SGRP home page

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


(UnSourced) Severn Valley Oxidised ware 2 (SVW OX 2)

Five samples

Samples included in this group cannot be attributed to a particular kiln, but are included here to illustrate the glossy and hard, burnished surfaces typical of well-preserved Severn Valley ware. A source in the Malverns cannot be ruled out for these samples, as indicated by the thin section description below.

General appearance

These samples are typically orange to orange-brown (2.5YR 5/8, 2.5YR 6/6–6/8) in colour; some sherds have a reduced break or core, which is pale grey (6/0, 5YR 6/1) to grey-green (2.5Y 6/2). Where the surface survives is it characteristically well-burnished, often in horizontal facets, and in colour is similar to the break, although a wider range of tones, including brown (5YR 6/4, 5YR 6/6) is represented amongst our samples. A similar clay was used to produce a reduced fabric, but the reduced sample included here is a waster and may not be intentional. The fabric tends to abrade easily in adverse soil conditions, but where preserved it is hard to very hard, with a smooth or occasionally irregular fracture. Burnished surfaces are smooth, elsewhere they may be rough.

Hand specimen

Somewhat diverse fabrics are represented here, but generally they seem finer than SVW OX 1. The samples are however united by a fine matrix with common fine mica (mostly silver) and silt-sized inclusions typical of the Keuper marl. Additional inclusions, variable in size and quantity although normally sparse, comprise clay pellets (white, red and matrix coloured to 7.0mm), red-brown and black iron-rich inclusions, and unidentified white inclusions, in rare instances reacting to hydrochloric acid and therefore calcareous. When present they tend to be ill sorted, ranging in size from <0.1–1.0mm and not falling into average size categories, although few are greater than 0.5mm. Several sherds give the appearance of being poorly mixed, with a corresponding vesicular matrix. The photographed sherd (Plate 122) belongs to the fine end of the range. The presence of limestone in some, but not all, samples may indicate that more than one source is represented.

Thin section

A fine micaceous (muscovite and rare biotite) clay dominated by common silt-sized quartz is seen in this sample. Larger grains are sparse (0.1–0.25mm, occasionally to 0.6mm), comprising quartz (sometimes polycrystalline), feldspar and opaque fragments. Rare micaceous siltstones and ferromagnesian minerals, as well as single fragments of fine-grained sandstone and ?shale link this fabric to that described for Malvernian SVW OX 1.


A number of different kiln areas are known from the core of the Severn Basin, with outlying production areas as far afield as Somerset (Scarth 1865–6) and Perry Barr, near Birmingham (Hughes 1959).


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


Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery; Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery, Carlisle; Hunterian Museum, Glasgow; City Museum and Art Gallery, Gloucester; Hereford and Worcester County Museum, Hartlebury Castle; Department of Prehistoric & Romano-British Antiquities, The British Museum; Somerset County Museum, Taunton; Tudor House Museum, Worcester

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

Plate 122: Fresh sherd break of SVW OX 2 (width of field 24 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 122: Fresh sherd break of SVW OX 2 (width of field 24 mm)

Plate 122.1: Photomicrograph of SVW OX 2 (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 122.1: Photomicrograph of SVW OX 2 (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm)