Colchester Archaeological Trust
CAT Report 535: summary
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Report on an archaeological evaluation, excavation and watching brief at the Salerooms site, Chequers Lane, Great Dunmow, Essex - August and September 2009 and March 2010
by Howard Brooks, Adam Wightman
(with contributions from Stephen Benfield)
Date report completed: November 2011
Location: Salerooms site, Chequers Lane, Great Dunmow, Essex
Map reference(s): TL 6265 2189
File size: 5,573 kb
Project type: Archaeological evaluation, excavation and watching brief
Significance of the results: **
Keywords: Roman, inhumation, burial, cemetery
The site lies in the centre of modern Great Dunmow, and on the northern edge of the site of the Roman ‘small town’. It is also to the east and northeast respectively of sites excavated at Chequers Lane by the Chelmsford Archaeological Trust in 1970-72 and adjacent to Redbond Lodge by the Essex County Council Field Archaeology Unit in 2004. A 5% evaluation revealed areas of gravel, which were thought to represent a Roman road bordered by a ditch, Roman pits and post-holes, and a number of possible Roman inhumation burials. The trench containing the inhumation burials and one of the areas of gravel was later extended to an area broadly equivalent to the footprint of one of the proposed buildings, and a previously unevaluated area was also opened up in the south-western corner of the site. Together, these gave an excavation area of approximately 490m
(or 28% of the site). In this larger excavation site, the number of inhumation burials increased to a total of 23 (all dating to the late 3rd-4th century). In addition, it became more apparent that the ?gravel road was simply natural gravel, the surface of which had been used as a convenient surface for a route.
A small number of post-holes or small pits located close to the grave cuts may have held grave markers. A crescentic feature cutting some of the inhumation burials was of uncertain but possibly ritual purpose.
A subsequent watching brief on the digging of four soakaways and a pit for a holding tank produced no significant results. The majority (75%) of the excavated contexts were of Roman date. The post-Roman features are not considered to be of particular archaeological significance.