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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


Italian and Italian-style sigillata

Lyon, Italian-style sigillata (LYO SA)

Five samples

General appearance

This is a pale orange-brown (nearest value 2.5YR 6/6–6/8, but estimated as slightly paler) fabric. Surface colour is brown (10R 5/6) or orange-brown (2.5YR 6/8, 2.5YR 4/8) with a distinct orange under-cast.The slip is of high quality, silky smooth and usually semi-lustrous. It is hard fired with a smooth fracture and feel.

Hand specimen

The inclusions are well sorted and consistently <0.1mm. Abundant limestone dominates, with fine mica common (mostly silver but some gold) in the break and flakes up to 0.4mm typical on the surface of the vessels. Other sparse inclusions are red-brown and black iron-rich grains, quartz and red-brown ?rock fragments (the latter occasionally up to 0.7mm).

Thin section

A silty clay with some larger inclusions of quartz, opaques (sometimes quartz rich) and particularly fragments of sparry calcite (some may be redeposited), frequently to 0.3mm. The sample contains abundant mica, with muscovite dominant, although some brown mica can be identified. A single siltstone is also present.


CNRS CRA Laboratoire de Céramologie Lyon (France)


Musée de la Civilisation Gallo-Romaine, Lyon (France)


Kenrick, P M, 1978 Arretine pottery – a changing scene, in Papers in Italian Archaeology i: the Lancaster seminar (eds H Blake, T W Potter & D B Whitehouse), 237–41, BAR Supp Ser 41(I)

Lasfargues, J, Lasfargues, A, & Vertet, H, 1976 L’atelier de potiers augustéen à Lyon: la fouille de sauvetage de 1966, in Notes d’épigraphie et d’archéologie lyonnaises, 61–80, Lyon

Picon, M, & Garmier, J, 1974 Un atelier d’Ateius à Lyon, Revue Archéologique de l’Est 25, 71–6

von Schnurbein, S, 1990 Die außeritalische Produktion, 2. Kurzlebiges Manufakturen Lyon-La Muette, in Conspectus Formarum Terrae Sigillatae Italico Modo Confectae (E Ettlinger et al), Materialien zur Römisch-Germanischen Keramik Heft 10, 19–20, Bonn

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

Plate 15: Fresh sherd break of LYO SA (width of field 24 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 15: Fresh sherd break of LYO SA (width of field 24 mm)

Plate 15.1: Photomicrograph of LYO SA (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 15.1: Photomicrograph of LYO SA (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm)