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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


Lyon Colour-coated ware (LYO CC)

Two samples

General appearance

A pale to very pale green (2.5Y 8/4, 2.5Y 8/2–7/2) fabric, with brown (7.5YR 5/4–4/4) or green- brown (2.5Y 5/3–4/3) slipped surfaces. Although sometimes metallic in appearance, this may result from soil conditions (Green 1979, 12). A range of cups and beakers with appliqué, scaling and roughcast decoration are typical. The fabric is summarised and described by Greene (1979, 13–42), who provides more extensive information on form and decoration, including slip. Roughcasting comprises quartz (average c 0.3–1.0mm), in contrast to other imported fabrics where clay was used. The fabric has a smooth fracture, and is smooth or rough to the touch. Although our samples are variable in hardness, Greene (1979, 13) notes that where well preserved they are hard.

Hand specimen

This is a fine fabric with well-sorted inclusions, occasionally with a somewhat vesicular matrix. All inclusions are sparse, with quartz measuring 0.3–0.6mm, fine gold and ?silver mica and red iron- rich inclusions <0.1mm.

Thin section

A very clean, isotropic matrix is revealed, with visible inclusions restricted to rare silt-sized quartz, opaques and larger quartz and feldspar, occasionally in aggregate. Rare flecks of mica may also be present.


Production of similar wares is known from the kiln at La Butte (Greene 1979, 14).


Department of Prehistoric & Romano-British Antiquities, The British Museum


National Museum of Wales; Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter; City Museum and Art Gallery, Gloucester; Museum of London; Musée de la Civilisation Gallo-Romaine, Lyon (France); CNRS CRA Laboratoire de Céramologie Lyon (France)


Darling, M J, 1985 Roman pottery, in Kingsholm. Excavations at Kingsholm Close and other sites with a discussion of the archaeology of the area (H R Hurst), Gloucester Archaeol Rep 1, 55–93

Davies, B J, Richardson, B, & Tomber, R S, 1994 The archaeology of Roman London 5. A dated corpus of early Roman pottery from the City of London, CBA Res Rep 98

Godard, C, 1992 Une réserve de céramiques de l’époque de Claude à Vienne (Isère), SFECAG. Actes du Congrès de Tournai, 239–62

Grataloup, C, 1988 Les céramiques à parois fines. Rue des Farges à Lyon, BAR Int Ser 457

Greene, K, 1978a Imported fine wares in Britain to A.D.250: a guide to identification, in Early fine wares in Roman Britain (eds P Arthur & G D Marsh), BAR 57, 15–30

Greene, K, 1979 Report on the excavations from Usk 1965–1976. The pre-Flavian finewares

Greene, K, 1991 Pre-Flavian fine wares, in Roman finds from Exeter (N Holbrook & P T Bidwell), Exeter Archaeol Rep 4, 72–5

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

Plate 42: Fresh sherd break of LYO CC (width of field 24 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 42: Fresh sherd break of LYO CC (width of field 24 mm)

Plate 42.1: Photomicrograph of LYO CC (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 42.1: Photomicrograph of LYO CC (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm)

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