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The National Roman Fabric Reference Collection: a Handbook

Hand specimen picture panel
Thin section picture panel


Appendix 1: Keywords and Definitions
Appendix 2: Physical Layout of Sherds Housed in the NRFRC


Peacock & Williams Class 16 amphorae (P&W AM 16)

Single sample

This type refers to one of several fabrics used for the Dressel 7–11 amphora.

General appearance

Our sample is pale brown (10YR 7/4) with an intermittent pale orange (2.5YR 7/6–7/8) core. Buff (10YR 8/3) surfaces are abraded, resulting in a powdery, soft fabric, although elsewhere, too, the fabric in general is described as soft (Peacock & Williams 1986, 119). The fracture is irregular.

Hand specimen

This is a fine fabric with well-sorted inclusions set in a matrix of sparse fine (silver, rare gold) mica and common silt-sized quartz. Larger quartz grains (some iron coated) are also common and measure c 0.2–0.4mm. Other inclusions comprise sparse red-brown or, less frequently, black iron-rich fragments (to 0.5mm although normally <0.1) and red clay pellets to c 3.0mm.

Thin section

A very fine matrix with abundant mica (muscovite and biotite) and silt-sized quartz occurs. Larger (frequently to c 0.3mm) ill-sorted angular to rounded inclusions are sparse to common, consisiting primarily of monocrystalline and some polycrystalline quartz and feldspar, but also fine-grained sandstone, chert (frequently iron-stained) and quartz-feldspar aggregate. Some quartz-rich clay pellets to 0.6mm, and opaques of a similar size or smaller to silt grade, are also present.


The type was made in southern Spain, where kilns have been reported (Peacock & Williams 1986, 118). The fabric itself is undistinctive and does not enable the source to be more precisely located within the region.


Department of Prehistoric & Romano-British Antiquities, The British Museum


Colchester Museums


Beltrán Lloris, M, 1970 Las ánforas romanas en España, Zaragoza

Beltrán Lloris, M, 1977 Problemas de la morfologia y del concepto histórico-geográfico que recubre la noción tipo, in Méthodes classiques et méthodes formelles dans l’étude des amphores, Collection de l’Ecole Française de Rome 32, 97–132, Rome

Peacock, D P S, 1971 Roman amphorae in pre-Roman Britain, in The Iron Age and its hill-forts. Papers presented to Sir Mortimer Wheeler on the occasion of his eightieth year (eds M Jesson & D Hill), 161–88

Peacock, D P S, 1974 Amphorae and the Baetican fish industry, Antiq J 54, 232–43

Peacock, D P S, 1981 The amphorae, in Skeleton Green. A late Iron Age and Romano-British site (C Partridge), Britannia Monogr Ser 2, 199–204

Ponsich, M, 1988 Aceite de oliva y salazones de pescado, Madrid

Sealey, P R, 1985 Amphoras from the 1970 excavations at Colchester Sheepen, BAR 142

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

Plate 82: Fresh sherd break of P&W AM 16 (width of field 24 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 82: Fresh sherd break of P&W AM 16 (width of field 24 mm)

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