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Colchester Archaeological Trust

CAT Report 456: summary

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Stage 1b archaeological evaluation, Alienated Land Area L/N, Colchester Garrison, Colchester, Essex October 2007
by Howard Brooks and Ben holloway
(with contributions from Stephen Benfield and Nina Crummy)

Date report completed: 8th-23rd October 2007
Location: Colchester
Map reference(s): TL9951224510
File size: 1745 kb
Project type: Evaluation
Significance of the results:
Keywords: Late Iron age, Roman, post-medieval, modern

Summary. Colchester Garrison Alienated Land Area L/N coincides with the Goojerat Barracks south of Goojerat Road and east of Cambrai Road. The principal remains revealed by the 62 evaluation trenches were the widespread remains of barrack buildings. Around and under the buildings there were extensive areas where the ground had been reduced (ie truncated) or built up (ie infilled). This truncation and infilling is undoubtedly due to large-scale landscaping carried out when Goojerat Barracks was constructed in 1900-1902, or when it was rebuilt in 1971-75. The truncation has severely affected the survival of earlier archaeological horizons and features. Only nine Roman and two post-medieval ditches were identified, plus a number of Roman post-holes. The post-medieval ditches defined parts of a pre-Garrison landscape, or may have been associated with the Civil War, when Colchester was besieged in 1648. The alignment of the Roman ditches in Area L/N indicates that there was a co-axial Roman farmed landscape here, aligned south-west to north-east and north-west to south-east. Further, the configuration of the Roman ditches and the presence of over 11kg of Roman building materials may indicate the presence of a rectangular Roman enclosure, possibly containing a robbed-out Roman structure, in the south-east corner of Area L/N. A simple Roman ‘villa-type' agricultural establishment has been identified at the Kirkee McMunn Barracks (approximately 1km to the south of this site), and a smaller-scale Roman settlement has recently been identified in GAL Area E (approximately 500m to the north-east). It remains to be seen how the Area L/N building fitted into this Roman farmed and inhabited landscape.