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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


North Gaulish White Ware Fabrics

Included here are a group of white wares closely linked in fabric. Three fabrics produced forms in the Gallo-Belgic tradition (NOG WH 1, 2 and 3) while a fourth fabric (NOG WH 4) incorporates Hartley Groups I and II mortaria, and a fifth one (NOG WH 5) is restricted to Roman table wares. Fabrics represented by NOG WH 1–2, have a potential source in north Gaul or the Rhineland such as Cologne and Remagen (Rigby 1989a, 141), while NOG WH 3–5, have a proposed source in northern Gaul only.

North Gaulish (Gallo-Belgic Pipeclay) White ware 1 (NOG WH 1)

Four samples

General appearance

This is a cream (10YR 8/2) to white (10YR 8/1, 7.5YR 8/1) fabric, occasionally with slightly darker (10YR 8/3) surfaces or very pale pink (5YR 8/2) margins. It is hard, with a smooth fracture and, where maintained, a smooth, facet-burnished surface. The fine nature of the fabric has sometimes earned the term ‘parchment’ ware, but should not confused with late Roman wares where a similar terminology is employed. Flagons, lagenae and honeypots were produced in this fabric.

Hand specimen

The fabric is fine with well-sorted inclusions, mostly <0.1mm. Only quartz is common, with occasional grains to 0.2mm, while sparse brown-red, red or black iron-rich inclusions, to 0.3mm, are also present. One sample contains larger red argillaceous fragments (to 0.5mm), while another may contain fine silver mica. The fabric equates to King Harry Lane White Fine ware i (Rigby 1989a, 143).

Thin section

This fabric contains abundant fine silt together with common ill-sorted larger quartz inclusions to c 0.15, rarely to 0.25mm. Other inclusions are sparse opaques (with a single grain measuring 1.0mm) and feldspar, and rare polycrystalline quartz. Sparse muscovite mica, not considered diagnostic, is also visible. A second sample (BM registration no. P1988.10-6.172) is isotropic.


Royal Museum and Art Gallery, Canterbury (Tiberio-Claudian forms and fabrics); Chichester District Museum (Tiberio-Claudian forms and fabrics); Colchester Museums; Ipswich Museum; Department of Prehistoric & Romano-British Antiquities, The British Museum


Holwerda, J H, 1941 De Belgische Waar in Nijmegen, Beschrijuing van de verzameling van het Museum G M Kam te Nijmegen 2, Nijmegen (Tiberio-Claudian forms and fabrics)

Rigby, V, 1989a Pottery from the Iron Age cemetery, in Verulamium. The King Harry Lane site (I M Stead & V Rigby), Engl Heritage Archaeol Rep 12, 112–210 (Tiberio-Claudian forms and fabrics)

Plate 12: Fresh sherd break of NOG WH 1 (width of field 24 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 12: Fresh sherd break of NOG WH 1 (width of field 24 mm)

Plate 12.1: Photomicrograph of NOG WH 1 (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 12.1: Photomicrograph of NOG WH 1 (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm)