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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


Trier samian (TRI SA)

Two samples

General appearance

The range of fabric colours on these samples is similar to those from Rheinzabern. Frequently the break is orange-brown (2.5YR 5/8), but it can also be a pale, dull pink-brown (nearest value 10R 6/6, estimated values 10R 7/6–7/8, 10R 8/8) with red-brown (10R 5/8) surfaces. A good quality lustrous slip provides a smooth surface. Sherds are hard with a smooth fracture.

Hand specimen

The fabric break is dominated by abundant ill-sorted limestone (mostly <0.1mm, but ranging to 0.5mm). Other inclusions are common black iron-rich grains in a similar size range, and sparse fine silver mica. Because of the even distribution of the larger inclusions, the photographed break (Plate 29) appears well sorted.

Thin section

A micaceous clay, with muscovite and less brown mica, is visible in thin section. Abundant limestone and common quartz (frequently to 0.1mm) are present, as are rare ill-sorted larger inclusions to c 0.2mm and limestone to 1.0mm. Rare opaques, micaceous siltstone and feldspar can also be identified.


Arilira, Iullenus


Museum of London


Colchester Archaeological Trust (small but representative group); Museum of London (St Magnus and Shadwell material); Rheinisches Landesmuseum, Trier (Germany)


Bird, J, 1986 Samian wares, in The Roman quay at St Magnus House, London. Excavations at New Fresh Wharf, Lower Thames Street, London 1974–78 (L Miller, J Schofield & M Rhodes), London Middlesex Archaeol Soc Spec Pap 8, 139–85

Bird, J, 1995b 3rd-century samian ware in Britain, J Roman Pottery Stud 6, 1–14

Fölzer, E, 1913 Die Bilderschüsseln der Ostgallischen Sigillata-Manufakturen, Römische Keramik in Trier 1, Bonn

Gard, L, 1937 Reliefsigillata des 3 und 4. Jahrhunderts aus den Werkstatten von Trier, Unpublished dissertation, University of Tübingen

Huld-Zetsche, I, 1971 Zum Forschungsstand über Trierer Reliefsigillaten, Trierer Zeitschrift 34, 233–45

Huld-Zetsche, I, 1972 Trierer Reliefsigillata Werkstatt 1, Materialen zur römanisch-germanischen Keramik 9, Bonn

Huld-Zetsche, I, 1993 Trierer Reliefsigillata Werkstatt 2, Materialen zur römanisch-germanishcen Keramik 12, Bonn

Oswald, F, & Pryce, T Davies, 1920 Introduction to the study of terra sigillata

Simon, H-G, & Kohler, H-J, 1992 Ein Geschirrdepot des 3. Jahrhunderts Grabungen im Lagerdorf des Kastells Langenhain, Materialien zur römanisch-germanischen Keramik 11, Bonn

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

Plate 29: Fresh sherd break of TRI SA (width of field 24 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 29: Fresh sherd break of TRI SA (width of field 24 mm)

Plate 29.1: Photomicrograph of TRI SA (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 29.1: Photomicrograph of TRI SA (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm)