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The National Roman Fabric Reference Collection: a Handbook

Hand specimen picture panel
Thin section picture panel

References

Appendix 1: Keywords and Definitions
Appendix 2: Physical Layout of Sherds Housed in the NRFRC

 

Southern British (‘Belgic’) Grog-tempered ware (SOB GT)

Seven samples

This refers to a style-tradition found throughout south-east Britain: all the sherds represented here come from Canterbury, and therefore belong to Zone 5 defined by Thompson (1995, 625). The vessels from Canterbury are characterised by jars with offset neck and everted rim, or rippled neck, storage jars and, less frequently, bowls, cups and pedestal bases (ibid, 626–7). ‘Belgic’ characteristics such as corrugation, multiple cordons and deep furrowing are all diagnostic (Pollard 1995b, 588).

General appearance

This fabric is dark and ‘muddy’ in appearance: our colours range through the darker greys (5/0–4/0) often with a tinge of red-brown (2.5YR 4/4); surface colours are essentially the same, sometimes mottled. When a larger sample is available, the fabric may range from black, grey, brown to orange and buff (Pollard 1995b). Sherds are soft to hard with an irregular or hackly fracture; external surfaces are usually burnished in broad, somewhat sloppily executed bands, although the ‘fine’ vessels can be evenly burnished, resulting in smooth surfaces. Our vessels are primarily handmade, although one may have a handmade rim joined to a wheelmade body.

Hand specimen

Ill-sorted inclusions, dominated by abundant angular grains of dark grog measuring 0.3–1.0mm, but occasionally to 3.0mm, characterise the fabric. Other black grains measure <0.7mm, but are normally c 0.2mm and may be iron-rich fragments or grog. The remaining inclusions are sparse and comprise limestone (0.2–1.0mm), fine silver mica, pale-coloured clay pellets (0.5–2.0mm) and quartz (c 0.4mm).

Thin section

This sample has a clean clay matrix containing rare silt-sized quartz, together with abundant ill-sorted grog, clay pellets and opaques, normally <1.0mm but occasionally to 1.5mm. Sparse fine muscovite mica can also be identified in the clay. Other visible inclusions comprise rare limestone and ?organic voids.

Source

No kilns are known, but numerous sources, with local to regional distribution, are likely. Production may have reached at least as far north as Northamptonshire, and the type is also common in Leicestershire (R Pollard, pers comm).

Donor

Canterbury Museums

Museums

Canterbury Museums; English Heritage (Dover Castle); Department of Prehistoric & Romano-British Antiquities, The British Museum; Maidstone Museum

References

Jenkins, F, 1956 A Roman tilery and two pottery kilns at Durovernum (Canterbury), Antiq J 36, 40–56

Pollard, R J, 1988 The Roman pottery of Kent

Pollard, R J, 1994 The Iron Age and Roman pottery, in Iron Age and Roman occupation in the West Bridge area, Leicester. Excavations 1962–1971 (P Clay & R J Pollard), 51–114

Pollard, R J, 1995b ‘Belgic’ grog-tempered wares, in Excavations in the Marlowe Car Park and surrounding areas. Part 2: the finds (K Blockley, M Blockley, P Blockley, S S Frere & S Stow), The archaeology of Canterbury 5, 588–94

Thompson, I , 1982 Grog-tempered ‘Belgic’ pottery of southeastern England, BAR 108

Thompson, I, 1995 The ‘Belgic’ pottery of Canterbury, in Excavations in the Marlowe Car Park and surrounding areas. Part 2: the finds (K Blockley, M Blockley, P Blockley, S S Frere & S Stow), The archaeology of Canterbury 5, 625–9

Plate 179: Fresh sherd break of SOB GT (width of field 24 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 179: Fresh sherd break of SOB GT (width of field 24 mm)

Plate 179.1: Photomicrograph of SOB GT (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 179.1: Photomicrograph of SOB GT (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm)


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