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Colchester Archaeological Trust

CAT Report 101: summary

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An archaeological excavation and watching brief at 22-24 High Street, Colchester, Essex: April 2000
by Brooks, H
(with contributions from Anderson, A; Archibald, M; Benfield, S; Cool, HEM; Crummy, N; Wade, A)

Date report completed: 30/04/2000
Location: Colchester town centre, Essex
Map reference(s): TL99542518
File size: 2232 kb
Project type: Watching brief
Significance of the results: *
Keywords: Coins, Roman pottery, anglo-saxon pottery, medieval pottery, post-medieval pottery, post-medieval building, Roman building, Roman pit, ceramic building materials, roman glass, samian ware, opus signinum, animal bone, roman painted wall plaster, tesserae

Summary. The site of 22-24 High Street lies centrally within the walled Roman town of Colchester and in the eastern part of the early Roman fortress. A medieval coin hoard was discovered on this site in 1969, and another had been found in 1902 on the adjacent site (25 High Street, now the National Westminster Bank). A small-scale excavation and watching brief during rebuilding of this shop unit (formerly John Menzies' newsagents) revealed the following archaeological sequence. Later 1st-century pitting was followed by several phases of masonry building spanning the 2nd and 3rd centuries. These are Buildings 194 and 195 in the Colchester buildings series. A series of pits was cut in the 3rd to 4th centuries. Although no Saxon structures were seen, residual Ipswich/Thetford ware indicates some activity here in perhaps the 9th century. The masonry walls were robbed in the medieval period, and in the 15th or 16th century a structure with clay floors and a rubble wall was erected (Colchester Building 196). This was cut by a 17th-century brick structure of unknown use. There were many finds of Roman and later pottery, brick and bone, but the most interesting find was an empty lead canister of the type which might have contained a coin hoard. A single 13th-century coin was also found, leading to speculation that a medieval coin hoard has been removed from this site at some time in the past.