SGRP home page

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 Terra Rubra 3 (GAB TR 3)

Three samples

General appearance

Rigby (1989a, 126) notes a variety in colour, from iron-free white to iron-rich dark red, and texture for this fabric. Samples represented here are united by a typically pink (10YR 6/8) break with slightly lighter surfaces, pale orange (2.5YR 7/8, 5YR 7/6) to pink (2.5YR 7/6) or cream (7.5YR 8/6), unless fumed. Fumed surfaces, present on a range of unstamped beaker forms, are here light (2/5YR 7/8-6/8, 5YR 5.2–4/2) to darker (10R 3/1) brown, although other products vary from glossy black on dark red fabrics to a pearly grey haze on all matrix colours. Our samples are hard with a smooth break and surface.

Hand specimen

This fabric has well-sorted inclusions set in a dense, clean clay matrix, containing common well-sorted quartz, usually between 0.1–0.2mm, occasionally to 0.4mm. In some sherds sparse red iron-rich inclusions of a similar size and white ?clay pellets to 0.5mm are also present. It is this fabric variant which is illustrated on Plate 11, although the coarser inclusions are not visible. Another sample (BM registration no. P1976.5-1.846) has a silty matrix.

Thin section

Two samples of GAB TR 3 were available for examination and, although slightly different from each other, both are fine textured with well-sorted inclusions that rarely exceed 0.1 or 0.2mm. They are dominated by quartz, with a similar range of other inclusions, in order of decreasing frequency as common to sparse, comprising opaques, chert, polycrystalline quartz and feldspar. Occasionally opaques and clay pellets measure between 0.3–0.5mm. Muscovite mica ranges between sparse and common.


A source in Gallia-Belgica is assumed, despite the lack of kiln evidence (V Rigby, pers comm).


Royal Museum and Art Gallery, Canterbury (Tiberio-Claudian forms and fabrics); Chichester District Museum (Tiberio-Claudian forms and fabrics); Colchester Museums; Ipswich Museum; Department of Prehistoric & Romano-British Antiquities, The British Museum


Holwerda, J H, 1941 De Belgische Waar in Nijmegen, Beschrijuing van de verzameling van het Museum G M Kam te Nijmegen 2, Nijmegen (Tiberio-Claudian 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 (Tiberio-Claudian forms and fabrics)

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

Plate 11: Fresh sherd break of GAB TR 3 (width of field 24 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 11: Fresh sherd break of GAB TR 3 (width of field 24 mm)

Plate 11.1: Photomicrograph of GAB TR 3 (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 11.1: Photomicrograph of GAB TR 3 (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm)