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Colchester Archaeological Trust

CAT Report 248: summary

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An archaeological evaluation at the Globe Hotel, North Station Road, Colchester, Essex: October 2003
by Orr, K
(with contributions from Benfield, S; Brooks, H.)

Date report completed: 12/12/2003
Location: Colchester, Essex
Map reference(s): TL9935825899
File size: 553 kb
Project type: Evaluation
Significance of the results: *
Keywords: Roman building, metalled surface, robber trench, ceramic building materials, hypocaust, Roman wall-plaster, medieval, post-medieval, opus signinum, Roman pottery

Summary. Two archaeological trial-trenches were excavated in the car park to the rear of the Globe Hotel, North Station Road, Colchester, Essex. The earliest archaeological features recorded were a gravel surface (possibly a yard) and demolition debris from a Roman building. Later in the Roman period, this building was demolished and a thick layer of clay material was deposited over the earlier remains to raise the ground-level before a new building was constructed. A large building was erected, the evidence for which was four foundations on a NNW-SSE and a SSW-NNE alignment and robbed out in the Roman or medieval period. The alignments appear to match up with other Roman buildings recorded along North Station Road. The exceptionally great width (at least 2.2m) and depth (at least 1.2m) of one of the robber trenches suggests that it was for an exterior wall to a Roman public building of at least two storeys. Both buildings appear to be of high status, producing evidence of tiled roofs, heating systems and painted walls. The Roman road which provided access to the walled part of the town from the north was not encountered during the evaluation, and nor were any Roman cremation burials. The later Roman building was demolished, perhaps in the 3rd or early 4th century AD. There was a lack of evidence of medieval activity on the site except for the possible medieval robbing of the Roman foundations for use of the materials in buildings elsewhere. Pits or ditches dug for rubbish or cess in the post-medieval period indicate that this area formed a back yard to a building at this time. A yard surface was subsequently laid on top of these features. In modern times, more pits were dug, the ground-level was raised and various brick buildings were erected and demolished. It is expected that the Roman buildings continue underneath the hotel extension and the main hotel building. It is also possible that remains of the Roman road may be encountered.