Potsherd: Atlas of Roman Pottery

Pompeian-Red ware fabric 1

Platters (and accompanying lids) in a coarse red-brown fabric tempered with black sand, with a red-slip on the inner surface, produced in Campania (IT) and widely distributed around the Mediterranean and across the north-west provinces during the 1st century AD.

Fabric and technology

Hard reddish-brown fabric (2.5YR 4/6) with inclusions of abundant medium ‘black sand’ (green augite), occasional white particles and flakes of biotite mica. Distinctive dark red slip (10YR 4/6-4/8) thickly covers rim and interior of plates. Outer surfaces can be unevenly and coarsely finished. Wheel-thrown.


Plates with plain rim and flat base. Inside may be decorated with groups of fine concentric rings. The lids are unslipped, but may have single concentric groove or light bead (almost a ‘footring’) on upper surface.


There are stamps or pre-firing cursive signatures on underside of some plates (Wynia 1979; Grünewald et al. 1980). The name Marius appears frequently on both stamps and signatures, in some cases with another name. These are perhaps products of organized workshops and master-slave pairings as attested in the sigillata industry. For total distribution of the stamps and signatures see Wynia1979, 429, Abb.3 – the majority seem to be on vessels in Peacock’s fabric 1. In Britain, signatures are recorded from Colchester (Hawkes and Hull 1947, 221) and London.


Present at Haltern, Oberaden and Neuss in Augustan levels, and common on sites of same date in Rhône valley (e.g. Lyon, Valence and Orange). Production in Italy may extend back back into the 2nd cent. BC (Peña 1990, 655). In Britain PRW1 was imported from c. AD 40-80, when production may have ceased.


Peacock suggests that PRW1 – and other ‘black sand’ fabrics – originates in area of Bay of Naples (1977, 153; but see Peña 1990, 655, fn. 22 for a contrary view).


Very extensive (but patchy) distribution, encompassing Britain, Rhineland, southern Gaul, Italy, Austria, and eastern provinces (Peacock 1977, 152, fig.2).


Cirencester fabric 153. Colchester fabric CSOA. Gloucester fabric TF16A. Silchester fabric E21.


Peacock 1977, 149-53; Blakely et al. 1989; Peña 1990, fabric 2.


Blakely et al. 1989. Blakely, J. A., Brinkmann, R. and Vitaliano, C. J., ‘Pompeian red ware: processing archaeological ceramic data’, Geoarchaeology, 4, (1989), pp. 201-28.

Grünewald et al. 1980. Grünewald, M., Pernicka, E. and Wynia, S. L., ‘Pompejanisch-rote Platten - Patinae’, ArchKorr, 10, (1980), pp. 259-60.

Hawkes and Hull 1947. Hawkes, C. F. C. and Hull, M. R., Camulodunum. First report on the excavations at Colchester, 1930-39, Reports of the Research Committee of the Society of Antiquaries of London, 14, Society of Antiquaries, Oxford, (1947).

Peacock 1977. Peacock, D. P. S., ‘Pompeian red ware’ in Pottery and early commerce. Characterization and trade in Roman and later ceramics, ed. D. P. S. Peacock, Academic Press, London, (1977), pp. 147-62.

Peña 1990. Peña, J. T., ‘Internal red-slip cookware (Pompeian Red Ware) from Cetamura del Chianti, Italy: Mineralogical composition and provenience’, American Journal of Archaeology, 94, (1990), pp. 647-61.

Wynia 1979. Wynia, S. L., ‘Töpfersignaturen auf Pompejanisch-roten Platten: quantité négligeable?’, BerOudhBod, 29, (1979), pp. 425-32.

Distribution of Pompeian-Red ware fabric 1 in Britain
Roman Pottery in Britain (Tyers 1996)
  • Fabric code: PRW1 (p.157)
Thumbnail images (click for higher resolution):
National Roman Fabric Reference Collection
(Dore & Tomber 1998, Museum of London Archaeology Service Monograph 2)
  • Fabric code: CAM PR 1 (Campanian Pompeian Red ware 1, p.43).
Thumbnail images
DICOCER: Dictionnaire des Céramiques Antiques
(Py, ed 1993)
  • Fabric code: R-POMP [PDF] (Céramique à vernis rouge pompéien)
Pages may include descriptions of related types (text in French).
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).
Pompeian-Red ware fabric 1
URL: http://potsherd.net/atlas/Ware/PRW1 • © Text 1996, 2014: Layout 2012, 2014. Some images may be linked to other web sites.