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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


Central Gaulish Samian Fabrics

Although a large degree of variability can be seen amongst the central Gaulish production centres, they are united by having a micaceous clay. Where present, limestone is frequently coarser than for south Gaulish products, and the quantity of black and red iron-rich inclusions result in a speckled appearance.

Les Martres-de-Veyre samian (LMV SA)

Seven samples

General appearance

This is a red-brown fabric whose closest value is 10R 6/8, with three samples estimated at 10R 7/8. As La Graufesenque hues tend to be slightly redder than the 10R card, so Les Martres hues tend to be slightly yellower with orange-brown, especially orange (10R 5/8), surfaces. The sherds are hard, covered with a good quality, smooth and highly lustrous slip; the fracture is conchoidal.

Hand specimen

These products have a very dense and well-fired clay matrix. The size and frequency of the limestone varies, being either common and measuring <0.1mm, or abundant and extending to 0.2mm. In the former case it is barely visible to the naked eye, in the latter the fabric appears packed with well-sorted, uniform inclusions. Fine silver (and very occasionally gold) mica is common, while red-brown and black iron-rich grains (rarely to 0.5mm) are sparse. Elongate voids (or cracks), usually between 0.2–1.0mm but occasionally reaching 2.0-3.0mm, are particularly characteristic of the Les Martres fabric.

The distinguishing characteristics of Les Martres – particularly when compared to Lezoux – can be summarised by its compactness, bright orange slip and the longitudinal cracks or voids.

Thin section

An isotropic calcareous clay with sparse brown mica is seen in thin section. Abundant rounded limestone and rare quartz, feldspar and opaques (<0.1mm) are also present, as are rare larger inclusions to c 0.2mm. Voids seen in the hand specimen are also visible here.


Donnaucus, Lentiscus, Medetus, Paterclus, Reginus, Suobnus, Vitalis


Museum of London


Museum of London; Musée Bargoin à Clermont-Ferrand (France) (Kuhn, Charvilhat, Lhéritier et Souchon Collections); Dépôt de fouilles de Lezoux (France); Dépôt de fouilles municipal des Martres-de-Veyre (France); Musée des Antiquités Nationales de Saint-Germain-en-Laye (France) (part of the Plicque Collection from Les Martres-de-Veyre, Collection J-R Terrisse)


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

Martin, J, 1942 L'évolution des vases sigillées de Lezoux, Bulletin Historique et Scientifique de l'Auverge 62

Picon, M, & Vauthey, M, 1975 Les céramique de l'atelier de Terre-Franche. problèmes de composition et problèmes techniques, Revue Archéologique du Centre de la France 14, 55-5, 285-302

Terrisse, J-R, 1968 Les céramiques sigillées gallo-romaines des Martres-de-Veyre (Puy-de-Dôme), Gallia Suppl 19 (reprinted 1972)

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

Plate 19: Fresh sherd break of LMV SA (width of field 24 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 19: Fresh sherd break of LMV SA (width of field 24 mm)

Plate 19.1: Photomicrograph of LMV SA (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 19.1: Photomicrograph of LMV SA (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm)