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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 Samian Fabrics

Although a large degree of variability can be seen amongst the central Gaulish production centres, they are united by having a micaceous clay. Where present, limestone is frequently coarser than for south Gaulish products, and the quantity of black and red iron-rich inclusions result in a speckled appearance.


Les Martres-de-Veyre samian (LMV SA)

Seven samples

General appearance

This is a red-brown fabric whose closest value is 10R 6/8, with three samples estimated at 10R 7/8. As La Graufesenque hues tend to be slightly redder than the 10R card, so Les Martres hues tend to be slightly yellower with orange-brown, especially orange (10R 5/8), surfaces. The sherds are hard, covered with a good quality, smooth and highly lustrous slip; the fracture is conchoidal.

Hand specimen

These products have a very dense and well-fired clay matrix. The size and frequency of the limestone varies, being either common and measuring <0.1mm, or abundant and extending to 0.2mm. In the former case it is barely visible to the naked eye, in the latter the fabric appears packed with well-sorted, uniform inclusions. Fine silver (and very occasionally gold) mica is common, while red-brown and black iron-rich grains (rarely to 0.5mm) are sparse. Elongate voids (or cracks), usually between 0.2–1.0mm but occasionally reaching 2.0-3.0mm, are particularly characteristic of the Les Martres fabric.

The distinguishing characteristics of Les Martres – particularly when compared to Lezoux – can be summarised by its compactness, bright orange slip and the longitudinal cracks or voids.

Thin section

An isotropic calcareous clay with sparse brown mica is seen in thin section. Abundant rounded limestone and rare quartz, feldspar and opaques (<0.1mm) are also present, as are rare larger inclusions to c 0.2mm. Voids seen in the hand specimen are also visible here.

Source

Donnaucus, Lentiscus, Medetus, Paterclus, Reginus, Suobnus, Vitalis

Donors

Museum of London

Museums

Museum of London; Musée Bargoin à Clermont-Ferrand (France) (Kuhn, Charvilhat, Lhéritier et Souchon Collections); Dépôt de fouilles de Lezoux (France); Dépôt de fouilles municipal des Martres-de-Veyre (France); Musée des Antiquités Nationales de Saint-Germain-en-Laye (France) (part of the Plicque Collection from Les Martres-de-Veyre, Collection J-R Terrisse)

References

Bémont, C, & Jacob, J-P (eds), 1986 La terre sigillée gallo-romaine. Lieux de production du Haut Empire: implantations, produits, relations, Documents d’Archéologie Française 6, Paris

Martin, J, 1942 L'évolution des vases sigillées de Lezoux, Bulletin Historique et Scientifique de l'Auverge 62

Picon, M, & Vauthey, M, 1975 Les céramique de l'atelier de Terre-Franche. problèmes de composition et problèmes techniques, Revue Archéologique du Centre de la France 14, 55-5, 285-302

Terrisse, J-R, 1968 Les céramiques sigillées gallo-romaines des Martres-de-Veyre (Puy-de-Dôme), Gallia Suppl 19 (reprinted 1972)

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

Plate 19: Fresh sherd break of LMV SA (width of field 24 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 19: Fresh sherd break of LMV SA (width of field 24 mm)

Plate 19.1: Photomicrograph of LMV SA (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 19.1: Photomicrograph of LMV SA (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm)


Lezoux (1st century) samian (LEZ SA 1)

Seven samples

The fabric refers to Lezoux products from the 1st century.

General appearance

The variation in colour and composition of this fabric generally polarises into two subgroups. The first variant (i) is red-brown (2.5YR 6/8) or brown (5YR 6/6) with a red-brown (10R 6/6, 10R 5/8) smooth and even semi-lustrous slip, while the second (ii, Plate 20) is pale brown or almost beige (7.5YR 8/2, 7.5YR 7/4) with a patchy, nearly matt, red-brown (10R 6/6, 10R 5/8) slip. Both are hard with an irregular fracture and a smooth feel.

Hand specimen

Both variants contain common silver and gold mica, although in i) it is <0.1mm and thus difficult to see with the naked eye, whereas in ii) the flakes are much larger, up to 0.5mm. The fabric contains generally well-sorted inclusions (<0.1mm); occasionally quartz outweighs the mica, normally it is much sparser. Other sparse inclusions are brown and red iron-rich grains and unidentified white fragments, both occasionally to c 0.6mm.

Thin section

An intensely micaceous matrix can be seen in thin section, with muscovite and brown mica frequently present to 0.2mm, or occasionally 0.4mm. The clay is silty with common quartz and less feldspar; occasional but regular grains measure to between 0.1–0.2mm. Sparse opaques and rare chert are also present in a similar size range.

Source

Atepomarus

Donors

Department of Prehistoric & Romano-British Antiquities, The British Museum; Musée de la Céramique Gallo-Romaine, Lezoux (France)

Museums

University of Durham (Oswald-Plicque Collection); Department of Prehistoric & Romano-British Antiquities, The British Museum; University of Nottingham (Oswald-Plicque Collection); Musée de Clermand-Ferrand (France); Dépôt de fouilles de Lezoux (France); Musée de la Céramique Gallo-Romaine, Lezoux (France); Musée Joseph Déchelette, Roanne (France); Musée des Antiquités Nationales, Saint-Germain-en-Laye (France) (Collection Plicque); Museum of Utrecht (The Netherlands)

References

Bémont, C, & Jacob, J-P (eds), 1986 La terre sigillée gallo-romaine. Lieux de production du Haut Empire: implantations, produits, relations, Documents d’Archéologie Française 6, Paris

Martin, J, 1942 L'évolution des vases sigillées de Lezoux, Bulletin Historique et Scientifique de l'Auverge 62

Vertet, H, 1962 Les vases caliciformes de Roanne et la chronologie de la terre sigillée de Lezoux au début de 1er siècle, Gallia 20, 350–80

Vertet, H, 1967 La céramique sigillée tibérienne à Lezoux, Revue Archéologique, 255–93

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

Plate 20: Fresh sherd break of LEZ SA 1 (width of field 24 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 20: Fresh sherd break of LEZ SA 1 (width of field 24 mm)

Plate 20.1: Photomicrograph of LEZ SA 1 (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 20.1: Photomicrograph of LEZ SA 1 (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm)


Lezoux samian 2 (LEZ SA 2)

Seven samples

This group refers to 2nd century products from Lezoux.

General appearance

This fabric is red-brown (10R 6/8, 10R 5/6) or paler (estimated to a value of 8), with surfaces red-brown (10R 5/8) or orange-brown (2.5YR 5/8), but browner than, for example, those seen from La Graufesenque. The slip is smooth and lustrous, but less so than La Graufesenque. It is a hard fabric with a conchoidal fracture. Later in the 2nd century (BM registration no. P1995.7-12.6) the fabric is generally paler (10R 8/8) with a slightly browner slip.

Hand specimen

The inclusion suite is more mixed than for the south Gaulish centres, and on the whole ill sorted. Plate 21, of early Antonine date, is considered a typical Lezoux product. Limestone, silver (with less gold) mica and red-brown and black iron-rich grains are all common, and generally <0.1mm, although limestone and iron-rich grains occur up to 1.0mm. Quartz is sparse, normally measuring c 0.2mm. The Hadrianic fabric (BM registration no. P1995.7-12.5) tends to be denser, with fewer inclusions.

Thin section

An isotropic and calcareous clay is visible. It contains abundant, frequently rounded, limestone and less quartz and opaques, all generally <0.1mm. Regular larger inclusions of quartz, feldspar and limestone measure between c 0.1–0.2mm. The matrix is micaceous, with common muscovite and some brown mica, measuring to c 0.6mm. Additional inclusions, always rare, comprise ferromagnesian minerals and siltstone.

Source

Atilianus, Attius, Lollius, Luppa, Maior, Namilianus, Pugnus

Donor

Museum of London

Museums

University of Durham (Oswald-Plicque Collection); Department of Prehistoric & Romano-British Antiquities, The British Museum; Museum of London; Musée de la Céramique Gallo-Romaine, Lezoux (France); Musée des Antiquités Nationales, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, (France) (Collection Plicque)

References

Bémont, C, & Jacob, J-P (eds), 1986 La terre sigillée gallo-romaine. Lieux de production du Haut Empire: implantations, produits, relations, Documents d’Archéologie Française 6, Paris

Bet, P, Fenet, A, & Montineri, D, 1989 La typologie de la sigillée lisse de Lezoux: considérations générales et formes inédites, SFECAG. Actes du Congrès de Lezoux, 37–54

Oswald, F, 1936–7 Index of figure-types on terra sigillata (‘samian ware’)

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

Picon, M, 1973 Introduction à l’étude technique des céramiques sigillées de Lezoux, Centre de Recherche sur les Techniques Gallo-Romaines 2, Dijon

Rogers, G, 1975 Poteries sigillées de la Gaule centrale. 1. Les motifs non figurés, Gallia Supplément 28

Stanfield, J A, & Simpson, G, 1958 Central Gaulish potters

Stanfield, J A, & Simpson, G, 1990 Les potiers de la Gaule centrale, Revue Archéologiques Sites, Gonfaron

Webster, P V, with contributions by Dannell, G B, 1996 Roman samian pottery in Britain, Practical handbook in archaeology 13

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

Plate 21: Fresh sherd break of LEZ SA 2 (width of field 24 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 21: Fresh sherd break of LEZ SA 2 (width of field 24 mm)

Plate 21.1: Photomicrograph of LEZ SA 2 (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 21.1: Photomicrograph of LEZ SA 2 (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm)


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