Potsherd: Atlas of Roman Pottery


Jars, bowls and jugs in hard granular grey wares, probably produced in western or central France and distributed across Western Britain (including Wales, Ireland and Scotland) during the 6th and 7th centuries AD.

Fabric and technology

A hard, high-fired granular ware with prominent quartz sand inclusions; varying in colour from dirty white through yellow to dark-red or grey. Wheel-thrown, with prominent wheel-marks on the inner surface and a whorl on the underside of the base, caused by the use of a string or wire to detach the vessels from the wheel.


A very limited range of forms:

Form Description
E1 Necked jars
E2 Small carinated jar or beaker
E3 Carinated bowl with flaring rim
E4 Strap handled jug with pinched or tubular spout
E5 Conical lid

Table 1.  Classification of E ware forms (after Thomas)


Associated with 6th cent. AD Eastern Mediterranean imports on some sites – perhaps commencing as early as c. AD 500 – but importation evidently continues much later than the Mediterranean material, into the 7th cent. AD.


No kilns are known, but the evidence points towards a source in western France, probably somewhere accessible from the Loire or Gironde.


South-west England, Wales, western Scotland and Ireland; a few specimens from the Channel Island and Britanny. There are reports of possible prototypes for E ware of late Roman date from the Bordeaux region.



For typology and description: Thomas 1959; the petrology is described in Peacock and Thomas 1967; Campbell 1984; for distribution: Thomas 1981. Thomas 1990 discusses the relationship of E ware to the historically attested trading contacts between western Britain, Ireland and Atlantic France.


Campbell 1984. Campbell, E., ‘E ware and Aquitaine: a reappraisal of the petrological evidence’, ScottArchRev, 3, 1, (1984), pp. 38-41.

Peacock and Thomas 1967. Peacock, D. P. S. and Thomas, C., ‘Class E imported post-Roman pottery; a suggested origin’, CornishArch, 6, (1967), pp. 35-46.

Thomas 1959. Thomas, C., ‘Imported pottery in Dark-Age Western Britain’, MedArch, 3, (1959), pp. 89-111.

Thomas 1981. Thomas, C., A provisional list of imported pottery in Post-Roman Britain and Ireland, Special report, 7, Institute of Cornish Studies, Redruth, (1981).

Thomas 1990. Thomas, C., ‘Gallici Nautae de Galliarum Provinciis’, MedArch, 34, (1990), pp. 1-26.

Distribution of E-ware in Britain
Roman Pottery in Britain (Tyers 1996)
  • Fabric code: EWARE (p.145)
URL: http://potsherd.net/atlas/Ware/EWARE • © Text 1996, 2014: Layout 2012, 2014. Some images may be linked to other web sites.