Potsherd: Atlas of Roman Pottery

Rhône valley mortaria

Mortaria manufactured in central France, probably in middle Rhône valley during 1st century AD; distributed in southern Britain.

Fabric and technology

Hard, fine-textured fabric with smooth or conchoidal texture; generally cream (10YR 9/4) or pink-orange (7.5YR 8/4) ; abundant ill-sorted quartz and composite granitic rock fragments (up to 3mm) in a micaceous matrix; trituration grits of coarse quartz sand. Large flakes of gold or red-brown mica visible in surfaces. Wheel-thrown. In poor soil conditions the surface may become soft and powdery, leaving the coarser inclusions protruding.


Mortaria, with bead and hooked flange. The inner surface is scored horizontally by the trituration grits.


From c. AD 50 to early 2nd cent.


Probably from the Rhône valley, in the Lyon-Vienne region. The petrology of some British specimens can be matched by examples from St Romain-en-Gal (nr. Vienne), the location of many pottery workshops.


Only sparse records from Britain, due to conflation with North Gaulish mortaria (NGMO) group I in older reports. In London, moderate numbers in pre-Flavian contexts. Distribution in Gaul uncertain, but there is one specimen from Orléans, on the Loire, and a few from Valence (south of Vienne).


Dorchester fabrics 42S and 42X. Exeter mortarium fabrics FC6-FC11. Gloucester fabric TF9AA. Sheepen mortarium fabrics 14-16. Usk mortarium fabrics 13 and 14.


Tyers (forthcoming) .


Tyers (forthcoming). Tyers, P. A., ‘Rhône valley mortaria’, forthcoming.

Distribution of Rhône valley mortaria in Britain
Roman Pottery in Britain (Tyers 1996)
  • Fabric code: RVMO (p.130)
Thumbnail images (click for higher resolution):
National Roman Fabric Reference Collection
(Dore & Tomber 1998, Museum of London Archaeology Service Monograph 2)
  • Fabric code: CNG OX (Central Gaulish (Rhône Valley) Oxidised ware, p.68).
Thumbnail images
Worcestershire ceramics online database
(Worcestershire Historic Environment and Archaeology Service)
  • Fabric no. 152 (Central Gaulish oxidised ware mortarium)
Thumbnail images (click for higher resolution):
La céramique romaine en Gaule du Nord
(Brulet, Vilvorder and Delage 2010)
  • Mortiers de Lyon (MO-LY) (p.374)
Images and text not available on-line. See also the listings of International Fabrics Reference Collection for Roman Ceramics at Louvain (text in French).
Rhône valley mortaria
URL: http://potsherd.net/atlas/Ware/RVMO • © Text 1996, 2014: Layout 2012, 2014. Some images may be linked to other web sites.