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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 44 amphorae (P&W AM 44)

Three samples

This type is frequently cited as the British ‘Bii’ or Late Roman Amphora 1. It has not been recovered from Roman levels in Britain, but since it increasingly occurs in post-Roman contexts it has been included here.

General appearance

A range of pastel shades, including pale orange-brown (5YR 6/6), red-brown (2.5YR 6/6) or yellow (10YR 8/3) with lighter surfaces (5YR 7/4–7/6, 10YR 8/3–8/4), is typical of this fabric. It is hard, with a hackly break and frequently harsh surfaces. The vessel is distinguished by wide to narrowly spaced ribbing on different parts of the body – matched by internal depressions – and distinctive grooved handles.

Hand specimen

In this fabric inclusions are well sorted, ranging between 0.2–1.5mm but usually 0.2–0.3–5mm, and set in a clean clay matrix. Quartz/feldspar, sometimes iron-coated, are common, together with varying quantities of limestone, which is sometimes fossiliferous. Sparse red-brown and red rocks and occasional accessory minerals are also typical, giving an overall impression of multicoloured (white, grey, black, red and translucent) inclusions, but this is not readily visible in Plate 83.

Thin section

A calcareous clay, containing common fine to medium sand-grade inclusions composed of subangular to subrounded micritic and microsparry limestone, calcite, fossil shell, quartz and quartzose rock fragments, serpentine, pyroxene, twinned feldspar and amphibole. Common silt-grade material consists primarily of calcite and quartz.


The petrology of this fabric has been discussed in detail by Peacock & Williams (1986) and production sites have been located in the Antioch region of Syria and somewhat further west along the Turkish coast and on Cyprus. (Empereur & Picon 1988; Empereur & Picon 1989).


Museum of London


Department of Greek & Roman Antiquities, The British Museum; Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro


Campbell, E, 1988 The post-Roman pottery, in Early medieval settlements in Wales AD 400–1100: a critical reassessment and gazetteer of the archaeological evidence for secular settlements in Wales (eds N Edwards & A Lane), 124–36

Empereur, J-Y, & Picon, M, 1988 The production of Aegean amphorae: field and laboratory studies, in New aspects of archaeological science in Greece (eds R E Jones & H W Catling), British School Athens Occ Pap of the Fitch Laboratory 3, 33–8, Athens

Empereur, J-Y, & Picon, M, 1989 Les régions de production d’amphores impériales en Méditerranée orientale, in Amphores romaines et histoire économique: dix ans de recherche, Collection de l’Ecole Française de Rome 114, 223–48, Rome

Rahtz, P A, & Williams, D F, 1992 B wares, in Cadbury Congresbury 1968–73. A late/post Roman hilltop settlement in Somerset (P A Rahtz et al), BAR 223, 169–79

Riley, J A, 1981 The pottery from cisterns 1977.1, 1977.2 and 1977.3, in Excavations at Carthage 1977 conducted by the University of Michigan 6 (ed J H Humphrey), 85–124, Ann Arbor

Thomas, C, 1981 A provisional list of imported pottery in post-Roman western Britain and Ireland

Tomber, R S, & Williams, D F, 1986 Late Roman amphorae in Britain, J Roman Pottery Stud 1, 42–54

Williams, D F, 1982 The petrology of certain Byzantine amphora: some suggestions as to origins, Actes colloque sur la céramique antique Carthage, CEDAC (Centre d’Etudes et de Documentation Archéologique de la Conservation de Carthage) Carthage Dossier 1, 91–110, Tunis

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

Plate 83: Fresh sherd break of P&W AM 44 (width of field 24 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 83: Fresh sherd break of P&W AM 44 (width of field 24 mm)

Plate 83.: 1 Photomicrograph of P&W AM 44 (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 83.: 1 Photomicrograph of P&W AM 44 (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm)

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