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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

 

North Gaulish White Ware Fabrics

Included here are a group of white wares closely linked in fabric. Three fabrics produced forms in the Gallo-Belgic tradition (NOG WH 1, 2 and 3) while a fourth fabric (NOG WH 4) incorporates Hartley Groups I and II mortaria, and a fifth one (NOG WH 5) is restricted to Roman table wares. Fabrics represented by NOG WH 1–2, have a potential source in north Gaul or the Rhineland such as Cologne and Remagen (Rigby 1989a, 141), while NOG WH 3–5, have a proposed source in northern Gaul only.


North Gaulish (Gallo-Belgic Pipeclay) White ware 1 (NOG WH 1)

Four samples

General appearance

This is a cream (10YR 8/2) to white (10YR 8/1, 7.5YR 8/1) fabric, occasionally with slightly darker (10YR 8/3) surfaces or very pale pink (5YR 8/2) margins. It is hard, with a smooth fracture and, where maintained, a smooth, facet-burnished surface. The fine nature of the fabric has sometimes earned the term ‘parchment’ ware, but should not confused with late Roman wares where a similar terminology is employed. Flagons, lagenae and honeypots were produced in this fabric.

Hand specimen

The fabric is fine with well-sorted inclusions, mostly <0.1mm. Only quartz is common, with occasional grains to 0.2mm, while sparse brown-red, red or black iron-rich inclusions, to 0.3mm, are also present. One sample contains larger red argillaceous fragments (to 0.5mm), while another may contain fine silver mica. The fabric equates to King Harry Lane White Fine ware i (Rigby 1989a, 143).

Thin section

This fabric contains abundant fine silt together with common ill-sorted larger quartz inclusions to c 0.15, rarely to 0.25mm. Other inclusions are sparse opaques (with a single grain measuring 1.0mm) and feldspar, and rare polycrystalline quartz. Sparse muscovite mica, not considered diagnostic, is also visible. A second sample (BM registration no. P1988.10-6.172) is isotropic.

Museums

Royal Museum and Art Gallery, Canterbury (Tiberio-Claudian forms and fabrics); Chichester District Museum (Tiberio-Claudian forms and fabrics); Colchester Museums; Ipswich Museum; Department of Prehistoric & Romano-British Antiquities, The British Museum

References

Holwerda, J H, 1941 De Belgische Waar in Nijmegen, Beschrijuing van de verzameling van het Museum G M Kam te Nijmegen 2, Nijmegen (Tiberio-Claudian forms and fabrics)

Rigby, V, 1989a Pottery from the Iron Age cemetery, in Verulamium. The King Harry Lane site (I M Stead & V Rigby), Engl Heritage Archaeol Rep 12, 112–210 (Tiberio-Claudian forms and fabrics)

Plate 12: Fresh sherd break of NOG WH 1 (width of field 24 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 12: Fresh sherd break of NOG WH 1 (width of field 24 mm)

Plate 12.1: Photomicrograph of NOG WH 1 (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 12.1: Photomicrograph of NOG WH 1 (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm)


North Gaulish (Gallo-Belgic Powdery) White ware 2 (NOG WH 2)

Single sample

General appearance

The single sample represented here is buff (10YR 8/4) coloured with slightly lighter (10YR 8/3) surfaces. It is soft with a smooth fracture and abraded surface, resulting in a powdery or rough feel. Honeypots, lagenae and flagons were all produced in the fabric.

Hand specimen

This fabric generally consists of ill-sorted inclusions, ranging between <0.1–0.5mm but normally 0.1–0.2mm. Quartz is common, followed by sparse red, red-brown and black iron-rich inclusions, which are occasionally angular in shape. In the hand specimen the most distinctive feature of the fabric is its loose matrix and the ill-defined margins of the iron-rich inclusions, which bleed into the clay. This fabric is similar to North Gaulish White ware 4, although it is finer and has a somewhat more consistently prepared matrix than its Romanised counterpart. The fabric equates to King Harry Lane Buff Powdery fabric ii (Rigby 1989a, 143).

Thin section

This sample is isotropic. Although similar in general aspect to NOG WH 1, it contains fewer silt-sized inclusions and a slightly greater number of ill-sorted larger ones. The latter frequently measure to c 0.3mm, or occasionally to c 0.5mm. Present in the larger sizes are feldspar and polycrystalline quartz, while chert and opaques occur in varying size ranges. Sparse flecks of mica are also visible.

Museums

Royal Museum and Art Gallery, Canterbury (Tiberio-Claudian forms and fabrics); Chichester District Museum (Tiberio-Claudian forms and fabrics); Colchester Museums; Ipswich Museum; Department of Prehistoric & Romano-British Antiquities, The British Museum

References

Holwerda, J H, 1941 De Belgische Waar in Nijmegen, Beschrijuing van de verzameling van het Museum G M Kam te Nijmegen 2, Nijmegen (Tiberio-Claudian forms and fabrics)

Rigby, V, 1989a Pottery from the Iron Age cemetery, in Verulamium. The King Harry Lane site (I M Stead & V Rigby), Engl Heritage Archaeol Rep 12, 112–210 (Tiberio-Claudian forms and fabrics)

Plate 13: Fresh sherd break of NOG WH 2 (width of field 24 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 13: Fresh sherd break of NOG WH 2 (width of field 24 mm)

Plate 13.1: Photomicrograph of NOG WH 2 (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 13.1: Photomicrograph of NOG WH 2 (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm)


North Gaulish (Gallo-Belgic Sandy) White ware 3 (NOG WH 3)

Two samples

General appearance

Our samples are white (10YR 8/1) with cream (10YR 8/2) surfaces and, occasionally, a pale orange (2.5YR 7/6) core. It is associated with rouletted butt beakers, particularly Camulodunum 113. The fracture is irregular, and sherds are hard with a smooth burnished external and rough internal surface.

Hand specimen

This fabric has a clean clay matrix containing well-sorted common quartz, 0.1–0.2mm; occasional grains measure to 0.3mm and may be pink in colour. Sparse black and fewer red iron-rich inclusions occur in the same size range, while some red fragments, up to 1.5mm, can be identified as clay pellets. Sparse silver mica is visible, but not considered diagnostic.

Thin section

Abundant well-sorted and frequently angular quartz (0.1–0.2mm, occasionally to 0.3mm) is set in a clean matrix with sparse silt-sized quartz. Other inclusions consist of sparse polycrystalline quartz, chert and opaques, with rare quartzite and feldspar. Brown mica is rare and not considered diagnostic.

Museums

Royal Museum and Art Gallery, Canterbury (later examples); Chichester District Museum (earliest forms and fabrics); Colchester Museums (earliest forms and fabrics); Ipswich Museum (earliest forms and fabrics); Department of Prehistoric & Romano-British Antiquities, The British Museum (earliest forms and fabrics); Scunthorpe Museum and Art Gallery (later fabrics and forms).

References

Hawkes, C F C, & Hull, M R, 1947 Camulodunum. First report on the excavations at Colchester 1930–1939, Rep Res Comm Soc Antiq London 14(earliest forms and fabrics)

Rigby, V, 1981 The Gallo-Belgic wares, in Skeleton Green. A late Iron Age and Romano-British site (C Partridge), Britannia Monogr Ser 2, 159–95 (earliest forms and fabrics)

Rigby, V, 1985 The Gallo-Belgic wares: discussion and conclusions, in Sheepen: an early Roman industrial site at Camulodunum (R Niblett), CBA Res Rep 57, 74–82 and microfiche 1:D12-2:B10(later examples of the type)

Rigby, V, 1995 Early Gaulish and Rhenish imports, in Excavations in the Marlowe Car Park and surrounding Areas. Part 2: the finds (K Blockley, M Blockley, P Blockley, S Frere & S Stow), The archaeology of Canterbury 5, 639–70

Plate 14: Fresh sherd break of NOG WH 3 (width of field 24 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 14: Fresh sherd break of NOG WH 3 (width of field 24 mm)

Plate 14.1: Photomicrograph of NOG WH 3 (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 14.1: Photomicrograph of NOG WH 3 (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm)


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