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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


Southern British Glazed ware (SOB GL)

Six samples

The type is included here as an example of a glazed Romano-British fabric.

General appearance

The fabric is typically red-brown (10R 5/4), orange-brown (2.5YR 5/8) or brown (2.5YR 4/3), sometimes with a core in the latter colour. The glaze is usually a khaki green (2.5Y 5/4–4/4) or darker (5Y 3/2), but it can be almost transparent, when the orange of the underlying clay body will be visible (Jones forthcoming). Slip-trailed decoration is common under the glaze and shows as yellow (2.5Y 8/6). It is hard with an irregular fracture and smooth surfaces. The fabric equates to Arthur’s (1978, 298–308) south-east English group. Forms are generally bowls, beakers and small flasks.

Hand specimen

Overall the inclusions are fine and well sorted, mostly <0.1mm. Quartz is abundant, while black iron-rich grains, silver mica and matrix-coloured clay pellets (to 3.0mm) are sparse.

Thin section

Abundant densely packed well-sorted and frequently angular quartz, normally 0.05–0.1mm, set in a micaceous clay containing common muscovite (to 0.2mm) is present. In the same size range are a scatter of regularly occurring opaques, flint and feldspar. Clay pellets are common and typical of the fabric (c 0.5–1.5mm); less frequent are quartz-rich opaques, sized as the clay pellets.


No kilns are known, but a south-east source is proposed on distributional evidence (Arthur 1978).


Surrey County Archaeological Unit, Kingston-upon-Thames


Spelthorne Museum, Staines (currently with Surrey County Council)


Arthur, P, 1976 The Roman lead glazed pottery, in The archaeology of Staines and the excavation at Elmsleigh House (K Crouch), Trans London Middlesex Archaeol Soc 27, 80–2

Arthur, P, 1978 The lead glazed wares of Roman Britain, in Early fine wares in Roman Britain (eds P Arthur & G D Marsh), BAR 57, 293–355

Jones, P 2008 The Roman and medieval town of Staines, Spoilheap Publications Monogr 2

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

Plate 178: Fresh sherd break of SOB GL (width of field 24 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 178: Fresh sherd break of SOB GL (width of field 24 mm)

Plate 178.1: Photomicrograph of SOB GL (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 178.1: Photomicrograph of SOB GL (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm)

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