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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


Horningsea Reduced ware (HOR RE)

Five samples

General appearance

This fabric is brown-grey (10YR 5/1–4/1) often with thin red-brown (2.5YR 6/8) subsurface margins or occasionally as a thick core. Surfaces are pale grey (7.5YR 7/0) or green-buff (5Y 8/1–8/3), with the internal rim of the storage jars sometimes slipped cream-grey (10YR 7/1). It is hard with an irregular fracture and a rough feel. Both jars and dishes were made at Horningsea, but the distinctive nature of the cordoned storage jars make it the product frequently identified outside the local market (Evans 1991, 37).

Hand specimen

Evans (ibid, 35) has described four fabrics, but regards them as part of a continuum. Our samples consist of generally well-sorted inclusions, mostly 0.2–0.4mm, set in a sparsely micaceous (silver, <0.3mm) matrix. The suite is dominated by abundant quartz (to 0.7mm) with sparse red-brown and black iron-rich grains and limestone (to 0.5mm). Less common, but typical, are large grains of flint, up to 1.0mm, and occasional limestone inclusions to 6.5mm.

Thin section

A micaceous clay containing common muscovite and rare biotite threads, with sparse silt-grade quartz, is visible. The main constituent is common ill-sorted – sometimes rounded – quartz, <0.4mm occasionally to c 0.7mm. Other fragments in a similar size range are common opaques and sparse to rare flint, polycrystalline quartz, feldspar, quartzite, fine-grained sandstone and siltstone, with rare limestone. The fabric is characterised by sparse flint inclusions up to 1.5mm. Redeposited carbonate occurs commonly.


Seven kilns are known to have produced coarse wares at Horningsea (Evans 1991).


Cambridge Antiquarian Society Archaeological Research Group


Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Cambridge


Evans, J, 1991 Some notes on the Horningsea Roman pottery, J Roman Pottery Stud 4, 33–43

Hughes, T McKenny, 1902 On the potters field at Horningsea with a comparative notice of the kilns and furnaces found in the neighbourhood, Cambridgeshire Antiq Soc Proc 10, 174–94

Pullinger, J, & White P J, 1991 Romano-British sites at Hinton Fields, Teverhsam, 1978–1986, privately printed

Walker, F G, 1912 Roman pottery kilns at Horningsea, Cambridgeshire, Cambridgeshire Antiq Soc Proc 17, 14–69

Plate 90: Fresh sherd break of HOR RE (width of field 24 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 90: Fresh sherd break of HOR RE (width of field 24 mm)

Plate 90.1: Photomicrograph of HOR RE (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 90.1: Photomicrograph of HOR RE (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm)

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