Potsherd: Atlas of Roman Pottery

Central Gaulish black-slipped ware

A fine black-slipped ware, commonly beakers and cups with rouletted or barbotine decoration, produced in Central Gaul and widely distributed across Gaul and Britain during the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD.

Fabric and technology

Fine-textured fabric; generally pink (2.5YR 6/6) or light red (2.5YR 4/6) with glossy black or dark reddish-brown (10YR 3/1) slip; characteristic micaceous matrix, with fine quartz, limestone and sparse red iron ore inclusions. Decoration includes fine horizontal rouletted lines, barbotine ‘ivy scrolls’ and animals, and occasional appliqué motifs. Wheel-thrown.


Beakers and cups. Some overlap with sigillata forms and techniques.

Description Gillam
1 Two-handled cup
2 Hemispherical cup (Drag. 40) 210
3 Shouldered beaker with plain base
4-5 Plain beaker with pedestal base 48
6 Plain beaker with plain base
7 Folded beaker

Table 1.  Principal Central Gaulish black-slipped forms


Develops from earlier Central Gaulish colour-coated ware traditions by c. AD 150, until early 3rd cent.


The Central Gaulish sigillata workshops, including Lezoux.


In Gaul, generally distributed east of the Saône (little overlap with Moselkeramik) and noted in Paris basin and along the Loire. In Britain, seems to be present throughout, but inadequate identifications make detailed mapping difficult.


Conflated with Moselkeramik in JRPS bibliography as rhn.


Caister-on-sea fabric CGBL-30. Carlisle fabric 323. Chelmsford fabric 8. Colchester fabric CLNE. Gestingthorpe fabric C2. Gloucester fabrics TF12I and TF12J. Lullingstone fabric 6. Milton Keynes fabric 23c. Old Penrith fabric 14. Kent fine fabric 3e. Towcester fabric 14a.


For description of fabric and differentiation from Moselkeramik: Brewster 1972; Greene 1978a; Greene 1978b; Richardson 1986, 115-18. Lezoux examples illustrated and described in Bet et al. 1987. Symonds 1992, groups 6-15. There is some overlap between CGBL, the earlier colour-coated fabrics of Central Gaul (CGCC) and Central Gaulish ‘black samian’.


Bet et al. 1987. Bet, P., Gangloff, R. and Vertet, H., Les productions céramiques antiques de Lezoux et de la Gaule centrale à travers les collections du Musée archéologique de Lezoux (63), Revue archéologique SITES. Hors-série, 32, (1987).

Brewster 1972. Brewster, N. H., ‘Corbridge: It’s significance for the study of Rhenish ware’, ArchAeliana4, 50, (1972), pp. 205-16.

Greene 1978a. Greene, K. T., ‘Roman trade between Britain and the Rhine provinces: the evidence of pottery to c. AD 250’ in Roman shipping and trade: Britain and the Rhine provinces, ed. J. du Plat Taylor and H. Cleere, Research reports/Council for British Archaeology, 24, Council for British Archaeology, London, (1978), pp. 52-8.

Greene 1978b. Greene, K. T., ‘Imported fine wares in Britain to AD 250: A guide to identification’ in Early fine wares in Roman Britain, ed. G. D. Marsh and P. R. Arthur, British archaeological reports. British series, 57, BAR, Oxford, (1978), pp. 15-30.

Richardson 1986. Richardson, B., ‘The Pottery’ in The Roman quay at St. Magnus House London: excavations at New Fresh Wharf, Lower Thames Street, London, 1974-16, ed. Miller, LAMAS Special Paper, 8, LAMAS, London, (1986), pp. No 1.164-68.

Symonds 1992. Symonds, R. P., Rhenish wares. Fine dark coloured pottery from Gaul and Germany, Oxford University Committee for Archaeology. Monograph, 23, Oxford, (1992).

Distribution of Central Gaulish black-slipped ware in Britain
Roman Pottery in Britain (Tyers 1996)
  • Fabric code: CGBL (p.137)
Thumbnail images (click for higher resolution):
National Roman Fabric Reference Collection
(Dore & Tomber 1998, Museum of London Archaeology Service Monograph 2)
  • Fabric code: CNG BS (Central Gaulish Black-slipped ware, p.50).
Thumbnail images
La céramique romaine en Gaule du Nord
(Brulet, Vilvorder and Delage 2010)
Images and text not available on-line. See also the listings of International Fabrics Reference Collection for Roman Ceramics at Louvain (text in French).
Central Gaulish black-slipped ware
URL: http://potsherd.net/atlas/Ware/CGBL • © Text 1996, 2014: Layout 2012, 2014. Some images may be linked to other web sites.