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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

 

Central Gaulish Colour-Coated and Glazed Fabrics

Two main fabric variants, both producing colour-coated and glazed wares, are included here. One fabric is generally white and inclusionless (Central Gaulish Colour-coated ware 1, Central Gaulish Glazed ware 1), the second off-white in colour and micaceous (Central Gaulish Colour-coated ware 2, Central Gaulish Glazed ware 2). These groups may represent two main areas of production and they are described below.

In his work on Usk, Greene (1979, 86–105) distinguished two central Gaulish glazed ware fabrics, both of which are included here. Numerous kilns are known from the Allier Valley, with sites such as St Rémy most prominent in the literature, but glazed wares were also produced at Lezoux. Greene divided the glazed wares into a buff micaceous fabric and a white mica-free one. It is tempting to associate the micaceous fabric with Lezoux, given the characteristic micaceous clay of samian from this site, although Greene (ibid, 90) concluded that a one-to-one correspondence could not be made between fabric and production area. Freestone (1989, 265) has examined a single glazed sherd and noted its similarity to Central Gaulish Pompeian Red ware 3, which itself has a proposed source in Lezoux, while chemical analysis comparing sherds of central Gaulish glazed wares found in Britain with glazed wares from further afield clusters the central Gaulish material together (Hatcher et al 1994; Symonds & Hatcher 1989). Clearly, detailed fabric analysis on kiln material is necessary before fabric variations can be assigned to particular areas with confidence.

The central Gaulish colour-coated and glazed wares present a complex problem whose resolution requires a better understanding of the production sites. Until further information is available it is difficult to further refine our sourcing and for this reason we present here the two main fabric groupings that can be discriminated macroscopically.

Museums

National Museum of Wales; City Museum and Art Gallery, Gloucester; Departments of Greek & Roman Antiquities and Prehistoric & Romano-British Antiquities, The British Museum; Museum of London; Musée de la Céramique Gallo-Romaine, Lezoux (France); Musée Joseph Déchelette, Roanne (France); Musée des Antiquités Nationales, Saint-Germain-en-Laye (France)

References

Acta Rei Cretariae Romanae Fautorum, 1995 vol 34 (various papers for glazed wares)

Bet, P, & Henriques-Raba, C, 1989 Les céramiques à parois fines de Lezoux, SFECAG. Actes du Congrès de Lezoux, 21–9

Darling, M J, 1985 Roman pottery, in Kingsholm. Excavations at Kingsholm Close and other sites with a discussion of the archaeology of the area (H R Hurst), Gloucester Archaeol Rep 1, 55–93

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

Déchelette, J, 1901 L’officine de Saint-Rémy (Allier), et les origines de la poterie sigillée gallo-romaine, Revue Archéologique 38(1) 9e série, 360–94

Déchelette, J, 1904 Les vases céramiques ornés de la Gaule romaine, 2 vols, Paris

Desbat, A, 1986 Céramiques romaines à glaçure plombifère de Lyon et de Vienne, SFECAG. Actes du Congrès de Toulouse, 3–39

Freestone, I C, 1989 The petrology of the pottery from the Iron Age cemetery, in Verulamium. The King Harry Lane site (I M Stead & V Rigby), Engl Heritage Archaeol Rep 12, 264–6

Grataloup, C, 1988 Les céramiques à parois fines. Rue des Farges à Lyon, BAR Int Ser 457

Greene, K, 1978a Imported fine wares in Britain to A.D.250: a guide to identification, in Early fine wares in Roman Britain (eds P Arthur & G D Marsh), BAR 57, 15–30

Greene, K, 1978b Mould-decorated Central Gaulish glazed ware in Britain, in Early fine wares in Roman Britain (eds P Arthur & G D Marsh), BAR 57, 31–60

Greene, K, 1979 Report on the excavations from Usk 1965–1976. The pre-Flavian finewares

Hatcher, H, Kaczmarczyk, A, Scherer, A, & Symonds, R P, 1994 Chemical classification and provenance of some Roman glazed ceramics, American J Archaeol 98, 431–56

Jigan, C, 1988 Les vases à glaçure plombifère trouvés en Normandie: état de la question, SFECAG. Actes du Congrès d’Orange, 189–205

Symonds, R P, & Hatcher, H, 1989 La céramique à glaçure plombifère de l’époque romaine trouvée à Colchester et ailleurs: quelques analyses récentes, SFECAG. Actes du Congrès de Lezoux, 85–92

Vertet, H, 1986 Recherches sur les glaçures plombifères fabriquées dans le centre de la Gaule, SFECAG. Actes du Congrès de Toulouse, 25–32


Central Gaulish (White) Colour-coated ware 1 (CNG CC 1), Central Gaulish (White) Glazed ware 1 (CNG GL 1)

General appearance

Samples are united by a white (10YR 8/1, 7.5YR 8/1–8/2) clay. Typologically a range of colour-coated beakers, bowls and, less frequently, cups with roughcasting, rouletting and hairpin decoration were produced. Glazed vessels include flagons, handled bowls, cups and beakers, with moulded and barbotine decoration (Greene 1978a, 17). A hard fabric, it has a smooth to conchoidal fracture, normally smooth to the touch, although occasionally rough.

Hand specimen

These fabrics are characterised by a fine clay, typically with a very clean matrix, sometimes dense and frequently vesicular from ?wedging. Few inclusions are visible, but sparse well-sorted quartz, red-brown quartz-rich clay pellets and red-brown iron-rich fragments can be identified, normally <0.4mm. In rare samples silt-sized quartz is common. Although not represented on our samples, where present roughcasting may comprise either quartz sand or clay pellets. Superficially it is similar to Cologne Colour-coated ware, although with careful examination the two are easily distinguished.

Thin section

Two samples were examined and some variability can be seen between them. The fabric is characterised by its nearly inclusionless matrix, which is isotropic in part. Other inclusions are sparse to rare, but quartz and ferruginous pellets (<0.25mm) can be identified, as can rare fine mica and heavy minerals. One sample contains a colourless pyroxene (0.35mm).

Source

A white glazed fabric has been attributed to the Allier Valley (Greene 1978a, 16–17, but see also Fabric 2 below).


Central Gaulish (White) Colour-coated ware 1 (CNG CC 1)

Five samples

General appearance

Variously coloured matt slipped surfaces, ranging from brown to dark brown (7.5YR 3/1–2.5/1), black-brown (10YR 3/1, 10YR 3/3) or oranges (2.5YR 4/6, 2.5YR 6/8–5/8) are typical. Where thin, slip sometimes appears mottled to orange or light-brown (5YR 6/8, 7.5YR 6/6).

Donors

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

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

Plate 37: Fresh sherd break of CNG CC 1 (width of field 24 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 37: Fresh sherd break of CNG CC 1 (width of field 24 mm)

Plate 37.1: Photomicrograph of CNG CC 1 (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 37.1: Photomicrograph of CNG CC 1 (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm)


Central Gaulish (White) Glazed ware 1 (CNG GL 1)

Single sample

General appearance

Apart from the glaze, which is light yellow-green (5Y 8/4–8/6), samples conform to the general description for the ware as a whole.

Donor

Museum of London

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

Plate 37.2: Photomicrograph of CNG GL 1 (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 37.2: Photomicrograph of CNG GL 1 (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm)


Central Gaulish (Cream) Colour-coated ware 2 (CNG CC 2), Central Gaulish (Cream) Glazed ware 2 (CNG GL 2)

General appearance

Both variants are pale-brown to buff (10YR 7/3, 7.5YR 8/4) in colour, although our colour-coated sherds are occasionally pale orange (5YR 7/4-7/6). They are hard fired with a smooth fracture. A similar range of forms was produced here as for CNG fabric 1.

Hand specimen

The fabric displays a good deal of variation, ranging from well to nearly ill sorted due to the presence of larger inclusions. In general, it is silty, with common to abundant quartz <0.1mm, in some samples rarely to 0.6mm, followed by sparse to common red-brown or black iron-rich inclusions (<0.2mm). More distinctive is fine silver and less gold mica, which is sparse in our colour-coated and abundant in our glazed ware samples. Sparse white or matrix-coloured clay pellets (0.3–1.0mm) are sometimes visible. It is distinguished from CNG CC 1 by the range and size of inclusions, and particularly the presence of mica.

Thin section

Two samples were examined and are united by containing abundant muscovite and biotite mica in a matrix with varying quantities of silt-sized quartz and opaques. The colour-coated sherd contains abundant angular small quartz, while in the glazed sherd they are only common. Rare larger inclusions (<0.2mm) of quartz, aggregate quartz and feldspar are also present, as are quartz-rich clay pellets (to 1.0mm).

Source

Workshops at Lezoux are known to have produced micaceous colour-coated wares (Greene 1979, 46); equally, an Allier Valley source has been proposed for a micaceous glazed ware (Greene 1978a, 17). Based on petrological analysis, Freestone (1989, 264) has allied a micaceous glazed fabric with Central Gaulish Pompeian Red ware 3 and Central Gaulish Terra Nigra, for which a Lezoux source is generally accepted.


Central Gaulish (Cream) Colour-coated ware 2 (CNG CC 2)

Four samples

General appearance

These sherds generally have a dark slip, orange-brown (5YR 3/3), red-brown (2.5YR 6/6–5/6), brown to brown-black (5YR 2.5/1, 2.5Y 4/1–3/1), sometimes with a slightly purple cast. Where thinner, the slip appears orange (2.5YR 6/6–6/8, 5YR 6/6) or pink (2.5YR 5/4). Frequently they are slightly rough to the touch, even where slipped.

Hand specimen

Of the available samples, roughcasting consists of either clay pellets, generally 1.0–2.0mm; or mixed clay pellets and quartz, where quartz is frequently 0.5mm.

Donors

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

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

Plate 38: Fresh sherd break of CNG CC 2 (width of field 24 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 38: Fresh sherd break of CNG CC 2 (width of field 24 mm)

Plate 38.1: Photomicrograph of CNG CC 2 (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 38.1: Photomicrograph of CNG CC 2 (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm)


Central Gaulish (Cream) Glazed ware 2 (CNG GL 2)

Two samples

General appearance

Typically sherds have a smooth surface, and where glazed they are green (2.5Y 6/4–5/4) or pale yellow (2.5Y 6/6) in colour.

Donor

Museum of London

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

Plate 38.2: Photomicrograph of CNG GL 2 (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 38.2: Photomicrograph of CNG GL 2 (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm)


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