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Colchester Archaeological Trust

CAT Report 607: summary

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Stage 2 archaeological evaluation, Colchester Garrison Alienated Land Area E (formerly Meeanee & Hyderabad Barracks) Colchester, Essex - July 2011
by Howard Brooks, Ben Holloway, Mark Baister

Date report completed: August 2011
Location: Colchester Garrison Alienated Land Area E, Colchester, Essex
Map reference(s): TL 9986 2427 (c)
File size: 639 kb
Project type: Evaluation
Significance of the results:
Keywords: garrison, Roman, villa, Civil War

Summary. There have now been two stages of archaeological evaluation at Colchester Garrison Alienated Land Area E, both carried out as part of a programme of archaeological evaluation of land purchased by Taylor Wimpey in order to provide the site for a school to be designed and built by Essex County Council. The first, in 2004, was an evaluation by four trial-trenches which led to the discovery of 25 Roman features, and a post-medieval ditch which was possibly part of the remains of the 1648 siege-works: CAT Report 274). The second, reported here, involved the excavation of a further two trial-trenches in the central part of the site, which was unavailable in 2004. These new trenches brought the coverage up to 4.17%, beyond the 3% required Colchester Borough Council, and will enable a more informed view to be taken on how the proposed school will impact the archaeological remains.

The 2011 discoveries consist of Roman ditches, post-holes, a quarry pit, substantial quantities of brick and tile, and a buried pot (possibly a ritual deposit). These remains have added to the picture gained by the 2004 work, that there was a Roman-period ditched enclosure here containing what was probably a relatively small Romanised domestic structure, and associated post-built structures. Together these defined what may have been a small villa-type establishment set in its own fields, similar to those found at the Kirkee & McMunn Barracks, 1540m SW, and Goojerat Barracks (GAL Area L/N), 883m SW. It may be the case that the Roman inhumation cemetery excavated at the Hyderabad barracks (GAL Area A1, site H, 125m to the NE) contains the burials of the farmers who lived and worked on the current site. The only significant post-Roman find was a continuation of the 1648 siege works ditch, which may have been part of the defences connected with Fort Needham.