Essentially the same clay body served for the entire currency of this fabric. It is cream, sometimes merging to pink-cream (10YR 8/2–8/3), as seen on Plate 157a. Often it has a self-coloured slip, which may be slightly darker (10YR 8/4, 2.5Y 8/2), although it is never as yellow or brown as on Lincoln and Lower Nene Valley mortaria. Generally the fabric has an irregular fracture and a smooth feel. Examples dating to the first half of the 2nd century may be soft, while later products were often fired to a harder, smoother texture.
The clay matrix is generally dense and well fired, usually with sparse inclusions (Plate 157a). However, early examples (before c AD 140) have slightly more quartz (sometimes to common) which gives them a sandier feel (Plate 157b). Except as noted, all inclusions are normally sparse and well-sorted subrounded and rounded quartz (0.3–0.4mm but rarely to 0.5mm, occasionally polycrystalline), red and black iron-rich grains (0.1–1.2mm) and pale-coloured clay pellets (up to 1.0mm) occur in decreasing order of importance. Two of our samples (Plate 157d) contain sparse mixed trituration grit (to c 4.0mm) belonging to the general category outlined in the introduction to Mancetter-Hartshill and described in thin section with MAH WS. The remaining samples have trituration grits of abundant, angular, densely packed and ill-sorted (to c 5.0mm) red argillaceous fragments or, rarely, black ones (Plate 157c). Typically, although not represented here, black trituration grits will be more common.
This sample has a groundmass containing abundant well-sorted quartz measuring <0.05mm. Other inclusions are sparse, comprising primarily monocrystalline quartz, but frequently polycrystalline, with less rounded to subangular fine-grained sandstone, flint, opaques and iron-rich clay pellets measuring between 0.25–0.5mm, occasionally to 1.5mm. A single fragment of limestone measures 2.0mm. The trituration grits, belonging to the type current after c AD 140/50, consist of angular fragments of a brown argillaceous material to 2.0mm.