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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


Rhodian Fabrics

Two fabrics, both attributed to Rhodes and produced as the peaked-handled Peacock & Williams Class 9 (Camulodunum 184) form, are represented here and are components of an extensive industry dating from the 4th century BC to the 2nd century AD. The distinction between the two fabrics can often be less clear than in the extreme ends of the spectrum represented by our samples.


These two fabrics are united by the presence of serpentine, which indicates a source on the isle of Rhodes or elsewhere in the Rhodian Peraea (Peacock 1977c, 266–70). Our fabric 1 is most like Peacock’s fabric 1 in colour, although they probably do not share an exact source as it may lack the limestone normally associated with this variant. The second, yellow, fabric equates to Peacock’s (ibid) fabric 2.


Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter; Department of Greek & Roman Antiquities, The British Museum (for pre-Roman vessels); Museum of London


Empereur, J-Y, & Tuna, N, 1989 Hiérotélès, potier Rhodien de la Pérée, Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique 113, 277–99

Hesnard, E , 1986 Imitations et raisonnement archéolgique: à propos des amphores de Rhodes et de Cos, in Recherches sur les amphores grecques, Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique Supplément 13, 69–79

Peacock, D P S, 1971 Roman amphorae in pre-Roman Britain, in The Iron Age and its hill-forts. Papers presented to Sir Mortimer Wheeler on the occasion of his eightieth year (eds M Jesson & D Hill), 161–88

Peacock, D P S, 1977c Roman amphorae: typology, fabric and origins, in Méthodes classiques et méthodes formelles dans l’étude des amphores, Collection de l’Ecole Française de Rome 32, 261–78, Rome

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

Rhodian (Pink) amphorae 1 (RHO AM 1)

Single sample

General appearance

Our sherd is pale orange (5YR 7/6), although it is more frequently described as pink (cf Peacock 1977c, 266 who cites the same Munsell value). It has a heavily abraded and therefore soft, powdery surface; unabraded examples have a pale slip on the outside surface. The fracture is irregular.

Hand specimen

The fabric comprises ill-sorted common subrounded to rounded white inclusions (not reacting to dilute hydrochloric acid), normally 0.2–0.5mm, but occasionally as large as 1.5mm. Apart from these, the fabric is dominated by common subrounded and rounded red and red-brown fragments (not visible on Plate 87), measuring 0.1–0.4mm. Finally, sparse quartz (0.2–0.4mm) and black iron-rich inclusions (<0.1mm) are present in the clay.

Thin section

Abundant subangular inclusions, from silt grade up to 0.5mm, and comprising mainly serpentine, with minor quartz, rare chert and feldspar occur. Voids, which may have contained calcareous matter, can also be seen.


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

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

Plate 87: Fresh sherd break of RHO AM 1 (width of field 24 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 87: Fresh sherd break of RHO AM 1 (width of field 24 mm)

Plate 87.1: Photomicrograph of RHO AM 1 (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 87.1: Photomicrograph of RHO AM 1 (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm)