Online References surface finds 1. Sherds

Online references 1 . Sherds

This page is under construction

This page is the first in a series of threereference pages  about surface finds. 
In the field, we find a large variety of materials, ranging from fragments of glass, bone, pottery, flint, wood, burned wood, burned flint etc.
This page is the first part, about (pottery) sherds. Also other fragments of more large ceramics are stored here, like fragments of tiles, etc. 
Macroscopic views will complete several pictures while additional information will be given about bibliography or other references ( like from excavations, museums, etc.)
The information at this page and the other reference pages is never complete and does not have this intention. It will give an example of the rich variety in surface finds, where main groups will be discussed, for recognition in the field. 
If possible practical information about finds will be given like determination characteristics, but this page cannot be considered a specialist's item, so its content is limited to general information. 
The pages include: 

Online References surface finds  1. Sherds
Online References surface finds  2. Glass 
Online References surface finds  3. Various materials ( metals / slag / burned wood /mortar / organics, etc.)

At this page, various pottery shards are presented, but they do not all come from the South - Limburg region. Only determined shards are presented, with if possible, clarificatory references to pages, available on the web or a more general bibliography  at the bottom of this page.
Pottery shards are a representative part of a vessel, pot or jar, giving possible direct information about its production process, place of origin, period if use, prosperity of users. But  it  can  give  also more general cultural information  about trade routes, relations between people, periods of use, decoration types, capability of art, etc. The pottery shards are presented by archaeological period, so it is easier to find a type of shard. The shards at this page are not categorized by the criteria (Id-number, etc.) but also appear on various pages in the menu below the header of this blog. Click image to enlarge s.v.p. All shards from South Limburg region except for those with code GAAST = Gaasterland, Friesland and FRAN = France

Prehistoric pottery in the short
Prehistoric pottery sherds belong to the most interesting, but also rare surface finds. In many cases, prehistoric pottery sherds are crunched into powder, especially due to intensive land use for agriculture.
In special cases, prehistoric pottery fragments survive, although they often show intense weathering, such as fractionating, rounding of edges, loss of elements of the tempering  and discoloration.
Sherds that survive could give information about cultures, in case the fragments bear characteristic features, such as rim forms, carvings, the used clay, the temper and information about the baking process.
For the region of Western Europe, pottery starts in the early Neolithic (Pottery Neolithic, PN) with the Linear Pottery ( German LinearBandKeramik)Culture LBK around 5600- 5400 BC and the La Hoguette - group (ca 5800 BC) and Limburg pottery - group. The LBK was a culture with sedentary lifestyle, while la Hoguette and the Limburg group were shepherds followed their cattle in a long distance in a south north oriented transhumance. 
The pottery is formed by ablated globes and these are culturally recognisable by its decoration: lines, dots, patterns..
Surface finds of sherds of the (early) Neolithic period are very scarce in south Limburg, as this material  decays rapidly in the loess, together with human activities (fertilizing, plowing, exposure to acid rain).
In later periods, like the Middle Neolithic and Bronze age period, pottery was a normal part of daily life, so remains can be found in the fields.
Linear Pottery is very dark in color, almost dark - grey to black and , if not decorated, not easy to recognise in the fields between gravels, stones and other materials like wood, slate, etc. 
In a cross section view (best would be a fresh fracture), prehistoric pottery in general  has a little flaky structure, sometimes also a more pronounced layered structure, like  'laminated', which is very friable and fragile, and with a fingernail it is very easy to scratch a little material from the the sherd; this is also used to distinguish sherds from natural stones.  Diagnostic sherds show lines, grooves and dots. The temper in this period is vegetal (like chaff).
In later periods, sand (mainly granular quartz and quartzite), shell fragments and clay particles were used as a temper.
Later prehistoric ware has features like a distinct black burned core (reduced baking process with quick exposure to oxygen, causing a small layer at the inner and outer walls of the vessel, often in orange, red and pale yellow color) and more course tempering, especially during the Middle Neolithic (e.g. Michelsberg, undecorated pottery) and the Bronze age. Bronze age decoration on pottery consists of  e.g. finger impressions, lines of dots, stripes, rough rillings, parallel line incisions, in very figurative designs ( triangles, rounded figures)  but decoration is also absent. 
Pottery during the Iron age seems to be more dense in structure, often less thick and sometimes already with a more fine grained temper, with decoration by fingertip incisions and fine decoration lines, often parallel, with expressive rims.
Still,m coarse tempered wares exist, also undecorated.
This is continuing during the Roman period, where handmade pottery co- exists together with  more fine and luxurious wares. A very 'rough' appearance of temper is found at  the "grog tempered wares",  this is pottery with a very coarse temper, which  has been used on purpose, in the mix we find, besides of sand/ shell particles, distinguishable  small (red/ orange colored) particles of  used Roman pottery / tiles, which makes it distinctive from prehistoric pottery.
These sherds are more hard and do survive easier in the fields, even after human activities, though all these sherds are fragmenting faster and faster, due to intensification of agriculture during the last twenty years.

Bronze age pottery sherds 

Two pottery sherds from the Belgian Kempen region, from the late Bronze age period (HaA1). The outside of the sherds is black, caused by fire, with a clear visible granular temper. The inside is light in color and the thickness of the sherds is ca 0.7- 0.8 mm.


Two pottery shards from the Belgian Kempen region, from the late Bronze age period (HaA1)


2015 A rare prehistoric pottery sherd from Rijckholt, in front view, back view and cross section view. The sherd is a fragment of hand- made pottery with some tempering, and the sherd has been laminar fragmented. It  has been weathered where its laminar structure has been affected, causing severe disintegration. The thickness of the sherd is ca 1.2 cm, but this is not the original, ultimate thickness as the surface of the inner wall seem to be missing.
 It has been roughly  placed in the broad period of the Bronze age (pre- Iron age), based on its laminar structure,  but maybe this sherd belongs  to a Middle - Late Neolithic period. The latter suggestion is also based on the find of  a flint point belonging to  the Michelsberg Culture.  The findspot has also served as a tool production site.

Iron age pottery sherds   

2013. A rim shard from the Iron age from the location north of Rinia state- Oudemirdum, Gaasterland., probably first disturbed context (plowing). Decoration by regular fingertip impression at the outer side of the rim. It has a dark core and light brown- yellow outer walls, caused by a reduced baking process. The sherd does not show rounded edges, so its position in the field has not been disturbed over very long period.


2013. A body shard of an Iron age vessel; location is north of Rinia state- Oudemirdum, Gaasterland. probably first disturbed context (plowing). With fingertip decoration by impressions. The sherd has more or less rounded edges, suggesting an 'out of context" situation over long period of time.


2013. a rim shard with imprints. from a location north of Rinia state- Oudemirdum, Gaasterland., probably  from a first disturbed context (disturbed by plowing). The diagonally placed imprints are unidirectional made by a fingernail.


2013 . A shard with striped decoration, type "streepband" from the location Lykwei at Harich, Gaasterland. This pottery type is common for the northern coastal territories during the 3rd - 2nd century BC  , though it also has been found at The Hague (Stuurman, 1965)

Internet :Determinatie streepband aardewerk Ge4 ca 150 v. C. - ca 150 n. C. Terpaardewerk in Westergo

Kooijmans, L.P.L.  and  Stuart, P. (1974)   Prehistorie en vroegste geschiedenis van ons land  Gids voor de verzameling Nederlandse oudheden Rijksmuseum van Oudheden te Leiden; Staatsuitgeverij Den Haag  PDF

Stuurman, P. (1965)  Streepbandaardewerk in de omgeving van Den Haag; oudheidkundig bodemonderzoek bij de Lozerlaan juli- november 1964. Westerheem 65, part 14 pp. 91 - 96

2015  Prehistoric pottery sherds cf. from Liers (B). These sherds are from handmade pottery, both black and   dark orange- brown color. The temper consists of quartz. Broad period of Late prehistoric - Roman period.


2009, 2010 Six shards from the K2 location (Dilsen, Belgium) . Most probably they are from the Middle- Late Iron age period. all sherds have parallel line incisions.


Four shards of cf. Andenne pottery from Groot Genhout )NL).. Light yellow pottery with very light temper.


Roman pottery shards 

GAAST R/IJ 74 [Friesland] A roman play- disc made of a pottery shard of handmade ceramics. Carved, possibly prepared to break it into half. Find from Balk- Lykwei.
broad Iron age to Roman period  ca - 200 BC  / + 200 AD


RBO - 3
A Roman shard from a large vessel, grayware with a black innerside. This shard has been found at Simpelveld (NL)


Rim shard of a mortarium, coarse ware.
The shard has been found at Simpelveld (NL)


Rim shard of a mortarium, coarse ware.
The shard has been found at Simpelveld (NL)


Grey rim sherd with parallel lines The shard has been found at Simpelveld (NL)


White hard fabric, coated; this  shard has been found at Simpelveld (NL) Color Coated Ware from Cologne in Germany. See also "final report on four years prospections, 2009/2010 and 2014/2015", in preparation, published  winter 2015.


Two sherds of Terra sigillata pottery,  found at Lanaye (B)


2014 Roman painted pottery, our\tside and inside has been painted; white hard fabric.


2015  Four pottery sherds of Roman Grog tempered ware from Rijckholt (NL). So-called because the clay was mixed with crushed up tile and pottery, known as 'grog'. This type of pottery was first made in the century before the Roman invasion, and carried on in use for a hundred years or so afterwards; i.e.  50 BC-100 AD. At the same field other roman sherds have been found, as well as a small piece of a la Tene glass bracelet, suggesting Iron age- Roman presence.

Early Medieval - Medieval

Post Medieval ca 1100 -  ca 1500 AD

Four shards of Pingsdorf pottery with iron oxide decoration.from Groot Genhout (NL) 11th-13th century (13A)


GAAST P011. [Friesland, Gaasterland]
Two shards of Pingsdorf pottery from the 11 -13 th century. Found  at Hegeburgsterwei Rijsterbosch, Rijs; indicating the first inhabitants of the lost fortification (stins) at this location used this type of luxury pottery.


2013. Three shards from rounded jars, called 'kogelpot', local period between  ca 1000 and 1200 AD.Gaasterland, Friesland.


2010 SRec. DB-015. Single find on a footh path below the Duivelsberg at Nijmegen (NL) . Proto stoneware, early phase


2011 Single find from Ulestraten (NL) period ca 1400-1500


Shard of grey pottery found in Gaasterland (ORS), type 'broom '(besenstrich). Period ca 1350 AD


(Sub -) recent 1600 - 2000

2010. Visé Caster - Wonck  early 16th century
2012. IMS Pmed IMS. Bottom shard of a stoneware jar, found near Imstenrade (Heerlen)

2013 GAAST RBrec; reconstruction of a pipkin ca 1570 - 1600 earthenware type ' Hafner' found at Rijsterbosch, Rijs (Gaasterland Friesland)

ref. Museumoflondon org.


2013 Stoneware ca 16th century from the ORS Oudemirdum location.
                                                  1600 - 1800 AD  RECENT

2013 GAAST- P23 Tubular steel frypan  from the 17th century, white pottery with dark green glaze. Rijsterbosch Rijs.


2013 GAAST- P22 Tubular steel frypan  from the 17th century, white pottery, glazed. Rijsterbosch Rijs.


2013 GAAST UncaT Glazed steel of cooking pan  in white clay probably late 18th century Rijsterbosch Rijs.


2013 GAAST UncaT Glazed steel of cooking pan  in redware probably late 18th century Rijsterbosch Rijs.

2013 GAAST- P17 Two fitting shards of German  Lower Rhine ware from the 17th century. Rijsterbosch, Rijs.


2013 GAAST- P13 a- d. Four body shards of the same pot, German stoneware "Bearded man" with a text on the body. Images on the pot  representing acanthus leaves and portrait medallion. Period 1525-1550 AD Rijsterbosch, Rijs.


2013 GAAST 014 a-c. Three body shards from  the same pot, type Westerwald ware, dated 1638, see sherd in the middle right.Rijsterbosch, Rijs.


2013 GAAST Majolica shard. Rijsterbosch Rijs.


2013  Rijsterbosch Rijs.

Rimsherd  of a large  redware plate, with standing foot, made with finger squeezed technique.


 2015 Sherd of stoneware with decoration ca. 16-17th century, found at Rijckholt.

* Reference

Sherds from Raeren (Belgium) with descriptions. Tessons de Raeren en Belgique, avec descriptions. Scherven uit Raeren (België) met beschrijving  Scherben aus Raeren (Belgien) mit Beschreibungen

These sherds  have been  collected from one location,  a disturbed deposit of Raeren pottery in Belgium, discovered in 2014. The original pottery involves exclusively pottery that has been used. The production of pottery in Raeren took place between the 16 and 19 century. These sherds are used as a reference collection.

Images and descriptions   

1. Frechen; greyish - shiny glazed pottery with blue line decorations, mostly with decorations (motifs, like birds, flowers) flat bottom, ears, variable in dimensions.


2. Frechen; greyish - shiny glazed pottery with blue line decorations, mostly with decorations ( motifs, like birds, flowers) flat bottom, ears, variable in dimensions.


3. Bottom parts of vessels from the period late 15th- early 16th century. Glazed pottery.


4. Bottom parts of vessels from the 17th- 18th century. Glazed.


5. Sherds with variety of decorations on 16 - 17th century glazed pottery from Raeren


6. Sherds with variety of decorations on 16- 17th century glazed pottery from Raeren


Links on the internet

Bronze age period
Finds . org Bronze age sherds

Roman period
Potsherd, Atlas of roman pottery

Post medieval

Steinzeug Universität Tübingen
Mittelalterarchäologie Faststeinzeug und Steinzeug

Raeren Töpferei Museum  NL/ DE/ FR/ ENG

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