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Colchester Archaeological Trust

CAT Report 46: summary

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A watching brief and excavation at Sovereign Crescent, Colchester (formerly Colchester maternity hospital): 1998
by Shimmin, D
(with contributions from Benfield, S; Black, E; Cool, H; Crummy, N; Wade, A.)

Date report completed: 10/09/1997
Location: Lexden, Colchester, Essex
Map reference(s): TL98172492
File size: 456 kb
Project type: Watching brief
Significance of the results: *
Keywords: small finds, Roman pit, Roman glass, Roman brooch, animal bone, Roman pottery, human bone, iron nails, coins, samian ware, Roman tile, Roman brick, Roman road, Roman ditches,

Summary. This 0.68ha site lies at the corner of Lexden Road and Park Road, about one km west of the walled town. Several Roman roads lie nearby; projections suggest that one route corresponds approximately to the course of Lexden Road at the site frontage and another may have lain at or near the site’s southern boundary. Past discoveries in the surrounding area point to the presence of roadside cemeteries used principally for burial of cremated remains. Dateable finds indicate that the ditch fill in F14 and the majority of the pit fills in the eastern part of the site are no later than 2nd century in date. Later Roman features are more common to the west. The purpose of the pits is unclear. Whilst some may be randomly dug, others display a more angular shape. From the nature of the finds it seems possible that the sub rectangular features might be cremation burials, but if so, it remains uncertain whether their contents were subsequently dug up and re-deposited in their original pits, or are perhaps primary burials in which the remains and associated artifacts were deliberately broken prior to final interment. Of the features that show any form of orientation, all to some extent reflect the orientation of the ditches F14 and EF2. None observe the orientation of a conjectured Roman road across the south of the site, nor for that matter do any correspond to the road believed to underlie the stretch of Lexden Road at the site frontage, although it is possible that pits EF14 and EF6 and linear feature F43, all fragmentary observations, are somewhat closer to the Lexden Road line. No conclusive observations of in situ early road metalling were made.