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FIELD WALKING

DESCRIPTION OF FINDS

ROMANO-BRITISH WARES

Skip to the following ware types below:
Early wares
Amphora
Mortaria
Fine wares
Black burnished wares
Grog-tempered grey wares
Grey wares
Oxidised wares<br> Dales ware
Derbyshire ware
White ware
White slipped ware
Samian ware

Introduction

The Romano-British sherds were identified and described by Ruth Leary with Gwladys Monteil providing additional detail on the samian ware. The sherds are classed by ware group, where ware refers to broad groupings of fabrics often from a single pottery industry, such as Swanpool colour-coated ware, or producing the same sort of fabrics, such as black burnished wares. Where possible individual fabrics, such as Dorset black burnished ware or Nene Valley grey ware, were noted and are defined in detail below. In some instances the very abraded sherds could only be satisfactorily allocated to a very broad group such as undesignated amphora or sandy ware.

The term grog-tempered is used here as a convenient grouping, recognising the difficulty of distinguishing true grog from the more angular and subangular, natural, clay inclusions found in the local clays. Some of the fabrics described as grog-tempered may contain only naturally occurring clay inclusions.

Methodology for detailed fabric identification

The sherds were examined rapidly by eye with selected use of a x30 binocular microscope and x10 hand lens. The sherds were divided into fabric groups (Fulford and Huddleston 1991, 41), such as grey ware or oxidised ware, with distinctive, known fabrics such as the Nene Valley ware and grog-tempered ware fabrics being given their own fabric codes. The following criteria were used:

Colour:
Hardness:



Feel:





Fracture:





Inclusions:

Type:
Frequency:
Sorting:
Shape:




Size:


narrative description only.
after Peacock 1977.
soft - can be scratched by a finger nail
hard - can be scratched with a penknife blade
very hard - cannot be scratched with a penknife lade
tactile qualities.
smooth - no irregularities felt
rough - irregularities felt
sandy - grains can be felt across the surface
leathery - smoothed surface like polished leather
soapy - smooth feel like soap
visual texture of fresh break, after Orton 1980.
smooth - flat or slightly curved with no visible irregularities
irregular - medium, widely spaced irregularities
laminar - 'stepped' appearance
hackly - large and generally angular irregularities


after Peacock 1977
indicated on a 4-point scale - abundant, moderate, sparse and rare where abundant indicates the break is packed with an inclusion and rare indicates the break has only one or two of an inclusion.
indicates the homogeneity of size of inclusion
after Orton 1980
angular - convex shape, sharp corners
subangular - convex shape, rounded corners
rounded - convex shape, no corners
platey - flat
fine - 0.1-0.25mm
medium - 0.25-0.5mm
coarse - 0.5-1mm
very coarse - 1mm or greater

Fabric codes

All the codes are hierarchical, so OAA1 is a specific fine, orange, oxidised ware but OAA is a fine, orange, oxidised ware and OA is an oxidised orange ware of any coarseness. Similarly CTB1 is a specific fabric, CTB denotes one of the early shelly wares, CT denotes a shelly ware, which could belong to the early to late group. The National Roman Fabric Reference collection (NRFRC) codes are given where possible (Tomber and Dore 1998). References to other type series are given where appropriate. These fabrics are housed at the Museum of London and are open for public consultation. The ones listed here are found in Bingham.

Details of each fabric type

Below are descriptions of each of the fabric types. Details of the Bingham collection are presented in tabular form.

Early wares

BSA


CTB1


GTA5



GTA7



GTA8



GTOX

CTOX

Brown medium sandy ware. Brown. Hard with sandy feel and irregular fracture. Moderate, well-sorted, medium-sized, subangular quartz; sparse, coarse, platey vesicles and buff inclusions.

Early shell-tempered ware. Orange-brown. Hard with rough feel and laminar fracture. Abundant, ill-sorted platey, white inclusions, shell and/or vesicles. First-century shell-tempered wares can be difficult to distinguish from Dales ware.

Grog-tempered ware. Grey-brown-buff, sometimes with reddish brown margins and dark brown or grey core. Sparse, ill-sorted, medium-sized shell; moderate, ill-sorted, coarse, angular, buff or grey grog; moderate, medium-sized, rounded, brown inclusions; sparse, medium-sized, subangular quartz.

Grog-tempered ware. Grey, with light grey core. Very hard with slightly sandy feel, sometimes slightly leathery and lumpy, and irregular fracture. Moderate, well-sorted, coarse, subangular to subrounded quartz; sparse, ill-sorted coarse to very coarse subangular/angular argillaceous inclusions (usually grey to black). rare, medium-sized shell. Everted-rim jar.

Grog-tempered ware. Grey with brown margins. Fairly soft with bumpy feel and irregular fracture. Sparse, well-sorted, medium, subangular quartz and sparse-medium, ill-sorted coarse angular grey and brown argillaceous inclusions. Everted-rim jar with furrowed body form.

Oxidised version of GTA8 grog-tempered ware.

Oxidised shell-t ware as CTB1, probably from Harrold. Bedfordshire. HAR SH denote examples in which the punctuate brachiopods typical of the Bedfordshire shelly wares were spotted. NRFRC HAR SH

Most of the sherds of early wares were undiagnostic but comparison with known types from Margidunum and other Trent Valley sites suggests these are all dating to the mid-late first century and the early second century. All the BSA and CTB fabrics are likely to be local wares but the oxidised CT and GT wares may be from Harrold in Bedfordshire (Brown 1994) and were traded wares. The types found at Margidunum in this ware belong to the late first to early second century. The GTA wares belong to Todd’s Trent Valley ware group (1968a) and belong to the same period. These may have been made locally but no kilns have yet been identified.

Amphora

Most of the amphora sherds belong to one of two groups: the Dressel 20 (DR20) or Gallic wine amphora (GAL AM). The globular-shaped amphora form Dressel 20 (Peacock and Williams, 1986, Class 25) carried olive oil from the Roman province of Baetica in southern Spain and is found on many sites in Britain, showing something of the wide distribution of olive oil in the Roman Empire (Williams and Peacock, 1983). Dressel 20 amphorae were produced over a long period, from the reign of Claudius (mid first century AD) until shortly after the middle of the third century AD and well over 100 Dressel 20 kilns in the region of the River Guadalquivir are known to date (Rodriguez Almeida, 1989). A number of body and basal sherds most probably belong to the flat-bottomed Gauloise amphora series from southern France and date from the mid first century AD to around the end of the third century AD (Laubenheimer, 1985). This was the most common wine amphora imported into Roman Britain during the second century AD and predominantly from Narbonensis. A small number of amphora sherds from undesignated amphora types (AMP) were noted.
NRFRC BAT AM and GAL AM

Mortaria

MH Fine-textured, cream fabric, varying from soft to very hard, sometimes with pink core; self-coloured or with a self-coloured slip. Inclusions usually moderate, smallish, transparent and translucent white and pinkish quartz with sparse opaque orange-brown and rarely blackish fragments; rarely white clay pellets (or re-fired pottery). The range in fabric is, in fact, quite wide, from that with virtually no inclusions to fabrics with a fair quantity and fabrics with hard, ill-sorted black inclusions.

The trituration grit after AD130-140 consisted of hard red-brown and/or hard blackish material (probably re-fired pottery fragments denoted in the catalogue by MH2), with only very rare quartz fragments. This grit is easy to recognize, but earlier mortaria usually have a more mixed trituration grit in which quartz and sandstone are normal components (MH1) and some early second-century mortaria seem to have entirely quartz trituration grit. The Mancetter-Hartshill fabrics of AD100-130 are variable in texture and tempering. It is also at this period when there is difficulty in distinguishing Mancetter-Hartshill, Little Chester and Lincoln. This can be complicated by the fact that a few of the same potters appear to have been active at both M-H and Little Chester, but there the evidence indicates that Little Chester never developed the extensive markets which became a norm for the Mancetter-Hartshill workshops. Similar fabrics may also be being made locally at Margidunum.
Forms: flanged, collared, hammerhead (including unreeded painted) and reeded hammerhead mortaria.
NRFRC MAH WH

OAB ?MOR?
MLNV



OXCM
MSW

Orange sandy mortarium, fabric as OAB1 but possibly a local mortarium.
Lower Nene Valley mortarium, cream/off white. Perrin 1999. Smooth, hard with finely irregular fracture. Sparse-moderate, well-sorted subangular/angular fine quartz. sparse rounded medium, grey inclusions, sparse rounded fine brown and shiny black inclusions. Trituration black slag 1-4mm.mortarium. Reeded, flat rim mortaria, late third – fourth century. NRFRC LNV WH
Oxfordshire white mortarium, one sherd, Young 2000. NRFRC OXF WH
Swanpool mortarium. Similar to SWOX with white/off-white slip and black slag trituration grits. Webster and Booth 1947. Late third to fourth century. NRFRC SWN WS

Fine wares

This group includes colour-coated sherds (CC) and parchment ware (PMT). The former were manufactured as white-slipped wares by dipping unfired, leather hard vessels into a fine, liquid clay which fired to a different colour. The term colour coat is used when the coating fired to a darker colour and the term slip is used when it fired to a lighter colour. This technique was used to achieve a higher standard of vessel appearance than would otherwise have been achieved and to improve the finish effect. In the second and third centuries the Nene Valley potters used this technique to achieve an almost metallic finish for their beakers.

CC|
NV
used where further definition was not possible due to the abraded Oxfordshire or Nene Valley colour-coated ware
Nene Valley colour-coated ware. This can be white with darker colour coat (NV1) or oxidised with darker colour coat (NV2). Usually hard and smooth with finely irregular or smooth fracture but can be soft and powdery due to burial conditions. Well-sorted, moderate, fine quartz, sparse red, iron-rich inclusions and red and white clay pellets. NRFRC LNV CC

The colour-coated wares made at the Nene Valley kilns (Perrin 1999) became the dominant non-samian fine ware from the Midlands to the Hadrian’s Wall. Production began in the mid-second century and distribution became common thereafter reaching Hadrian’s Wall by the third century. Types present in Bingham parish include a range of beakers, variously decorated with applied motifs such as scales and scrolls, folded and rouletted beakers, and long-necked bulbous beakers, bowls and dishes, copying both samian and coarse ware types, boxes with lids, jars and one possible flagon.

ROX





PMT


SWCC:



Oxfordshire red colour-coated ware. Oxidised, normally red or brown with red/brown slip. Hard, smooth with finely irregular fracture. Moderate, fine, well-sorted fine quartz and black, iron-rich inclusions and common fine mica, sparse, ill-sorted clay pellets. NRFRC OXF RS

The Oxfordshire industry was very successful further south and is thought to have reached Lincoln late in the fourth century (Darling 1977, 25, Young 2000)
Parchment ware, probably Nene Valley. Buff to pale yellow fabric similar to NV, but not slipped. Usually painted. A number of centres made parchment wares at different times. The dating of the Nene Valley parchment wares is not well documented or defined. NRFRC LNV PA
Swanpool colour-coated ware. Usually red/brown or orange/brown with red/brown to black slip, sometimes with white under-slip. Hard with slightly sandy feel and irregular fracture. Moderate, well –sorted, subangular quartz with sparse, ill-sorted fine to medium red, iron rich inclusions and rare clay pellets. Micaceous. Can be difficult to distinguish from Nene Valley colour-coated ware. Webster and Booth 1947, Darling 1977. NRFRC SWN CC

Black burnished wares

BB1



RBB1

GBB1
Black burnished ware category one, probably all from south-east Dorset. Normally black, hard with smooth feel and hackly fracture. Abundant, well-sorted, medium, subangular quartz, rare, ill-sorted, black and red-brown clay pellets, rare shale inclusions and sparse calcareous inclusions. Forms: grooved-rim dish, developed flanged bowl, and jars with both acute and obtuse lattice burnish (second and third to fourth century respectively). Gillam 1976 and Williams 1977. NRFRC DOR BB1
Black burnished ware category one, probably all from Rossington Bridge. Very similar to Dorset BB1 but black to dark grey with no shale, rare clay pellets and black iron-rich inclusions. Jar. NRFRC ROS BB1
Grey BB1 type ware. A grey version of above, probably from Lincoln. Jar

Grog-tempered grey ware

GTA10 Light grey, often with lighter grey core. Hard with slightly sandy feel and irregular fracture. Moderate, well-sorted, medium-sized, subangular quartz; sparse, ill-sorted, coarse to fine, rounded grey and buff clay pellets; sparse, ill-sorted, medium to coarse, rounded black iron oxides. This fabric would usually be called grey ware. Well known in the Trent Valley in forms of the second and third century, this fabric may have been made at kilns such as those at Little London (Oswald 1937) and nearby. Forms include a wide-mouthed jar, a lugged jar and a hooked-rim jar.

Grey wares

These are all sandy reduced wares achieved by excluding air from the kiln firing.

GRA2





GRA6




GRB1







GRB2


GRB4

GRB6

GRC1

GRC6


NVG

BRB

NSP
Fine grey ware. Soft with smooth feel and finely irregular fracture. Moderate, well-sorted fine, subangular quartz; rare, ill-sorted, medium-sized, white inclusions; rare, fine, rounded black inclusions. General group of fine grey wares. A rusticated jar was present and a platter, both early types dating to the mid first-early second century and the mid to late first century respectively. Rustication is a technique similar to icing a cake where a the surface of the vessel is made wet or a secondary layer of wet clay is added and is roughened into peaks or lines of raised clay a bit like Christmas cake icing. This fine ware is likely to belong to the mid first to early second century since later vessels are in a coarser fabric.
Parisian ware. Very fine grey ware usually with darker grey core or margins. Hard. Smooth and silky feel. Smooth fracture. This sherd was stamped and is likely to belong to the Margidunum Parisian ware group, a group of fine grey ware fabrics recognised in the region in the late first to early second century and used to make fine bowls in samian forms decorated with stamped motifs. Elsdon 1982.

Grey ware. General group of medium-sized quartz-tempered grey wares (GRB1 and (GRB2). This group spans the entire Roman period and can only be subdivided on the basis of its forms. This group could be divided into many fabrics but since these are not considered diagnostic by the specialists working in the area, only well-identified fabrics are noted. Used throughout the Roman period. Forms: bead and flange bowls, carinated bowls, reeded-rim bowls, copies of samian bowl form 38, deep flanged bowls with inturned rim, flat-rim BB1-type bowl, bead rim bowl, carinated long necked bowl/beaker, long-necked globular beaker, plain and grooved rim dishes, hooked-rim jar, Dales ware type jar, everted-rim BB1 type jar, rusticated jars, rebated-rim jar, indented beaker/jars, narrow-necked jars with bead and everted rims, platters with curving walls and plain rim, wide-mouthed jars with everted, bead and hooked rims. Not all of these are found in Bingham.
Medium grey ware with sparse medium, rounded calcareous inclusions Grey. Hard with slightly rough feel and finely irregular fracture. Moderate well-sorted, medium-sized, subangular quartz; sparse, ill-sorted, coarse to fine, rounded white inclusions and vesicles; sparse, fine, rounded brown inclusions. Simple base sherd
Gritty black/grey ware. Dark grey. Hard with rough feel and hackly fracture. Abundant, well-sorted, medium-sized, subangular quartz. Very similar to BB1 in fabric. Sherd shaped into a roundel.
Gritty grey ware. Very hard with granular feel and granular fracture. Abundant, well-sorted, subangular medium quartz. Indented sherd. Similar to a fabric made at Little London kilns at the South Yorkshire kilns in the second to mid-fourth centuries.
Coarse grey ware. Grey. Hard with rough feel and irregular fracture. Moderate, well-sorted, coarse, subangular quartz; moderate, well-sorted, coarse, rounded, brown-black inclusions. Double lid-seated jars, the late fourth century jar type at Lincoln (Darling 1977).
Grey with light grey core. Very hard with rough feel and irregular fracture. Abundant, well-sorted, subangular medium/coarse quartz. Rather like fine Derbyshire ware in feel and hardness. Bodysherds present with burnished looped motif. Probably one of the East Midlands burnished ware range (Todd 1968b) dating to the late third to fourth century. Similar to vessels from Little London.
Nene Valley grey ware. Well known grey ware version of NV ware, typically light grey-white core and grey surfaces. Undiagnostic sherds and everted rims. Dating from the second quarter of the second to third centuries (Perrin 1999).
Brown burnished ware. Similar to GRB1 but brown. Todd (1968b) includes a brown burnished ware in his East Midlands burnished ware range of the late third to fourth centuries.
Sandy ware. General group of medium sandy wares, usually discoloured or very abraded grey ware.

Oxidised wares

These are all light coloured fabrics achieved by letting outside air into the kiln during the firing.

OAA1



OBA1

OAB1


OBB1
SWOX


OAC1

Fine orange ware. Pink-orange. Soft with smooth feel and fracture. Sparse, well-sorted, fine, subangular quartz; moderate, very fine, subvisible quartz; rare, fine, rounded, white inclusions. An oxidised version of GRA2. The forms include neckless everted-rim jars of the late first to early second century and the fabric is likely to date to this period when skilled military potters were present in the region.
Fine oxidised ware. Buff-brown. Soft with smooth feel and finely irregular fracture. Sparse, well-sorted, fine, subangular quartz; sparse, well-sorted, fine, rounded, red-brown inclusions. Buff version of OAA1.
Medium oxidised ware. General group of medium sandy, orange, pink and red wares. Dating as GRB1. This group may include some SWOX from Swanpool. Forms include flanged bowls, samian copies of form 38, neckless everted-rim jars, a rusticated sherd (perhaps misfired or burnt since these are usually grey) and a ribbed handle.
As OAB1 but buff.
As SWCC but without a colour coating. Probably Swanpool oxidised ware. Straight-sided bead and flange bowls and a Swanpool type wide-mouthed jar (Webster and Booth 1947 type C11).

Coarse oxidised ware, orange. Hard with rough, pimply feel and irregular fracture. Abundant, ill-sorted, coarse to medium-sized, subangular quartz; sparse, ill-sorted, coarse, rounded, black inclusions. Similar to a softer ware, precursor of Derbyshire, identified as pre-Derbyshire ware by Brassington (1980).

Dales ware

CTA2


CT GREY
Dales ware. Grey-black-dark brown. Hard with rough feel and laminar fracture. Moderate, ill-sorted, medium-sized, platey and rounded buff inclusions and vesicles; sparse, medium-sized, rounded, brown inclusions. Dales ware jars. Loughlin 1977. NRFRC DAL SH.
Probably a grey Dales ware such as that made in the Trent Valley/Lincolnshire.

Derbyshire ware

DBY Derbyshire ware as Kay 1962. Hooked and cupped-rim jar forms. AD140-fourth century. NRFRC DER CO

White wares

Typically, these are white, cream or pinkish white, sometimes with a greyish surface due to firing conditions. The fabrics are used principally for flagon manufacture. Three main fabrics can be identified, FLA1 a fine, quartz-tempered ware, FLA2 a medium quartz-tempered ware and FLA4 a very harsh sandy ware. The source of FLA1 and 2 is uncertain but FLA1 compares well with Lincoln white wares while FLA2 compares with vessels made at Mancetter-Hartshill near Coventry. This latter industry was very large and produced most of the mortaria for this region despite competition from the Lincoln kilns. Flagon and mortaria production were closely linked so it would not be unexpected if the flagons were provided by the same supplier. FLA4 is a well-recognised fabric from the St Albans area. Again in the late first to early second century these kilns were a major mortaria supplier.

FLA1


FLA2




FLA4

fine pinkish white ware Cream. Soft with smooth feel and conchoidal fracture. Sparse, well-sorted, fine, rounded, orange-brown inclusions; sparse, ill-sorted, coarse to fine laminar vesicles in some examples; moderate, well-sorted, fine mica. FLA1P= pinkish fabrics.
Medium white ware, probably from Mancetter-Hartshill Cream. Hard with sandy feel and irregular fracture. Moderate, well-sorted, medium-sized, subangular quartz; sparse, ill-sorted, medium-sized, rounded, brown-orange inclusions; sparse, well-sorted, fine mica. FLA2P= pinkish fabric. Identifiable forms included a strap and several ribbed flagon handles, a played rim ring-necked flagon of the early second century and sherds from a rouletted beaker of the late first to mid-second century. FLA2/MH: FLA2 or mortarium fabric MH. NRFRC MAH WH
Verulamium white ware. White/cream. Hard, rough with irregular fracture. Abundant, medium-sized, well sorted, subangular, white translucent and rose quartz; sparse, medium-sized, well-sorted, rounded, black/brown iron oxides. A ribbed handle was identified. NRFRC VER WH

In the case of very abraded sherds, it was not possible to distinguish NV and FLA sherds. The FLA code was used without further definition to indicate sherds that belong to the white ware group, but which were not further defined.

These wares were most popular during the mid- first to second century and became rare thereafter.

White-slipped ware

White-slipped war. Orange with off-white slip. Hard with smooth feel and fracture. Moderate, well-sorted, medium-sized, subangular quartz.

This fabric was used as a substitute for the white ware group for flagons and sometimes beakers where white-firing clays were not available. An orange firing clay, sometimes quite coarse, was used to make the vessel which was then dipped in a fine liquid, white-firing clay slip when leather hard. This fired to a smooth white surface but wore off through use eventually.

Samian ware

A small number (61) sherds of samian ware (TS) were collected. Fabrics characteristic of East Gaul, Central Gaul, including a single representative from les Martres de Veyre, and South Gaul are represented (Tyers, 1996).


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