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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


South Wales Reduced ware (SWA RE)

Three samples

General appearance

Although Webster (1993, 232) describes the typical fabric as mid or silver-grey, our examples are dark grey (4/0–3/0) or grey-brown (7.5YR 5/2). These same sherds are hard with an irregular or hackly fracture and a harsh/powdery feel, but Webster (ibid) describes some surfaces as being lightly smoothed or burnished. The range of forms is restricted, frequently imitating Severn Valley and black-burnished style. However, narrow-neck jars with handles and wide-mouth jars are typical, as is wavy-line decoration, possibly created with a brush (ibid).

Hand specimen

The inclusions are slightly ill sorted, composed primarily of abundant quartz, mostly c 0.1mm but ranging to 0.5mm. Other inclusions are sparse and comprise black and red-brown iron-rich grains (0.3–0.7mm) and fine silver mica.

Thin section

Under the petrological microscope inclusions appear well sorted, containing abundant and frequently rounded monocrystalline and polycrystalline quartz (0.1–0.4mm) set in a micaceous (muscovite and less biotite) groundmass with sparse silt-sized quartz. In addition, sparse fine-grained sandstone, quartzite and feldspar can be identified. Matrix-coloured clay pellets, probably resulting from poor mixing of clay, can be common in the larger size range, while opaques are rare and normally measure <0.1mm.


Two kilns producing South Wales Reduced wares are known, at Llanedeyrn and Caldicot, but it is apparent that others existed (Webster 1993, 232–3)


Newport Museum and Art Gallery


National Museum of Wales; Newport Museum and Art Gallery


Barnett, C, Stanley, P, Trett, R, & Webster, P V, 1990 Romano-British pottery kilns at Caldicot, Gwent, Archaeol J 147, 118–47 and microfiche M2/57–64

Vyner, B E, & Evans, W H, 1978 Excavations of a Roman pottery kiln at Llanedeyrn, Cardiff, in Cambrian Arch Assoc: Monographs and Collections 1 (ed G C Boon), 120-9

Webster, P V, 1992 Roman pottery in south-east Wales: an introduction, J Roman Pottery Stud 5, 111–21

Webster, P V, 1993 The post-fortress coarsewares, in Report on the excavations at Usk 1965–1976. The Roman pottery (ed W H Manning), 227–361

Plate 174: Fresh sherd break of SWA RE (width of field 24 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 174: Fresh sherd break of SWA RE (width of field 24 mm)

Plate 174.1: Photomicrograph of SWA RE (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 174.1: Photomicrograph of SWA RE (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm)

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