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Colchester Archaeological Trust

CAT Report 499: summary

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An archaeological evaluation at Royal Mail Braintree Delivery Office, Lakes Road, Braintree, Essex: January 2009
by Ben Holloway

Date report completed: February 2009
Location: Royal Mail Braintree Delivery Office, Lakes Road, Braintree, Essex
Map reference(s): TL 7671 2287
File size: 22,852 kb
Project type: Evaluation by trial-trenching
Significance of the results: neg

Summary. Two trial-trenches were excavated north to south, T1 (11 m long) across the upper car-park and T2 (30m long) across the lower car-park (Fig 1). Both trenches were cut through the car-park surface which consisted of tarmac hardtop (L1) sealing a compacted deposit of dry mix concrete and hardcore (L2) which formed the bedding for the parking surface. In T2, this bedding material directly sealed the geological horizon (boulder clay L4), but in T1 a minimal deposit of accumulation material was present (L3). This thin horizon sealed the natural geological deposit and archaeological features identified in T1. No archaeological features were recorded in T2, because the southern part of the car-park had been substantially terraced in the modern period, removing any topsoil and accumulation horizons. Surviving remains consisted of modern wall foundations (F5-F9) with an associated cobbled surface (F10) and, at the southern end of T2, a modern rubbish-pit datable to the 19th or 20th centuries (F11). In the upper car-park, less intrusive terracing left a thin accumulation horizon (L3) which was recorded in T1. T1 also contained four archaeological features, ie pits F1-F3 and a linear feature F4. All four features contained modern material, including brick and peg-tile fragments, suggesting a post-medieval if not modern date for them. During the evaluation, no material was recovered which can be associated with possible medieval activity, although it is possible that the modern terracing removed evidence of any earlier activity. All the features found were modern, dating to the 19th or 20th centuries, and appeared to relate to Parsonage Farm, which occupied the site until the last century.