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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


South Gaulish Samian Fabrics

These centres are united by their high proportion of finely sorted limestone, in conjunction with a good quality red or red-brown slip. Although marbled samian was produced in south Gaul, none is represented here.

La Graufesenque samian (LGF SA)

Ten samples

General appearance

In colour these products are pale pink-brown: the closest Munsell value is 10R 6/8, with 6/6, 5/6 and 5/8 less frequently recorded; if anything the hue of the La Graufesenque fabric tends to be slightly redder than the Munsell 10R card. The surfaces are red-brown (10R 5/8) with an even, often highly lustrous slip. Samples are hard with a smooth fracture and feel.

Hand specimen

This fabric contains abundant limestone, normally <0.1mm and not readily visible on Plate 17, but occasionally up to 0.5mm, and sparse fine silver mica. Elongate voids, to 2.0mm, are sparse but distinctive to the fabric. Generally the inclusions are well sorted.

Thin section

The clay is isotropic, with a fine groundmass containing rare silt and abundant rounded limestone (<0.15mm), together with sparse muscovite mica. The voids seen macroscopically are also identifiable in thin section, as are silt-sized opaques.


Albus, Calvus, Carantus, Iucundus, Maccarus, Masc(u)lus, Mercator, Modestus, Peregrinus


Museum of London


Department of Prehistoric & Romano-British Antiquities, The British Museum; Museum of London; Dépôt de Fouilles de la Graufesenque, Millau (France); Musée Municipal de Millau (France); Musée des Antiquités Nationales de Saint-Germain-en-Laye (France)


Bémont, C, & Jacob, J-P (eds), 1986 La terre sigillée gallo-romaine. Lieux de production du Haut Empire: implantations, produits, relations, Documents d’Archéologie Française 6, Paris

Dickinson, B M, & Hartley, B R, 1993 Samian ware, Roman pottery from the fortress: 9 Blake Street (J Monaghan), The Archaeology of York. The Pottery 16/7, 722–5

Hawkes, C F C, & Hull, M R, 1947 Camulodunum. First report on the excavations at Colchester 1930–1939, Rep Res Comm Soc Antiq London 14

Hermet, F, 1934 La Graufesenque (Condatomago): vases sigillés, graffites, Paris

Hull, M R, 1958 Roman Colchester, Rep Res Comm Soc Antiq London 20, 153 (1st pottery shop), 198 (2nd pottery shop)

Hull, M R, 1963 The Roman potters’ kilns of Colchester, Rep Res Comm Soc Antiq London 21

Knorr, R, 1919 Töpfer und Fabriken verzierter Terra Sigillata des ersten Jahrhunderts, Stuttgart

Knorr, R, 1952 Terra Sigillata Gefässe des ersten Jahrhunderts mit Töpfernamen, Stuttgart

Vernhet, A, 1979 La Graufesenque. Atelier de céramiques gallo-romain, Toulouse

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

Plate 17: Fresh sherd break of LGF SA (width of field 24 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 17: Fresh sherd break of LGF SA (width of field 24 mm)

Plate 17.1: Photomicrograph of LGF SA (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 17.1: Photomicrograph of LGF SA (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm)