SGRP home page

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


Overwey White ware (OVW WH)

Three samples

The fabric is frequently known as Portchester D ware (Fulford 1975).

General appearance

The colour of the break is typically cream (10YR 8/2) or cream-yellow (7.5YR 8/6), sometimes with a blue-grey (7/0) or light orange (2.5YR 6/8) core. Surfaces are usually cream or buff (10YR 7/2). The fabric is hard with a hackly fracture and harsh feel and the surfaces appear wet slipped by hand. A restricted range of forms is typical, including hook-rim jars, frequently rilled, flanged bowls and dishes.

Hand specimen

An exceptionally dense, clean clay matrix contains abundant well-sorted, rounded and subrounded quartz, frequently iron-rimmed to pink and mostly 0.3–0.8mm, although ranging to 1.6mm. Red and black iron-rich grains are sparse. On other samples, not included here, sparse silver mica is visible on the surface. The fabric is distinguished from Verulamium Region White ware not only by vessel form, but in fabric by being slightly denser, containing larger quartz inclusions – more frequently pink in colour, and in some cases being micaceous.

Thin section

This is well-sorted fabric with clean clay matrix. It contains abundant rounded and subrounded quartz, sometimes polycrystalline, and normally measuring 0.15–0.5mm with occasional grains to c 1.0mm. Common opaques and rare clay pellets normally fall within the average size range for quartz. The clay also contains sparse muscovite and biotite mica, together with rare sandstone and quartzite.


Kilns producing this ware are known within the Alice Holt industry at Overwey (Clark 1949; Lyne & Jefferies 1979), but other important sources can be found at Fareham and in East Sussex (Lyne 1994). The different source areas are likely to account for the presence of mica in some samples.


Guildford Museum


Fort Blochurst, Fareham; Guildford Museum


Clark, A J, 1949 The fourth century Romano-British pottery kilns at Overwey, Tilford, Surrey Archaeol Coll 51, 29–56

Fulford, M G, 1975a The pottery, in Excavations at Portchester Castle 1: Roman (B Cunliffe), Rep Res Comm Soc Antiq London 32, 270–367

Lyne, M A B, 1994 Late Roman handmade wares in south-east Britain, Unpublished PhD, University of Reading

Lyne, M A B, & Jefferies, R S, 1979 The Alice Holt/Farnham Roman pottery industry, CBA Res Rep 30

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

Plate 119: Fresh sherd break of OVW WH (width of field 24 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 119: Fresh sherd break of OVW WH (width of field 24 mm)

Plate 119.1: Photomicrograph of OVW WH (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 119.1: Photomicrograph of OVW WH (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm)

<< New Forest Fabrics  ::  next county: Hereford and Worcester & Severn Basin >>