This category provides an example of one of the many fabrics found in Britain that was used to produce Peacock & Williams Class 3 (Dressel 1A) amphorae.
Our samples are brown-pink (2.5YR 6/6) with pale orange (5YR 7/6–6/6) surfaces. The fabric is very hard with an irregular fracture and rough surfaces.
The fabric is composed of a sparsely micaceous clay (fine gold and silver) dominated by abundant well-sorted feldspar/quartz (<0.5mm). Less frequent, but more diagnostic, are ill-sorted sparse to common accessory minerals (0.2–0.5mm) and sparse fine-grained red-brown and black rock fragments (0.3–1.0mm). One sample contains small (<0.4mm) inclusions in the same colours as the rock fragments which may be either rocks or iron-rich fragments.
Both samples were examined in thin section and while slightly different they could well derive from a similar source area. They are united by a partly isotropic clay containing common subangular silt to fine or medium sand, composed of quartz and sanidine feldspar, with clinopyroxene, lava and mica (usually but not always colourless). Individual samples are distinguished by containing rare plagioclase and altered volcanic glass fragments. Rare limestone inclusions are also present.
Although different in some respects, this fabric is most like Peacock’s (1971, 164) fabric 1, which may derive from a wide volcanic tract in Italy including Campania, Latium and Etruria (Peacock & Williams 1986, 87), thus allowing for variants within the fabric type.
Department of Prehistoric & Romano-British Antiquities, The British Museum
(for Peacock & Williams Classes 3–5 fabrics in general) Red House Museum and Gardens, Christchurch; Colchester Museums; Departments of Greek & Roman Antiquities and Prehistoric & Romano-British Antiquities, The British Museum
Fitzpatrick, A, 1985 The distribution of Dressel 1 amphorae in north-west Europe, Oxford J Archaeol 4, 305–40
Peacock, D P S, 1971 Roman amphorae in pre-Roman Britain, in The Iron Age and its hill-forts. Papers presented to Sir Mortimer Wheeler on the occasion of his eightieth year (eds M Jesson & D Hill), 161–88
Sealey, P R, 1985 Amphoras from the 1970 excavations at Colchester Sheepen, BAR 142
Stead, I M, 1967 A La Tène III burial at Welwyn Garden City, Archaeologia 101, 1–62
Tchernia, A, 1988 Le vin de l’Italie romaine: essai d’histoire économique d’après les amphores, Rome
Williams, D F, 1987b Amphorae, in The prehistoric and Roman settlement, 3500 BC–AD 500 (B Cunliffe), Hengistbury Head 1, 271–5