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Colchester Archaeological Trust

CAT Report 72: summary

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A report on test-pits dug at the church of St James the Great, East Hill, Colchester, Essex: March 2000
by Brooks, H

Date report completed: 08/05/2000
Location: Colchester town centre, Essex
Map reference(s): TM00152522
File size: 393 kb
Project type: Other
Significance of the results: Neg
Keywords: Church, ceramic building materials, human bone, post-medieval pottery

Summary. The drains running along the outside of the south aisle wall of St James' church had become blocked. Holes in the open surface drainage channel implied that there was an underground drain to collect surface water. Three trenches were therefore cut to intercept the drain line and to examine its condition. The results can be considered from two points of view: the drainage and the archaeology. All three trenches located the underground ceramic pipe into which the surface channel drained. In Trench 1, the detailed working of the drain was revealed. The perforations in the stone surface channel marked the position of an underground brick sump, approximately 500m x 500m and six courses (450m) deep. A pipe led down and southwards from the brick sump to a connecting drain. No burials were disturbed during the work, although there was a quantity of loose human bone (charnel) which was reburied in the trenches at the end of the work. From the archaeological point of view, two of the trenches merely showed graveyard soil cut by the modern drain. The other (Trench 2) revealed the outer face of the south aisle wall, and the face of one of the buttresses.