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Colchester Archaeological Trust

CAT Report 575: summary

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Two archaeological evaluations by test-pitting and an archaeological watching brief in Castle Park, Colchester, Essex - November 2010-February 2011
by Adam Wightman with Donald Shimmin

Date report completed: February 2011
Location: Castle Park, Colchester, Essex
Map reference(s): TL 99922 25434
File size: 803 kb
Project type: Two evaluations by test-pitting and a watching brief
Significance of the results: *
Keywords: Roman street, Roman drain, post-Roman dark earth

Summary. Three archaeological investigations were undertaken by CAT in the Castle Park, Colchester between October 2010 and February 2011. An archaeological watching brief took place during the installation of a series of information signs (October 2010), four test-pits were hand-excavated in Hollytrees Meadow along the proposed route of a new vehicular path (November 2010), and eight further test-pits were excavated prior to the installation of new pathways for vehicular access and new metal fencing in the nursery area and on the former putting green (February 2011). The only significant archaeological deposit observed during the watching brief was a gravelled surface of probable Roman date. Roman archaeology was encountered in two of the four test-pits excavated in 2010. The north-south street leading to the north-east gate (Duncanís gate) was uncovered in Test-pit 2, and the internal face of the eastern wall of the Roman drain was uncovered in Test-pit 3. The uncovering of the drain wall confirmed that the north-south linear depression on Hollytrees Meadow has been caused by the compaction of loose modern backfill within the fully excavated Roman drain. Roman archaeology was uncovered in four of the 2011 test-pits at depths of between 540mm and 590mm below modern ground-level. The east-west orientated Roman street between Insula 7 and Insula 15 was identified in Test-pit 8. The test-pits were mostly excavated through modern topsoil and postRoman dark earth containing frequent Roman artefacts. The quantities of Roman tile, pottery and tesserae hint at Roman occupation features in the vicinity and below the limit of excavation.