Potsherd: Atlas of Roman Pottery

Savernake-type grey wares

Jars, bowls and dishes in a coarse grey ware produced at several sites in Wiltshire (GB) during the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD.

Fabric and technology

A range of hard, fine-textured fabrics, often with lumpy finish; pale grey, off-white or buff core and surfaces; very little visible sand, but abundant dark blue-grey, or pale grey, grog (up to 4mm) and red-brown iron ores, and occasional brown or white flint. Wheel-thrown. Surfaces often burnished or smoothed.


Principally necked jars, with characteristic grooves and cordons on shoulder and body, bead-rim jars, storage jars; other minor forms including beakers, bowls and plates. Black-burnished derived jars and bowls from mid-2nd cent.


Commences in Claudian period, and continues into early/mid-2nd cent. AD. Kilns at Lydiard Tregose may be continuation of same tradition (into 3rd/4th cent. ?)


Several sources across north Wiltshire, including Savernake Forest (near Mildenhall), Pewsey and Oare.


Wiltshire, extending into bordering counties. Large storage jars and bead-rim jars seem to have widest spread. Hodder suggests distribution through market/service area attached to Mildenhall (Hodder 1974, 75-8).


Cirencester fabric 6. Gloucester fabric TF6. JRPS bibliography fabric svr.


Distribution in Hodder 1974; origins in Swan 1975; Greene 1974, 65-6. For kilns: RCHM gazetteer F659-71


Greene 1974. Greene, K. T., ‘A group of Roman pottery from Wanborough, Wiltshire’, WiltsAM, 69, (1974), pp. 51-66.

Hodder 1974. Hodder, I., ‘The distribution of Savernake Ware’, WiltsAM, 69, (1974), pp. 67-84.

Swan 1975. Swan, V. G., ‘Oare Reconsidered and the Origins of Savernake Ware in Wiltshire’, Britannia, 6, (1975), pp. 36-61.

Distribution of Savernake-type grey wares in Britain
Roman Pottery in Britain (Tyers 1996)
  • Fabric code: SAVG (p.195)
Thumbnail images (click for higher resolution):
National Roman Fabric Reference Collection
(Dore & Tomber 1998, Museum of London Archaeology Service Monograph 2)
  • Fabric code: SAV GT (Savernake Grog-tempered ware, p.191).
Thumbnail images
The pottery kilns of Roman Britain (Swan 1984)
Kilns producing this ware are located at:
  • Great Bedwyn (Wilts)
  • Lydiard Tregose (Wilts)
  • Milton Lilbourne (Wilts)
  • Pewsey (Wilts)
  • Savernake (Wilts)
  • Wilcot (Wilts)
Further details of these sites are available through the link above, and are summarized and mapped here.
Savernake-type grey wares
URL: http://potsherd.net/atlas/Ware/SAVG • © Text 1996, 2014: Layout 2012, 2014. Some images may be linked to other web sites.