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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


Peacock & Williams Class 12 amphorae (P&W AM 12)

Six samples

This type is commonly referred to as the ‘carrot’ or the Camulodunum 189 amphora. In general appearance and range of inclusions the type is similar to Palestinian amphorae and Peacock & Williams No 66 amphorae, although it is distinguished by its small vessel size.

General appearance

The type is typically orange-brown (2.5YR 5/6-5/8, 2.5YR 4/6) throughout, sometimes with lighter (2.5YR 6/6, 2.5YR 5/8, 5YR 6/8) surfaces. However, there is a good deal of colour variation, including brown (7.5YR 5/4) fabrics with pale brown (7.5YR 7/3–7/4) surfaces; samples with reduced cores, grey (7.5YR 5/1) in this instance, are also known. It is a hard or very hard fabric with harsh surfaces and a hackly or irregular fracture. Other characteristic features are the small vessel curvature and overall body ribbing.

Hand specimen

Abundant well-sorted quartz, frequently iron coated, and sparse to common limestone, always less common than the quartz, characterise this fabric. Inclusions normally range between 0.1–0.5mm, but they are more likely to be <0.3mm, rarely to 1.5mm. The only other consistently occurring inclusion is sparse red, red-brown or black iron-rich fragments, including clay pellets, which account for the larger fragments. In one sample microfossils are common.

Thin section

This fabric has a clean clay matrix containing abundant limestone <0.1mm. Larger inclusions consist of abundant well-sorted (0.2–0.4mm) quartz, both well rounded to angular, and lesser amounts of limestone. Quartz occasionally measures to 0.6mm, limestone rarely to 1.8mm. Other inclusions are sparse microfossils and rare feldspar, chert and ferromagnesian accessory minerals. Clay and ferruginous pellets (sometimes opaque) are common and measure to c 5.0mm, although fine opaques (<0.1mm) are also common.


At present no kiln sites are known for this type. Its distribution is biased towards the north-west provinces, but a tituli picti from Carlisle has suggested an Egyptian source (Tomlin 1992). More recently wasters for this type in a limestone-rich terra rosa have been noted from Lebanese excavations in Beirut directed by Ibrahim Kowatly (Hayes 1997, 32), although the variation in fabric and form indicate that a variety of production sites could be involved.


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


Colchester Museums; Museum of London


Hayes, J W, 1997 Handbook of Mediterranean Roman pottery

Reusch, W, 1970 Kleine, spitzkonische Amphoren, Saalburg Jahrbuch 27, 54–62

Sealey, P R, 1985 Amphoras from the 1970 excavations at Colchester Sheepen, BAR 142

Tomlin, R S O, 1992 The Roman ‘carrot’ amphora and its Egyptian provenance, J Egyptian Archaeol 78, 307–12

Vipard, P, 1995 Les amphores carottes (forme Schöne-Mau XV). Etat de la question, SFECAG. Actes du Congrès de Rouen, 51–77

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

Plate 81: Fresh sherd break of P&W AM 12 (width of field 24 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 81: Fresh sherd break of P&W AM 12 (width of field 24 mm)

Plate 81.1: Photomicrograph of P&W AM 12 (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 81.1: Photomicrograph of P&W AM 12 (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm)

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