Potsherd: Atlas of Roman Pottery

Eggshell terra nigra

Beakers in very thin fine black-slipped wares produced in northern Gaul and distributed across north-east Gaul and south-east Britain during the 1st century AD.

Fabric and technology

Hard, fine, very thin (1-2mm) fabric, typically a sandwich of grey (7.5YR 4/0) core, brown margins (5YR 7/2) and glossy black (2.5YR 4/0) surfaces; slightly micaceous. Wheel-thrown, with very finely trimmed footrings and smoothed finish.


Two forms most common in Britain:

carinated beaker, equivalent to Cam.~120.

necked beaker.

Other types of beaker, bowl and flask occur more rarely (Greene 1979, 120). Some vessels stamped on the underside of the base or on the lower body with a name stamp; occasionally with an intaglio impression (Bushe-Fox 1949, 240-1).


Late-Neronian and Flavian.


Evidence for production in north-east France, but others may be from Rhineland. Similar forms also made in thicker grey fabrics.


North-east Gaul and Lower Germany. Widespread, but sparse, in southern Britain and the Midlands; particularly common in London and Southwark.


Gloucester fabric TF219.


Holwerda 1941; Greene 1979, terra nigra group 5; Brown and Vince 1984, 77-9.


Brown and Vince 1984. Brown, D. H. and Vince, A. G., ‘Petrological Aspects; the Medieval Pottery of Exeter under the Microscope’ in Medieval and Post medieval Finds from Exeter 1971-1981, ed. J. P. Allan, Exeter Archaeology Reports, 3, (1984), pp. 32-34.

Bushe-Fox 1949. Bushe-Fox, J. P., Fourth Report on the Excavation of the Roman Fort at Richborough, Kent, Reports of the Research Committee of the Society of Antiquaries of London, 16, Oxford, (1949).

Greene 1979. Greene, K. T., The pre-Flavian fine wares, Report on the excavations at Usk, 1965-1976, 1, University of Wales Press [for] the Board of Celtic Studies of the University of Wales,, Cardiff:, (1979).

Holwerda 1941. Holwerda, J. H., De Belgische Waar in Nijmegen, Museum G. M. Kam, Nijmegen, (1941).

Distribution of Eggshell terra nigra in Britain
Roman Pottery in Britain (Tyers 1996)
  • Fabric code: TNEG (p.166)
National Roman Fabric Reference Collection
(Dore & Tomber 1998, Museum of London Archaeology Service Monograph 2)
  • Fabric code: GAB TN 2 (Gallia-Belgica (Eggshell) Terra Nigra 2, p.16).
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URL: http://potsherd.net/atlas/Ware/TNEG • © Text 1996, 2014: Layout 2012, 2014. Some images may be linked to other web sites.