Potsherd: Atlas of Roman Pottery

Argonne ware

Red-slipped wares, most characteristically bowls with roller-stamped decoration, produced in the Argonne region (Ardennes/FR) and widely distributed across north-east Gaul and Britain. 3rd and 4th centuries AD.

Fabric and technology

A fine, hard orange fabric (2.5YR 4/8) with a similarly coloured slip, with a ‘soapy’ finish. Plain forms occur, but the most distinctive feature is the decoration of horizontal bands of impressed geometric patterns executed with roller stamp. The typology of the roller stamps developed by Chenet (1941) covers the common types and is the basis of most later discussions.

Forms

Principally bowls, especially Chenet form 320.

Chronology

From late 3rd cent. with production continuing until at least AD 450. Many British pieces are dated to the mid- and late 4th cent. but importation may have started in the later 3rd cent.

Source

The Argonne region of northern France, east of Rheims.

Distribution

Widespread, but sparse, in southern Britain, where is is concentrated around the estuaries of the Thames and Solent. There are also occasional sherds in the north and west. In Gaul the ware is widespread in Gallia Belgica and Upper and Lower Germany, extending south along the Rhine as far as Basel. To the west of Argonne it is widespread north of the Loire, in the Paris Basin, Brittany and Normandy. On some sites in this region it is associated with Romano-British pottery imports.

Aliases

Caister-on-sea fabric ARG. Gloucester fabric TF12N. JRPS bibliography fabric ats. Kent fine fabric 2.

Bibliography

The principal studies of roller-stamped Argonne ware are Unverzagt 1919; Chenet 1941 and Hübener 1968. On the chronology of the decorative styles: Bayard 1990; Feller 1991. The distribution and dating in northern France is described by Blaszkiewicz and Jigan (1991). For British distribution: Fulford 1977, 39-43, Appendix 1.

References

Bayard 1990. Bayard, D., ‘L’ensemble du Grand amphithéâtre de Metz et la sigillée d’Argonne au Veme s’, Gallia, 47, (1990), pp. 271-319.

Blaszkiewicz and Jigan 1991. Blaszkiewicz, P. and Jigan, C., ‘Le problème de la diffusion et de la datation de la céramique sigillée d’Argonne décorée à la molette des IVème-Vème siècles dane le nord-ouest de l’Empire’ in Actes du Congrès de Cognac. 8-11 Mai 1991. Société Française d’tude de la Céramique Antique en Gaule, ed. L. Rivet, SFECAG, Marseille, (1991), pp. 385-415.

Chenet 1941. Chenet, G., La céramique gallo-romaine d’Argonne du IVe siècle et la terre sigillée décorée à la molette, Mâcon, (1941).

Feller 1991. Feller, M., ‘Classification et datation des molettes d’Argonne: problèmes et méthodes’ in Actes du Congrès de Cognac. 8-11 Mai 1991. Société Française d’tude de la Céramique Antique en Gaule, ed. L. Rivet, SFECAG, (1991), pp. 161-9.

Fulford 1977. Fulford, M. G., ‘Pottery and Britain’s foreign trade in the later Roman period’ in Pottery and early commerce. Characterization and trade in Roman and later ceramics, ed. D. P. S. Peacock, Academic Press, London, (1977), pp. 35-84.

Hübener 1968. Hübener, W., ‘Eine Studie zur spätrömischen Rädchensigillata (Argonnensigillata)’, BonnerJb, 168, (1968), pp. 241-98.

Unverzagt 1919. Unverzagt, W., Terra sigillata mit Rädchenverzierung, Materialien zur römisch-germanischen Keramik, 2, (1919).

Distribution of Argonne ware in Britain
Roman Pottery in Britain (Tyers 1996)
  • Fabric code: ARGO (p.136)
Thumbnail images (click for higher resolution):
National Roman Fabric Reference Collection
(Dore & Tomber 1998, Museum of London Archaeology Service Monograph 2)
  • Fabric code: ARG RS (Argonne Red-slipped ware, p.48).
Thumbnail images
La céramique romaine en Gaule du Nord
(Brulet, Vilvorder and Delage 2010)
  • 11. LA SIGILLÉE DU BAS-EMPIRE D'ARGONNE (p.216)
  • LA SIGILLÉE DU BAS-EMPIRE D'AVOCOURT 3 (TS.BE-AV3) (p.227)
  • LA SIGILLÉE DU BAS-EMPIRE DES ALLIEUX (TS.BE-LA) (p.233)
  • LA SIGILLÉE DU BAS-EMPIRE DU PONT-DES-QUATRE-ENFANTS (TS.BE-PQE) (p.246)
  • LA SIGILLÉE DU BAS-EMPIRE DE CHÂTEL-CHÉHÉRY (TS.BE-CHC) (p.249)
Images and text not available on-line. See also the listings of International Fabrics Reference Collection for Roman Ceramics at Louvain (text in French).
Argonne ware
URL: http://potsherd.net/atlas/Ware/ARGO • © Text 1996, 2014: Layout 2012, 2014. Some images may be linked to other web sites.