Potsherd: Atlas of Roman Pottery

Terra rubra

Plates, cups and beakers in fine red-slipped wares produced in northern Gaul and distributed across north-east Gaul and south-east Britain during the late 1st century BC and 1st century AD.

Fabric and technology

The TR fabric classification (after Hawkes and Hull 1947) is based on fabric colour and texture, and the extent and colour of the slip.

Off-white or pink (2.5YR to 10R 8/8) fabric with slightly sandy texture, with occasional rounded red-grog inclusions; polished coral red slip (10R 7/10-5/12) on upper surfaces of cups and platters and outer surface of pedestal cups.

Pink or buff (10YR 7/4 to 10R 8/8) fabric, slight sandy texture, completely covered with orange or pink (2.5YR 7/12 to 10R 7/10) slip.

Orange (10YR 6/10) sandy textured fabric, with polished dark red (10R 7/10-5/12) slip on upper surfaces.

Similar to TR1(C), with self-coloured, polished surfaces.

A variable group of cream to dark red fine-textured fabrics with smooth fracture. Highly polished self-coloured surfaces. Some have dark grey, dark chocolate brown or a lighter smoky grey haze.


Plates, cups and beakers.


Production commences by c. 20-10 BC. The proportion of terra rubra in the Gallo-Belgic assemblage drops through the Augustan-Tiberian period, being replaced by terra nigra, and the ware has disappeared by the early Flavian period. The different varieties may be dated thus:

15 BC-AD 25

15 BC-AD 15

AD 1-60

AD 1-65


The principal source is the Vesle valley, near Rheims.


North-east Gaul, between the Seine, Moselle and Rhine. In Britain, south and east of the Severn-Humber line, with concentrations in central southern England, and Herts/Essex region.


JRPS bibliography fabric trb. Kent fine fabric 7b. Silchester fabrics E7, E8, E9, E10, E11, E12 and E44.


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).

Distribution of Terra rubra in Britain
Roman Pottery in Britain (Tyers 1996)
  • Fabric code: TR (p.165)
Thumbnail images (click for higher resolution):
National Roman Fabric Reference Collection
(Dore & Tomber 1998, Museum of London Archaeology Service Monograph 2)
  • Fabric code: GAB TR 1A (Gallia-Belgica Terra Rubra 1A, p.17).
  • Fabric code: GAB TR 1B (Gallia-Belgica Terra Rubra 1B, p.18).
  • Fabric code: GAB TR 1C (Gallia-Belgica Terra Rubra 1C, p.19).
  • Fabric code: GAB TR 2 (Gallia-Belgica Terra Rubra 2, p.20).
  • Fabric code: GAB TR 3 (Gallia-Belgica Terra Rubra 3, p.21).
Thumbnail images
URL: http://potsherd.net/atlas/Ware/TR • © Text 1996, 2014: Layout 2012, 2014. Some images may be linked to other web sites.