Appendix 5: Welton Road, Brough, Pottery Fabrics

Publication of The National Roman Fabric Reference Collection, abbreviated NRFRC (Tomber and Dore 1998), and a major survey of Roman Pottery in Britain by Tyers (1996), obviate the need to describe the major imported and widely traded Romano-British wares in detail. The descriptions of the colour of the fabrics refer to the Munsell Soil Color Charts (1975), a widely adopted commerical table of colours, used to achieve accurate and standardised colour descrptions.


RC Rough-cast, miscellaneous rough-cast beakers.
A possible five vessels, of which three could be from the Nene Valley, while another might be atypical KOLN, and the last, no.3, is from an unknown source, in a hard slightly grey-cored light cream-brown fabric, with occasional cream streaks and inclusions. All rough-cast is composed of clay particles.

KOLN Cologne colour-coated ware (NRFRC = KOLNCC; Tyers 1996, 146-8).
Only beaker sherds were found, all with rough-cast decoration.

CGBL Central Gaul black slipped ware (NRFRC = CNGBS; Tyers 1996, 137-8).
Apart from one cup, all sherds were from beakers, as Greene 1978, types 5, 6 and 9. Illustrated: Nos.1-2.

NVCC Nene Valley colour-coated (NRFRC = LNVCC).
Illustrated: Nos.4-19.

CC Colour-coated wares, unknown sources.
The six sherds, all tiny chips, could not be definitely identified, although two rough-cast chips are likely to be from Cologne (KOLN). One sherd came from a cup of the CGBL type, but the fabric was atypical for that source. A base from a closed form had a pink-brown fabric, not of local manufacture.

YOPA Ebor red-painted wares (Monaghan 1997, 877-80).
Six sherds probably represent four separate bowls, all probably of the hemispherical bowl type of no.20, while a single sherd may be from a less common closed form. The earliest stratified sherd came from Period 4, Trench 3, Group 6.14. Illustrated: No.20.


BROX Brough oxidized, local oxidized wares.

BRCC Brough colour-coated, local colour-coated wares.

BRWS Brough oxidized with white slip.

Since the evidence for the above fabrics came from production waste, over- and under-fired, clear definition of the fabric is problematical. The oxidized colour varies from light red (10R 6/8) and (2.5YR 6/6) to reddish-yellow (5YR 7/6). Some vessels are lighter shades nearer 5YR 7/4. The colour-slips vary enormously, the intended colour probably being a darker red, near 2.5YR 5/6, although several of the sherds are notably much darker. Many of the sherds have a dark grey core. The fabric is normally very fine, slightly laminar and its most obvious inclusions are dark red iron ore particles, and occasional small quartz grains; some have a higher proportion of inclusions, and the bowl no.53 has an occasional calcareous inclusion. It is not a distinctive fabric, and is hard to differentiate from similar oxidized fine fabrics. This is discussed elsewhere (4.5: Brough Local Production). Illustrated: Nos.21-66.


NGCR North Gaulish cream wares, (NRFRC = NOGWH).
None of the sherds were of the classic North Gaul grey ware fabric (Tyers 1996, 154), but fabrics and forms were identical to the cream beakers found at Caister-on-Sea (Darling 1993, 161, 166), and were from beakers of the pentice-moulded type. It appears that the main North Gaulish ware found in York is the grey ware (Perrin 1990b, 268, fig.125, 1405 being a cream beaker; no.1407 NGGW ; Monaghan 1993, 717; 1997, 889); Monaghan also notes a scatter of cream beaker sherds. The earliest stratified sherds came from Trench 1 Period 5 Groups 11.2 and 12, and from Trench 2 Period 5 Groups 7.1 and 8.8, all deposited from the mid 3rd century onwards. This ware appears to be distributed along coastal shipping routes (Richardson and Tyers, 1984). Illustrated: No.67.

VRW Verulamium region white wares (NRFRC = VERWH; Tyers 1996, 199-201).
Just two body sherds probably from a flagon from Trench 2 Period 7 Group 18.1.

PARC Parchment wares.
Probably only two vessels are represented, a flagon with painted stripes from Trench 1 Period 6 Groups 12.6-7, and a closed vessel with painted stripes and dots from Trench 2, residual in a post-medieval deposit, Period 9 Group 19.1. The source is unknown, although vessels from the Mancetter-Hartshill industry are known to have been traded into Yorkshire (Monaghan 1997, 885); alternatively these may have been travelling with NVCC.

CR Cream, miscellaneous cream wares.
Sherds attributed to a fabric group rather than a discrete fabric and, except for a single segmental bowl (no.75), all identifiable sherds came from flagons (one with typical grey interior surface) or closed forms, including a jar or beaker and a jar. The fabrics varied in the quantity of inclusions (mainly quartz), and also in colour, some being pinkish, and some with grey cores. A single micaceous sherd occurred (Period 4, Group 6.8, context 1132). Illustrated: Nos.72-5

OXWS Oxidized white-slipped.
The code covers a variety of oxidized fabrics, all with external white-slip, most of the sherds coming from flagons (ringed type, nos.68 and 69) or other closed forms, but also including an unusually tiny tazza (no.71) and a segmental bowl (no.70). The earliest stratified sherds occur in Period 3, Group 4.5, make-up for road structure. Illustrated: Nos.68-71.

OX Oxidized, miscellaneous oxidized wares.
This code comprises all miscellaneous oxidized sherds, usually in varying red-brown shades and degrees of grittiness, for which no significant fabric groupings are evident. Both open and closed forms occur. Forms include a fine copy of the samian form 30 in a fine fairly micaceous fabric, perhaps from York, no.80. A rouletted foot-ring, no.81, may be from a similar type, but the fabric appears to differ. There are also two examples of a bowl common in North Lincolnshire (nos.83 and 84) as at Dragonby, Roxby, Winterton and Lincoln, and also at Brough in earlier excavations, also found in reduced fabrics. Closed forms occur as the occasional beaker (nos.78 and 79), a curved rim jar (no.76) and a lid-seated jar (no.77). Two bowls, nos.82 and 87 may be related to the local production of fine wares (4.5: Brough Local Production). Illustrated: Nos.76-87.


BB1 BB1, Black-Burnished ware category 1 (NRFRC = DORBB1; Farrar 1973; Tyers 1996, 182-186). Possibly only nos.90 and 91 are vessels from Dorset. Illustrated: Nos.90 and 91.

BB1G BB1 grey copies.
Wheel-made local copies of BB types appear almost immediately after the occurrence of vessels from Dorset. Some have the same sandy fabric as used for BB1, and try to imitate the hand-made character. Hand-made BB1 was certainly produced at Doncaster (Buckland et al. 1980), and sherds at Brough may derive from that source. Illustrated: Nos.88-9, 92-4.

BB2 BB2, Black-Burnished ware category 2, from the Thames Estuary, Kent and Essex area (NRFRC: COLBB2 - Colchester; MUCBB2 - Mucking; CLIBB2 - Cliffe; COOBB2 - Cooling; Tyers 1996, 186-7).
BB2 was made at Colchester (Williams 1977), sites around the Thames Estuary (Farrar 1973) and Kent (Monaghan 1987). Distribution to the north indicates a coastal trade. The fabric of the Brough sherds is dark grey with brown-grey cortex and dark grey to black surfaces, with glossy burnished surfaces. The matrix is silty with sparse quartz. A number of sherds had laminated extremely badly due to the fineness of the fabric. A precise source has not been determined. Illustrated: Nos.95-101.


PART Parisian type fabrics (Elsdon 1982).
This comprises a range of fabrics; the majority are fine with a different coloured cortex giving a 'sandwich' effect. With plain bodysherds, it is impossible to differentiate between Parisian stamped vessels, London-type ware or fine 'poppy-head' beakers so the category may include some of these. There is limited evidence for production of Parisian ware at Rossington Bridge, Doncaster, and Market Rasen, but other sources are probable. The principal characteristics are a fine fabric, often slightly laminar, with a silty matrix with sparse mica; colour ranges from dark to mid-grey, the cortex being lighter, and the exterior is, when well preserved, polished and decorated with stamps or rouletting. Of the sherds which can be classified as Parisian ware on the basis of their stamped decoration, only nos.102, 103, 104 and 105 have the classic fine sandwich type fabric, while nos.106, 107 and 108 are in coarser, but relatively fine, grey fabrics.

Only one sherd was possibly from a bowl, with three zones of rouletting, and all other sherds came from either beakers or other closed forms. The fern-leaf stamp on the sherd in classic fabric no.103 (from Period 7, Trench 2 Group 18.1) is from a different die to that used for the coarser sherds, nos.107 and 108. Sherds from closed forms include the less common curvilinear decoration as no.105 and comb-stamps. The decoration on no.104 is unusual with burnished lines on either side of single comb stamps, arranged in a V motif. The stamps (the block stamp B1 and rosette) on no.106 have been recorded before, at Dragonby (Elsdon 1982, fig.7, 63 and 66; shown together fig.10, 59). The stamp S.63 is also known from Old Winteringham and Thealby. The earliest sherd was stratified in Period 3 Group 23.1. Illustrated: Nos.102-8.

LOND 'London ' ware (Tyers 1996, 170).
A single compass-scribed body sherd came from the topsoil of Trench 1. This fine grey or black fabric, decorated with incised or compass-scribed lines together with stabbed, stamped and rouletted decoration, was made at a number of sites, including London (Marsh 1978, 124), Oxford and the Upchurch Marshes of Kent (Rodwell 1978, 228), and there is a strong likelihood that it was also produced in the Nene Valley (Perrin 1990a). It is normally a hard silty fabric, virtually without inclusions, dark grey to black in colour with lighter grey margins giving a 'sandwich' effect; the exterior has been slipped and burnished. Not illustrated.

GFIN Grey, fine fabrics.
This coding is used for reduced fabrics lying between the common quartz-gritted GREY used for most jars and bowls, and the much finer fabrics used for London-type ware and Parisian ware. Apart from a flanged bowl (no.185) and a fragment from a carinated bowl, virtually all sherds were from closed vessels, most, on the basis of wall thickness and bases, apparently beakers, and certainly including at least one 'poppy-head' beaker, and a folded beaker. A fragment from an open form with a very light grey fabric and finely burnished surfaces, perhaps from a London type bowl, and a further body sherd was probably from a bowl or jar of the type of no.172. Exterior surfaces were often burnished, and decoration confined to rouletting, occasionally very fine, and close-set vertical scored lines on one vessel. A single sherd was exceptionally thin, verging on eggshell ware. Illustrated: No.185.


GREY Grey, undifferentiated quartz-gritted grey fabrics, hard wares with sparse to common quartz inclusions.
The grey wares appear to derive from a variety of sources, some certainly from Lincolnshire and others from kilns in Yorkshire. The fabrics generally lack distinctive inclusions to aid identification and typology is often the most useful guide. Earlier vessels appear more likely to have come either from kilns in North Lincolnshire or from unknown kilns within the vicinity of Brough, while later pottery probably came from Yorkshire kilns, such as those on Holme-on-Spalding Moor (Corder 1930; Hicks and Wilson 1975) or Norton (Corder 1950), although the occasional vessel from south of the Humber is still likely.

While there are certainly several vessels which tie in with the products of the Roxby kilns (Rigby and Stead 1976), the characteristic lid-seated jars with their scored or stabbed decoration of Types A and B do not occur. On the other hand, the small jar no.133 is similar to the Roxby type C, also seen at Dragonby (Gregory 1996, 520). The wide-mouthed bowls may be from kilns on Holme-on-Spalding Moor (Hicks and Wilson 1975, fig.8, nos.12-14, fig.9, 15) or from Lincolnshire where similar types occur. But the carinated bowls nos.174, 175, 176, 177 and 178 are typical products of kilns at Holme-on-Spalding Moor (Hasholme and Throlam; ibid., fig.9, nos.22-3) as well as Norton, and many of the everted-rimmed jars could derive from such sources. The use of groups of burnished vertical or diagonal lines on jars appears to be a Yorkshire style, alongside the wavy line on bowls and dishes, the forms of which were ultimately derived from BB types. Many of the undecorated bowls and dishes with small flanges are typical of the Yorkshire kilns (as at Hasholme; Hicks and Wilson 1975, fig.10). No certain evidence of vessels from the Rossington kilns occurred, although some of the BB1 types could be from that source. Although rusticated jars were made at Roxby, it is just as likely that more local kilns supplied the jars at Brough (all in closely similar fabric), alongside several other vessels of earlier type. Vessels with applied ornament, as nos.115, 116, 117, 118 and 119, are reminiscent of jars from the Norton kilns, including Smith God types (Corder 1950, pl VIb). Illustrated: Nos.109-57, 164-84, 186-255.

GYMS Grey with minimal shell inclusions.
This small group of coarse fabrics is only differentiated from other shell-gritted wares on the basis of the very minimal shell inclusions, and consisted of probably five hand-made lids, all of the same type as in shell and calcite-gritted fabrics, and two dishes (nos.257 and 258) from Trench 1 Group 12, and a jar with curved rim (no.256) from Trench 1 Group 21.3. Illustrated: Nos.256-8.


IAGR Iron Age tradition wares.
IAGR grit-tempered ware consists of a variety of fabrics, some of which are reminiscent of the coarse pimply fabric which has been described as Trent Valley Ware. These are coarse fabrics deriving from late Iron Age potting traditions, of varying colour, the main inclusions being ill-sorted quartz, iron-ore and occasional clay pellets or grog. The sherds included rims of jars or bowls of Iron Age type (as nos.160, 161, 162 and 163), although one was a more everted type. No.159 contained more grog inclusions, and no.158 had occasional calcite inclusions. Most appeared to be wheel-thrown or wheel-finished; none were certainly hand-made. Marginally more came from Trench 2; the earliest stratified sherd came from Period 3, Trench I, fill of 76. Illustrated: Nos.158-63.

Native wares, just seven sherds of coarse hand-made fabrics, not readily allocated to other wares; most appear to be fragments from lids, while one could be from a jar of the type already seen at Brough (Wacher 1969, no.266). No sherds were stratified prior to groups dated to the mid 3rd century.

COAR Coarse fabric. A single body sherd, of coarse fabric, with rounded quartz inclusions and a light-brown exterior, came from a grave fill in Trench 3, Period 2 Group 3.2.


DWSH Dales ware, shell-gritted (NRFRC = DALSH; Tyers 1996, 190).
All sherds were from jars except for two dishes (nos.263 and 264), and a cheese-press no.265. The jar no.262 and the dishes have notably sparser shell inclusions than normal. Apart from intrusive sherds in Period 0, the earliest sherds were from Period 3, Groups 3.1 and 21.6, and it becomes more common in Period 4. Illustrated: Nos.259-65.

CASH Calcite-gritted wares. These vary considerably from vessel to vessel in terms of the proportion and size of inclusions, including shell in some cases, and few can be grouped. Of the 879 sherds, 256 mostly smaller sherds are not identified for manufacture type; of the identified records, 53-4% are hand-made on both count and weight.

Examination of the forms, based on 380 records (adjusted for multiple-vessel records, being the total vessel count to 404), suggests that 23% are open forms, bowls and dishes (mostly dishes), 20% are lids, and the remainder are from closed forms, jars. All sherds identified as open forms are noted in the database. The quantity of lids seemed relatively high. Diameters give no clear evidence of which form the lids were used with, but the absence of lid seatings on the jars, the sooting and steam-holes on the lids, and the coincidence of the percentages of lids and open forms (not normally seen where Dales ware jars are the normal jar of this type, as at Lincoln) suggest the lids are for bowls and dishes.

Two distinctive jars are nos.267 and 268, both hand-made but wheel-finished. There are a number of hand-made oxidized jars (nos.271, 272 and 273), although their fabrics vary in detail. A larger group of wheel-made jars in similar fabrics consists of nos.274, 277, 278, 279 and 280, although the quantity of inclusions varies, while nos.275 and 276 are in identical fabric. The dishes and bowls are invariably burnished and undecorated. The only decoration consists of scored lines (jar no.281, and two body sherds with scored wavy line decoration), and slight traces of similar linear decoration on the lid no.309. Most of the types are those seen elsewhere (as at Malton) in 2nd to 3rd century contexts; no lug-handled jars occurred. There are no Huntcliff types. Illustrated: Nos.267-311.

SHEL Shell-gritted wares, unsourced. This category includes jar fragments, one of a type derived from Iron Age tradition cooking pots, fragments of lids and the unusual dish, probably a tripod form, no.266. The fabric is close to that used for some Dales ware jars. A similar dish was found at Malton (Bidwell and Croom 1997, fig.30, no.237 from a context dated to the 3rd or 4th century). Illustrated: No.266 .

OXSH Oxidized coarse shell fabrics, used for thick hand-made ?vessels. These occurred predominantly as thick fragments with little or no curvature, but do not resemble tiles. The fabric is coarse poorly mixed clay with quantities of coarse shell. Illustrated: No.328.

The phased distribution of these peculiar coarse shell-gritted fragments and the average weight per fragment is shown on Fig.62.

figure 62
Fig.62 OXSH fragments by period (weight and grams per fragment)

A single fragment occurred in a Period 2 context (Phase 1 Group 24.4), but the main concentration is in Period 4 with the highest average fragment weight of 76g (the largest quantity from Phase 7, Group 9.17 backfill/packing), tailing off to 23-24g in Periods 5 and 6. A quantity was used in Period 5 in Trench 2 as the make-up for a path structure (Phase 1, Group 10.2). Only a further 12 fragments occurred after Period 6.

The occasional fragment had a pre-fired hole, and sometimes there appeared to be evidence of turning-marks, although these are more likely to be smoothing. The identification of the only fragment possible to illustrate, no.328, as an open base fragment is tentative; the diameter is not measurable. There are no surface deposits or evidence for burning. What these fragments come from is unknown, and some form of industrial use seems possible. Fragments are known from other sites north of the Humber and these may hold the clue to identifying the function.

They are reminiscent of what has been termed 'tile-pots' in Lincoln, although the Lincoln fragments in tile fabrics do appear to form large containers. Again the evidence is extremely fragmentary, but the sherds seem to come from large hand-made vessels of closed form, rims estimated at 24cm diameter, base diameters in the region of 20-24cm, while body diameters may be 50cm or more. These are known mainly from a single site, and their function is unknown.


A single pot sherd attributed to the Lincolnshire region; the exact source of the vessel cannot be identified.

Where form is identifiable, all these North Gaulish mortaria except one were of Gillam 238 type, dated c.AD 65-100, as no.312. A single abraded rim from a Gillam 255 of Antonine date also occurred. Illustrated: No.312.

Just three vessels are represented, the sherds of no.314 comprising a large part of the vessel, dated c.AD 140-250/300 (from Area 1 dumps 12.7). The fabric contains abundant rounded quartz, tiny fragments of red slate, iron ore, sparse mica; the trituration is fine quartz. Three examples are published from St Magnus House, London (Richardson 1986, 1.78-80). No.313 is probably from Soller, dated c.AD 150-220 (also from Area 1 dumps 12.7), and the final vessel is represented by a worn cream burnt base, from Area 2, 19.1 (with the 'Raetian' type A mortarium). Illustrated: Nos.313-14 .

A single sandy bodysherd is tentatively attributed to the Verulamium region. The fabric is slightly atypical.

This code has been used for two mortaria in cream fabrics likely to come from either Colchester or Norfolk. The only rim is a collared type, datable c.AD 170-230.

A single stamp of CRICO was found, no.315, adding a new die to the two already known from the South Carlton kilns. Two other vessels are probably from the same source, a burnt worn rim and joining bodysherds from another. Illustrated: No.315.

Mancetter-Hartshill. The nearly complete hooked rim no.316 is unstamped, and has a diagnostic spout type, never seen on stamped examples, the inner bead across the spout having been left uncut, and the terminals on either side of the spout are specific to the type. The only other rim was of the straighter type of hook seen in the 3rd century, and fragments of two hammer-headed mortaria with multi-reeding and painted stripes, both 3rd century, one c.AD 220-270. Illustrated: No.316.

Lower Nene Valley. These were all of the reeded flange type, not closely datable within the 3rd century (nos.319 and 320). These may fit the period c.AD 220/230-300+. Illustrated: Nos.319-20.

Orange-brown fabric with brown to dark grey core and thin white slip; fairly fine fabric, tending to laminate, with moderate quartz, rare red-brown sandstone? and iron slag?; trituration grit of quartz and red-brown sandstone.

This code denotes oxidized mortaria with white slip and mixed trituration grits known from sites in Yorkshire, as Malton (Hartley and Croom 1997, 107, fig.26, no.147; fig.27, no.156; fig.37, no.437), Langton (Corder and Kirk 1932, fig.12, no.7; fig.24, nos.6, 7 and 18), Rudston (Stead 1980, fig.42, no.154), York (Monaghan 1997, fig.374, no.3404), Beadlam (Evans 1996, fig.49, no.M3) and Market Weighton (Humberside). The combination of fabric and form is distinctive of this workshop, the small high-beaded rims usually having a distal groove or reeding. It is suspected that these fairly delicate vessels were produced over a limited period, possibly late 2nd century, but more probably the first half of the 3rd century, possibly to the south of Malton. Two vessels, no.317 and a coarser version no.318, both from Area 1 dumps 12.6 and 12.7. Illustrated: Nos.317-18.

The code for locally produced vessels, individually described. The most unusual vessel is the 'Raetian' type A (no.321, early 2nd century to c.AD 130/140). A definite local vessel is the collared type no.322, an over-fired 'waster'. This has a white slip and traces of possible diagonal painted lines on the rim, probably with a painted band at the bottom edge of the rim. This would suggest it may not be earlier than the mid 3rd century. The fabric of both of these is the same as used for the fine wares, BRCC, BROX and BRWS. Other examples are two collared examples, no.323 (c.AD 150-230), and no.324 (this example with four reeds, c.AD 180-230?), and a fragmentary flanged example (c.AD 200-250). White slip is also evident on the collared type no.324, the fabric of which falls within the range for the local production 'waste', and the flanged type. The reeded collar type, no.324, can be dated either to c.AD 180-230 (by association with the Mancetter-Hartshill styles) or to c.AD 200 onwards (if derived from the Nene Valley). There is no sign of white slip on the collared type no.323, which has a different fabric with more quartz inclusions. Illustrated: Nos.321-4.

Brough Local Production


DR20 Dressel 20 amphorae (NRFRC = Baetican (Early) Amphorae 1 BATAM1; Peacock and Williams 1986 Class 25 (Late) Amphorae 2 BATAM 2 (3)). Illustrated: No.325.
Link to section on Dressel 20 amphorae in Roman Amphoras in Britain by Paul Tyers (Internet Archaeology 1)

GAU4 Gauloise 4 amphorae (NRFRC = Gaulish Amphorae 1 GALAM1 Peacock and Williams 1986 Class 27).
Link to section on Gauloise 4 amphorae in Roman Amphoras in Britain by Paul Tyers (Internet Archaeology 1)

GAU12 Gauloise 12 amphorae (NRFRC = NOM AM Peacock and Williams 1986 Class 55). Illustrated: Nos.326-7.
Link to section on Gauloise 12 amphorae in Roman Amphoras in Britain by Paul Tyers (Internet Archaeology 1)

PRO - Post-Roman pottery

SAMCG, SAMMV, SAMEG, SAMSG - see Samian Report

TILE - see CBM report


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