Potsherd: Atlas of Roman Pottery

Mancetter-Hartshill mortaria

Mortaria manufactured at Mancetter and Hartshill (Warks/GB) from the 2nd to 4th centuries AD; extensive distribution in midlands and northern England.

Fabric and technology

Fine-textured fabric, often very hard; creamy-white, perhaps with pink or grey core, occasionally with a pale-brown wash; inclusions of fine quartz and occasional red-brown and white particles; gritted with either quartz and red-brown sandstone (on earlier specimens), or abundant red-brown or black angular grits (including ironstone or slag). Wheel-thrown.


Mortaria, the earliest resemble contemporary products of the Verulamium-region industry with a hooked flange, later a smaller flanged and higher bead. From c. AD 160 a new hammerhead style developed. Some painted with simple geometric patterns during 3rd cent. Gillam 242, 253, 254, 257, 259, 261.


The chronological distribution of the principal named potters is shown on .

Potter Date
BONOXUS 120-160
BRUSCIUS 140-170
CANDIDUS ii 100-140
CEVANOS 100-130
DOBALLUS 140-180 <-> NVMO?
DOCCAS 100-125 <- VRMO
ERUCANUS 100-130
GRATINUS 130-165
ICOTAGUS 130-160
IUNIUS ii 150-185
LOCCIUS PRO.. 130-165
MAURIUS 150-185
MOCO|MOCUS 100-135
MOSSIUS 145-185
NANIECO 135-165 -> WPMO
NIDUS 120-140 <- VRMO
SARRIUS 135-170 -> RBMO
SENNIUS 160-185
SEPTUMINUS 100-130 <- Little Chester
SIMILIS 135-170 -> NVMO
SURUS 100-130
VICTOR 100-130 <-> Little Chester?
VITALIS iv 115-145


From c. AD 100; some potters migrated from the Verulamium region industry (G. Attius Marinus, Doccas, Nidus) at this time. In some cases the same die occurs on both VRMO and MHMO products. From the mid-2nd cent. some MHMO potters moved north to workshops in Yorkshire (e.g. Sarrius). Stamping ceased at end of 2nd cent. but production continues into 4th cent.


Around Mancetter and Hartshill, on the Warwickshire/Leicestershire border, where many kilns have been recorded and excavated. Painted wares, grey wares and other cooking wares produced alongside mortaria.


Extensive in the Midlands and north between mid-2nd and early-4th cent (Bidwell 1985, 183). The distribution of stamps of the principal 2nd cent. AD potters is shown on .


Caersws mortarium fabric 5. Carlisle fabric 624. Chesterfield fabric m18. Colchester fabric TM. Doncaster mortarium fabric 11. Exeter mortarium fabric FB4. Gloucester fabric TF9D. Great Chesterford mortarium fabric 18. JRPS bibliography fabric mhm. Leicester fabric MO4. Lullingstone fabric 43. Milton Keynes fabric 4c. Old Penrith fabric 109. Kent mortarium fabric 6. Rough Castle mortarium fabric 1. Sidbury fabric 32. Towcester mortarium fabric 12. Usk mortarium fabric 17.


For the kilns: RCHM gazetteer 98-101, F636-53; Hartley 1973; there is no complete published catalogue of stamps, but most of the principal potters are reported in MacIvor et al. 1981; Buckland and Magilton 1986; Robertson 1975.


Bidwell 1985. Bidwell, P. T., The Roman Fort of Vindolanda at Chesterholm, Northumberland, Archaeological Report, 1, Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England, London, (1985).

Buckland and Magilton 1986. Buckland, P. C. and Magilton, J. R., The archaeology of Doncaster, 1. The Roman civil settlement, British archaeological reports. British series, 148, Oxford, (1986).

Hartley 1973. Hartley, K. F., ‘The kilns at Mancetter and Hartshill, Warwickshire’ in Current research in Romano-British coarse pottery: papers given at a C.B.A. Conference held at New College, Oxford, March 24 to 26, 1972, ed. A. Detsicas, Research reports/Council for British Archaeology, 10, Council for British Archaeology, London, (1973), pp. 143-7.

MacIvor et al. 1981. MacIvor, I., Thomas, M. C. and Breeze, D. J., ‘Excavations on the Antonine Wall fort of Rough Castle, Stirlingshire, 1957-61’, PSAS, 110, (1981), pp. 230-85.

Robertson 1975. Robertson, A. S., Birrens (Blatobulgium), Dumfriesshire and Galloway Natural History and Antiquarian Society, Edinburgh, (1975).

Distribution of Mancetter-Hartshill mortaria in Britain
Roman Pottery in Britain (Tyers 1996)
  • Fabric code: MHMO (p.123)
Thumbnail images (click for higher resolution):
National Roman Fabric Reference Collection
(Dore & Tomber 1998, Museum of London Archaeology Service Monograph 2)
  • Fabric code: MAH WH (Mancetter-Hartshill White ware, p.189).
Thumbnail images
Worcestershire ceramics online database
(Worcestershire Historic Environment and Archaeology Service)
  • Fabric no. 32 (Mancetter-Hartshill mortarium)
Thumbnail images (click for higher resolution):
Ceramics in Herefordshire
(Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club, Herefordshire) Pages include some images.
The pottery kilns of Roman Britain (Swan 1984)
Kilns producing this ware are located at:
  • Hartshill (Warks)
  • Mancetter (Warks)
  • Nuneaton (Warks)
Further details of these sites are available through the link above, and are summarized and mapped here.
Mancetter-Hartshill mortaria
URL: http://potsherd.net/atlas/Ware/MHMO • © Text 1996, 2014: Layout 2012, 2014. Some images may be linked to other web sites.