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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


Holme-on-Spalding Moor Reduced ware (HSM RE)

Three samples

The type is frequently referred to as Throlam ware.

General appearance

Our samples are medium grey (5/0, Corder’s ‘lead’ grey), often brownish (eg 10YR 7/2–6/2), and can be quite soft. The fracture is irregular and the feel rough/powdery. Typical forms are flanged bowls (the so-called ‘truncated-conical’ form), large deep bowls, large handled jars and narrow-mouth jars, sometimes with a lightly burnished external surface. Subjectively, the fabric can be described as hard and ‘crisp’, making a distinctive ‘ping’ when hit with a thumbnail (J Evans, pers comm).

Hand specimen

The inclusions in this fabric are well-sorted (0.1–0.2mm), dominated by abundant quartz in a matrix of sparse fine silver mica. Black, grey and red-brown iron-rich grains can also be identified, although they are sparse. The later (4th century) fabric is more distinctive and tends to have fewer quartz inclusions (J Evans, pers comm).

Thin section

This is a well-sorted fabric containing abundant quartz, frequently 0.2mm with grains to c 1.5mm, set in a silty matrix. Muscovite mica is extremely rare. Other inclusions are sparse, but feldspar, polycrystalline quartz, coarse flint-like material, and rare argillaceous siltstone occur. Some small opaques (<0.1mm) can be seen, but the darkness of the clay inhibits identification.


Kilns are known at a number of sites on Holme-on-Spalding Moor, including Hasholme, Bursea and Throlam (Corder 1932; Halkon 1983; Hicks & Wilson 1975).


Hull and East Riding Museum


Hull Transport and Archaeology Museum


Corder, P, 1932 The Roman pottery at Throlam, Holme-on-Spalding Moor, East Yorkshire, Roman Malton and District Rep 3

Evans, J, 1986 Aspects of later Roman pottery assemblages in northern England, Unpublished PhD, University of Bradford

Halkon, P, 1983 Romano-British industries at Holme-on-Spalding Moor, E Riding Archaeol 7, 15–24

Hicks, J D, & Wilson, J A, 1975 Romano-British kilns at Hasholme, E Riding Archaeol 2, 49–70

Plate 129: Fresh sherd break of HSM RE (width of field 24 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 129: Fresh sherd break of HSM RE (width of field 24 mm)

Plate 129.1: Photomicrograph of HSM RE (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 129.1: Photomicrograph of HSM RE (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm)

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