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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


Mancetter-Hartshill Fabrics

Two fabrics from the Mancetter-Hartshill industry are represented here: both the commonly known white ware fabric (White ware), sometimes with red painted decoration (Parchment ware), and an oxidised one, usually with white slip on the mortaria (White-slipped ware). The main production in white ware was mortaria, segmental bowls and flagons, though a very limited number of other vessel types was occasionally produced. Bowls, beakers and jars are amongst the forms produced in an oxidised fabric, but a small number of mortaria were made in it, usually with white slip.

In the period before c AD 140/50 trituration grit consisted of ill-sorted angular and subrounded fragments (0.5–5.0mm) of quartz, sandstone, red sandstone and some dark grains. The quartz may form up to 30% of the suite, though, on occasion, the trituration grit is entirely quartz. After the mid-2nd century, the trituration comprised almost exclusively fine-grained black and dark red argillaceous inclusions.


The industry is known from numerous kilns in the vicinity of Mancetter-Hartshill, where both fabric types are represented.


Leicestershire Museums


Jewry Wall Museum of Archaeology, Leicester; Warwickshire Museum, Warwick


Bird, J, & Young, C, 1981 Migrant potters – the Oxford connection, in Roman pottery research in Britain and north-west Europe. Papers presented to Graham Webster (eds A C Anderson & A S Anderson), BAR Int Ser 123(ii), 295–312

Booth, P, 1986 Roman pottery in Warwickshire – production and demand, J Roman Pottery Stud 1, 22–41

Hartley, K F, 1973c The kilns at Mancetter and Hartshill, Warwickshire, in Current research in Romano-British coarse pottery (ed A P Detsicas), CBA Res Rep 10, 143–47

Hartley, K F, 1991b The mortaria, in Bewcastle and Old Penrith. A Roman outpost fort and a frontier vicus. Excavations, 1977–78 (P A Austin), Cumberland & Westmorland Antiq Archaeol Soc Res Ser 6, 30–2 and 156–73

Hartley, K F, 1993d The mortaria, in Excavations at Segontium (Caernarfon) Roman fort, 1975–1979 (P J Casey & K Davies with J Evans), CBA Res Rep 90, 309–16

Hartley, K F, 1994 The mortaria, in Iron Age and Roman occupation in the West Bridge area, Leicester. Excavations 1962–1971 (P Clay & R J Pollard), 67–9

Darling, M J and Hartley K F, 1999 Mortaria, in The defences of the lower city. Excavations at The Park and West Parade 1970–2 (C Colyer, B J T Gilmour & M J Jones), The Archaeology of Lincoln 7-2/CBA Res Rep 114, 108-114

Hemsley, R, 1959 A Romano-British pottery kiln at Manduessedum, Trans Birmingham Warwickshire Archaeol Soc 77, 5–17

Hartley K F with Williams, D F 2003 Excavation of Roman sites at Cramond, Edinburgh (N Holmes), Soc Antiq Scotl Monogr Ser 23, 49–58

Mancetter-Hartshill Parchment ware (MAH PA)

Single sample

General appearance

This sample is burnt or discoloured with a grey core and yellowed surface. Pale red-brown (10R 5/3) paint is visible on the rim. In other respects it is similar to the White ware described below.

Hand specimen

MAH PA is a decorated variant of the fabric described for White ware, with this particular sherd containing sparse iron-rich inclusions, discoloured to black, and measuring up to 1.0mm in size.

Thin section

Because of its similarity to the White ware, no sample was thin sectioned.