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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

 

Verulamium Region White ware (VER WH)

Six samples

A full functional range of forms was produced in VER WH (flagons, beakers, jars, bowls, dishes, lids, mortaria), but flagons and mortaria travelled most widely beyond the local region.

General appearance

This is a cream or off-white (10YR 8/2–8/3) fabric, sometimes with a lightly-coloured core in tones similar to those seen on the surfaces.The surfaces may be mottled, occasionally self slipped, in a range of pink or pale orange or yellow (eg 10YR 8/2, 5YR 7/6, 7.5YR 7/6), or sometimes pale or silver-grey (7.5YR 6/1). A hard fabric, the fracture is invariably hackly (and sometimes laminated) with harsh surfaces. Concentric scoring is sometimes present on the interior of mortaria.

Hand specimen

The fabric is characterised by abundant well-sorted quartz inclusions, described as granular, and sometimes iron coated. Most quartz measures between 0.2–0.5mm, although occasional grains to 0.8mm are visible. A dense, clean clay matrix – lacking mica – is typical, although some silt-sized inclusions can be seen in thin section. The only other visible inclusions are red iron-rich fragments, of the same size or smaller than the quartz; some samples have large (to 6.0mm) white and red quartz-rich clay pellets. Trituration grits are common and variably sorted, ranging in size from c 0.5–5.0mm but normally 1.0–3.0mm. Flint, frequently dark, dominates, followed by sparse quartz (some polycrystalline), and even fewer red to red-brown iron-rich or argillaceous inclusions.

The fabric is virtually identical to New Forest White ware 1, but can be distinguished by vessel form, since production of this fabric at Verulamium is likely to have ceased before the New Forest industry began.

Thin section

A clean clay matrix with sparse silt-sized inclusions is visible in thin section. The field is dominated by abundant well-sorted monocrystalline quartz normally measuring c 0.1–0.5mm, with polycrystalline quartz also common. Opaques, in the same grade as quartz, are sparse, as are flint and feldspar. Trituration grits of flint and quartz, some of which is polycrystalline, correspond to those seen in the hand specimen.

Source

Verulamium Region products are well known from a series of kilns in what is now Greater London and Hertfordshire, including Brockley Hill, Radlett and Verulam Hills Field.

Donors

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

Museums

Department of Prehistoric & Romano-British Antiquities, The British Museum; Museum of London (Brockley Hill and London sites); Verulamium Museum, St Albans

References

Castle, S A, 1972 A kiln of the potter Doinus, Arch J 129, 69–88

Davies, B J, Richardson, B, & Tomber, R S, 1994 The archaeology of Roman London 5. A dated corpus of early Roman pottery from the City of London, CBA Res Rep 98

Devereux, D F, Jones, R F J, & Warren, S E, 1982 X-ray fluorescence analysis of Verulamium region ware, in Proceedings of the 22nd Symposium on Archaeometry, University of Bradford, Bradford, UK, March 30th–April 3rd 1982, 333–42

Hartley, K F, 1972 The mortarium stamps, in Verulamium excavations 1 (S S Frere), Rep Res Comm Soc Antiq London 28, 371–81

Hartley, K F, 1984c The mortarium stamps, and The mortaria from Verulamium: a summary, in Verulamium excavations 3 (S S Frere), Oxford Univ Comm Archaeol Monogr 1, 280–91 and 292–3

Niblett, R, 1983-86 Evidence for the Antonine fire at Verulamium from the Wheelers’ excavations, Hertfordshire Archaeol 9, 29–78

Seeley, F, & Thorgood, C, 1994 Back to Brockley Hill, London Archaeol 7(9), 223–38

Suggett, P G, 1954 Excavations at Brockley Hill, Middlesex, March 1952 to May 1953, Trans London Middlesex Archaeol Soc 11, 259–76

Tyers, P A, 1983 Verulamium region type white-ware fabrics from London, Early Roman Pottery from the City of London 4, MoL Archive Rep

Tyers, P A, & Marsh, G D, 1978 The Roman pottery from Southwark, in Southwark excavations 1972–1974 (eds J Bird, A H Graham, H Sheldon & P Townend), Joint Publ London Middlesex Archaeol Soc/Surrey Archaeol Soc 1, 533–607

Wilson, M G, 1972 The other pottery, in Verulamium excavations 1 (S S Frere), Rep Res Comm Soc Antiq London 28, 263–370

Wilson, M G, 1984 The other pottery, in Verulamium excavations 3 (S S Frere), Oxford Univ Comm Archaeol Monogr 1, 200–66

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

Plate 126a: Fresh sherd break of VER WH (width of field 24 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 126a: Fresh sherd break of VER WH (width of field 24 mm)

Plate 126b: Trituration grits on VER WH (width of field 24 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 126b: Trituration grits on VER WH (width of field 24 mm)

Plate 126.1: Photomicrograph of VER WH (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 126.1: Photomicrograph of VER WH (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm)

Plate 126.2: Photomicrograph of trituration grits on VER WH (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 126.2: Photomicrograph of trituration grits on VER WH (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm)


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