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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


Great Casterton Colour-coated ware (GRC CC)

Four samples

This early Roman group is considered distinct from the later production of Nene Valley wares in the same vicinity.

General appearance

This is an orange-brown (2.5YR 6/8) clay with slipped surfaces that are consistently redder than the body clay. The external slipped surface is usually a matt red-brown (10R 6/6–6/8, 10R 5/8), the internal often darker brown tending to maroon (10R 5/3, 2.5YR 4/4). Typically the slip colour (particularly the external) is similar to that of Italian sigillata. The main products of this industry are beakers, although castor boxes and lids, together with rare imitations of samian bowls, were also made. Some beakers have sand roughcasting on the exterior. Sherds are hard with a smooth fracture.

Hand specimen

The clay is fine and well fired, containing generally well-sorted fine (<0.1mm) inclusions that are often difficult to see against the matrix. Rounded and subrounded quartz is common, occasionally up to 0.3mm, while red-brown iron-rich grains and silver (sometimes gold) mica are sparse. Roughcasting, present on a single sherd, is sparse and comprises unevenly applied clay pellets, measuring to c 1.5mm.

Thin section

A fine clay containing sparse muscovite mica and well-sorted inclusions is visible in thin section. Common well-sorted rounded to angular quartz predominates, frequently measuring 0.05–0.15mm with occasional grains to 0.4mm. Opaques, in a similar size range, are sparse. There is also rare redeposited carbonate.


Two kilns have been excavated, the first in 1958 (Corder 1961, 50–3) which was cut into again in 1966, when a second was excavated (Whitwell 1967; Wilson 1967).


Leicestershire Museums (Rutland County Museum), Oakham


Leicestershire Museums (Rutland County Museum), Oakham; Department of Archaeology, University of Nottingham


Corder, P (ed), 1961 The Roman town and villa at Great Casterton, Rutland. 3rd report for the years 1954–8

Whitwell, J B, 1967 Archaeological notes 1966, Lincolnshire Hist Archaeol 2, 31–54

Wilson, D R, 1966 Roman Britain in 1965. I. Sites explored, J Roman Stud 56, 196–217

Wilson, D R, 1967 Roman Britain in 1966. I. Sites explored, J Roman Stud 57, 174–202

Plate 140: Fresh sherd break of GRC CC (width of field 24 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 140: Fresh sherd break of GRC CC (width of field 24 mm)

Plate 140.1: Photomicrograph of GRC CC (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 140.1: Photomicrograph of GRC CC (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm)

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