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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


Gallia-Belgica (Eggshell) Terra Nigra 2 (GAB TN 2)

Two samples

General appearance

This is a hard fabric, distinguished by its smooth black-slipped surfaces. The clay itself is somewhat more variable, being grey (4/0) to brown (10YR 5/2) or black in the break, sometimes with light grey (5/0) margins. Carinated beakers (Camulodunum 120) with thin, finely tooled walls (c 1.0mm) are characteristic.

Hand specimen

Despite the very thin walls, this fabric is relatively coarse, dominated by abundant well-sorted quartz, mostly <0.1mm with occasional grains to 0.2mm. Other visible inclusions are sparse iron-rich fragments, mostly black, in the same size range as the quartz.

Thin section

A clean clay matrix contains common well-sorted, frequently angular, quartz and sparse opaques, glauconitic pellets and feldspar, measuring c 0.1mm. Rare larger inclusions of chert and glauconitic pellets (0.5–1.0mm) can also be identified.


Finds are concentrated across northern Gaul into Amorica and up the Rhine. Vessels were undoubtedly made in various locations (V Rigby, pers comm).


Department of Prehistoric & Romano-British Antiquities, The British Museum; Museum of London


Colchester Museums; Museum of London; York Archaeological Trust


Hawkes, C F C, & Hull, M R, 1947 Camulodunum. First report on the excavations at Colchester 1930–1939, Rep Res Comm Soc Antiq London 14

Holwerda, J H, 1941 De Belgische Waar in Nijmegen, Beschrijuing van de verzameling van het Museum G M Kam te Nijmegen 2, Nijmegen

Rigby, V, 1991 Gaulish imports and related wares, in Roman finds from Exeter (N Holbrook & P T Bidwell), Exeter Archaeol Rep 4, 76–80

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

Plate 6: Fresh sherd break of GAB TN 2 (width of field 24 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 6: Fresh sherd break of GAB TN 2 (width of field 24 mm)

Plate 6.1: Photomicrograph of GAB TN 2 (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 6.1: Photomicrograph of GAB TN 2 (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm)

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