightly micaceous (muscovite with some biotite) clay with common silt-sized quartz and opaques. Rare but regular grains of quartz, including polycrystalline, and redeposited carbonate measure up to 0.25mm or even 0.4mm, as seen in the hand specimen.

Museums

Colchester Museums; Department of Archaeology, Univeristy of Durham

References

Rodwell, W J, 1982 (1983) The production and distribution of pottery and tiles in the territory of the Trinovantes, Essex Archaeol Hist 14, 15–76

Simpson, G, 1982 A revised dating for the Colchester samian kiln, Essex Archaeol Hist 14, 149–53

Storey, J M V, Symonds, R P, Hart, F A, Smith, D M, & Walsh, J N, 1989 A chemical investigation of ‘Colchester’ samian by means of inductively-coupled plasma emission spectrometry, J Roman Pottery Stud 2, 33–43

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

Plate 107: Fresh sherd break of COL SA (width of field 24 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 107: Fresh sherd break of COL SA (width of field 24 mm)

Plate 107.1: Photomicrograph of COL SA (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 107.1: Photomicrograph of COL SA (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm)