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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

 

East Anglian Reduced ware (EAA RE)

Four samples

General appearance

This fabric is dark brown (5YR 5/4, 7.5YR 5/4), often with a pale to dark grey (6/0–4/0) core. Surfaces are dark grey (4/0) or black and the exterior is usually wholly or partially burnished. It is hard with an irregular fracture and a harsh feel. Although the mortaria were produced alongside other reduced ware forms (Darling 1993, 194), here the fabric refers only to mortaria and includes a range of bead-and-flange, hammerhead and wall-sided vessels, frequently with burnishing on the exterior (M Darling, pers comm). The mortaria are distinct by virtue of being reduced, a feature rarely found elsewhere in Britain.

Hand specimen

The inclusions are generally well sorted (0.1–0.3mm) with quartz, dark coloured iron-rich grains and feldspar all usually present in a fine matrix containing silver mica. Quartz is abundant, and may occasionally range up to 0.7mm, while the other inclusions are sparse. Argillaceous matter to 3.0mm is also sparse.

Darling (1993, 194) describes the trituration grits as normally comprising varying inclusions of quartz and flint, and rarely slag, but also comments on the variability of grit between vessels. Our samples are small and contain few trituration grits, which include rounded quartz (0.5–3.0mm, average 1.0–2.0mm) – many of which are polycrystalline – and black slag (1.0–4.5mm, average 1.0–3.0mm), the latter of which is visible on Plate 103b.

Thin section

This is a quartz-rich matrix containing muscovite and rare biotite mica. Inclusions are fairly well sorted and measure c 0.1–0.5mm, but generally do not exceed 0.2mm. Of the additional inclusions, only flint and polycrystalline quartz occur with regularly, although feldspar and minute accessory minerals can also be identified. Sparse clay pellets (<0.6mm) and smaller opaques are also seen. Slag trituration grits measure between 0.8–3.0mm, while a single grain of monocrystalline quartz (c 0.8mm) may also be interpreted as a trituration grit.

Source

Kilns are known from Suffolk and Norfolk, and probably existed in Essex (K Hartley, pers comm). Our sherds are from Caister and are likely to have been produced in Norfolk, although variability in the Caister sherds indicate more than one source is involved (Darling 1993, 193).

Donor

Norwich Castle Museum

Museum

Norwich Castle Museum

References

Darling, M J, 1993 The Roman pottery, in Caister-on-Sea: excavations by Charles Green 1951–1955 (M Darling with D Gurney) East Anglian Archaeol 60, 153–218

Hartley, K F, 1985c The mortarium fabrics and The mortaria, in Excavations at Brancaster 1974 and 1977 (J Hinchliffe with C S Green), East Anglian Archaeol 23, 98–100 and 116–23

Hartley, K F, 1995a The mortaria, in The Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Spong Hill, North Elmham, part 7: the Iron Age, Roman and early Saxon settlement (R Rickett), East Anglian Archaeol 73, 97–9 and microfiche 3–4

Turner-Walker, C & Wallace, C with A Clark, B Dickinson and K Hartley 1999 The Iron Age and Roman pottery, in Excavations of an Iron Age settlement and Roman religious settlement at Ivy Chimneys, Whitham, Essex 1978–83 (R Turner), East Anglian Archaeol 88, 123–79

Horsley, C, 1993 The Roman pottery, in Roman Braintree: excavations 1984–90 (R Havis), Essex Archaeol Hist 24, 31–44 (3rd ser)

Plate 103a: Fresh sherd break of EAA RE (width of field 24 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 103a: Fresh sherd break of EAA RE (width of field 24 mm)

Plate 103b: Trituration grits on EAA RE (width of field 24 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 103b: Trituration grits on EAA RE (width of field 24 mm)

Plate 103.1: Photomicrograph of EAA RE (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 103.1: Photomicrograph of EAA RE (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm)

Plate 103.2: Photomicrograph of trituration grits on EAA RE (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 103.2: Photomicrograph of trituration grits on EAA RE (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm)


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