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Colchester Archaeological Trust

CAT Report 270: summary

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Colchester Garrison PFI project: Stage 2 archaeological excavation assessment report
by Brooks, H
(with contributions from Anderson, S; Bojko, A; Crummy, N; Curl, J; Daniell, JFryer, V; Sealey, P; Benfield, S; Black, E; Martingell, H; Schwenninger, J.)

Date report completed: 03/03/2004
Location: Garrison, Colchester, Essex
Map reference(s): TL996244, TL996244, TL996244, TL99452350, TL996244, TL99452350, TL98902295, TL5996122285
File size: 6151 kb
Project type:
Significance of the results: * *
Keywords: Iron Age, oppidum, prehistoric pottery, trackway/droveway, prehistoric enclosure, round-house, enclosure, prehistoric burial, small finds, flint, Roman pottery, human bone

Summary. This is an Assessment Report on excavations carried out by Colchester Archaeological Trust on Areas 2, 6 and 10 ahead of the New Garrison, Colchester Garrison. The area 2 remains included an impressive Middle Iron Age enclosure with an internal round house. A pottery vessel at the centre of the round house was certainly a placed deposit, if not actually a burial. A hollow way track led to the enclosure from the east. The enclosure was put out of use before a ditched droveway was constructed through it by the early Roman period. Area 6 was dominated by trackways and field boundaries associated with the oppidum field layout. Fringe activities from the adjacent Kirkee & McMunn villa site (including burials) spilled out into this area. Area 10 contained Iron Age cremation burials and structures, and Late Iron Age/Roman trackways and field boundaries. Finds were plentiful without being abundant. The most important groups were the Iron Age pottery, later Iron Age and Roman pottery, Roman small finds (including dated brooches and nails from the burials), and prehistoric flints. There were also a group of Roman tile, and smaller collections of animal and human(cremated) bone, and postmedieval glass. Pre-oppidum activity was dominated by the Area 2 enclosure and its associated round house. There may also have been an isolated round houses within Area 6 and Area 10 although the these are somewhat dubious. There was no clear sign of field division in this period. The excavations were all within the oppidum territory as defined by the Dyke system. In that respect, they have a direct bearing on the internal organisation of the oppidum and its landscape. Clear evidence for co-axial ditched landscape in place at least by the 1st century AD within Area 6 was supplemented by the results from Areas 2 and 10. The excavation areas were all well to the south of the Roman town, but in its hinterland. The Roman town dwellers undoubtedly interacted with the farmers whose lands have been sampled in Areas 2, 6 and 10 in the sense that they would have traded with them for farm produce. Whether the land owners were the town dwellers themselves is difficult to judge. The Roman pottery and small finds from the excavation were probably bought or traded in the Roman town and its markets. A single military feature was exposed and excavated comprising a previously known WWII tank trap crossing Area 10.