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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

 

Gallia-Belgica Terra Rubra Fabrics

These wares from Gallia-Belgica are all described by Rigby (1989a, 121-6), with much of the fabric detail based on scientific analysis undertaken by Ian Freestone (Freestone & Rigby 1986). In summarising the terra rubra fabrics, Rigby follows the well-established system based on that devised by Hawkes and Hull for Camulodunum (1947, 202–5), who used clay texture, colour and surface treatment as their main criteria. She adds that the fabric classification for terra rubra ‘does group together fabrics which may eventually prove to be from a number of different sources. A limited programme of neutron activation and thin section analysis has as yet failed to distinguish any meaningful groupings in the fine-grained, non-micaceous, and difficult to characterise fabric range.’ (Rigby 1989a, 121) When reading the petrological descriptions below, one should bear in mind that the fabric parameters would certainly be widened should more samples be included.

For terra rubra production sites, see Chossenot and Chossenot (1987) and Tuffreau-Libre (1981).

References

Chossenot, M, & Chossenot, D, 1987 Introduction à l’étude de la céramique gallo-belge dans la vallée de la Vesle (Marne), Revue Archéologique de l’Est et du Centre-Est 38, 113–24

Freestone, I C, & Rigby, V, 1986 The petrology and typology of the earliest identified central Gaulish imports, J Roman Pottery Stud 1, 6–21

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

Rigby, V, 1989a Pottery from the Iron Age cemetery, in Verulamium. The King Harry Lane site (I M Stead & V Rigby), Engl Heritage Archaeol Rep 12, 112–210

Tuffreau-Libre, M, 1981 L’industrie de la céramique gallo-belge dans la vallée de la Vesle, Bulletin de la Société Archéologique Champenoise 2, 81–94


Gallia-Belgica Terra Rubra 1A (GAB TR 1A)

Two samples

General appearance

Our samples are hard, pink to pale pink (5YR 7/4, 5YR 8/3), occasionally with a whitish (2.5Y 7/1) core, although the group is variable in colour and known to be white throughout. Surfaces may have a good quality red-brown (10R 5/8) matt slip, described by Rigby (1989a, 121) as coral, who also notes that the slip is confined to visible surfaces of shallow cups and platters and the outer surfaces of taller, pedestal cups, few of which are stamped. An irregular fracture with smooth surfaces where slipped, or harsh where unslipped, is typical of GAB TR 1A.

Hand specimen

This fabric is dominated by well-sorted common quartz, normally <0.2mm, with varying quantities of silt and occasional grains up to 0.5mm. Other inclusions, in the same size range, are sparse feldspar and black and red iron-rich inclusions, some of which occur as streaks of unmixed iron-rich clay, as well as white clay pellets. The sample illustrated in Plate 7 has a fairly clean clay matrix with few silt-sized inclusions. Red grog is often present in the fabric (Rigby 1989a, 121), although not in our samples.

Thin section

Abundant well-sorted and densely packed silt-sized inclusions, primarily quartz but sparse opaque matter, occur. Sparse larger ill-sorted inclusions (average to c 0.3mm), frequently angular, consist of quartz, feldspar and opaques. Rare flecks of mica and colourless ferromagnesian minerals are also present, as is a single siltstone (0.5mm).

Source

A origin in or near Reims in the Marne-Vesle valley is possible (Rigby 1989, 121).

Museums

Colchester Museums (earliest forms and fabrics); Ipswich Museum (earliest forms and fabrics); Department of Prehistoric & Romano-British Antiquities, The British Museum (earliest forms and fabrics)

References

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(earliest forms and fabrics)

Rigby, V, 1981 The Gallo-Belgic wares, in Skeleton Green. A late Iron Age and Romano-British site (C Partridge), Britannia Monogr Ser 2, 159–95 (earliest forms and fabrics)

Rigby, V, 1989a Pottery from the Iron Age cemetery, in Verulamium. The King Harry Lane site (I M Stead & V Rigby), Engl Heritage Archaeol Rep 12, 112–210

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

Plate 7: Fresh sherd break of GAB TR 1A (width of field 24 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 7: Fresh sherd break of GAB TR 1A (width of field 24 mm)

Plate 7.1: Photomicrograph of GAB TR 1A (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 7.1: Photomicrograph of GAB TR 1A (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm)