In colour this fabric is brown (5YR 6/4) or brown-pink (10R 7/6) with orange-brown (2.5YR 6/6) slipped surfaces and ephemeral marbling in a slightly duller tone (2.5YR 5/6). The fabric is hard with a smooth fracture and feel. Flagons and jugs are the most popular forms in Britain.
Our sherds contain abundant well-sorted quartz (0.1–0.2mm, occasionally to 0.5mm) set in a sparsely micaceous matrix with fine silver and gold mica. Other inclusions are sparse but red metamorphic grains (0.2–0.9mm), feldspar (c 0.5mm), accessory minerals (0.3–0.5mm) and occasional matrix-coloured clay pellets (1.0–2.5mm) are present. The fabric differs from other marbled wares in this collection by the relatively coarse inclusion size.
This sample contains common ill-sorted fine to medium-grade sand, composed predominantly of quartz with minor feldspar, rare chert and rare quartz-mica rock fragments, up to 1.5mm. A single large grain of phyllite is present in the section examined, as are rare grains of ?augite. Our sherd shares traits with that described by Bird and Williams (1983, 247), and a similar source area is likely. Only rare mica was visible in section and not considered significant.
Most British examples belong to the type of marbled ware described as ‘mamorierte keramik’ whose distribution indicates a source on the Rhine or lower Mosel. The petrology further isolates the Eifel-Rhenish area of Germany as a probable source area (Bird & Williams 1983).
Canterbury Museums; Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities, The British Museum
Bird, J, & Williams, D F, 1983 German marbled flagons in Roman Britain, Britannia 14, 247–52
Gose, E, 1976 Gefässtypen der römischen Keramik im Rheinland, Cologne (2nd ed)
Green, M J, 1995 The period 4 fine wares, in Excavations in the Marlowe Car Park and surrounding areas. Part 2: the finds (K Blockley, M Blockley, P Blockley, S S Frere, & S Stow), The Archaeology of Canterbury 5, 741–54