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Colchester Archaeological Trust

CAT Report 616: summary

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Notes on a negative watching brief for a wall support foundation in the churchyard at St Martinís church, West Stockwell Street, Colchester, Essex: October 2011
by Stephen Benfield

Date report completed: September 2015
Location: the churchyard at St Martinís church, West Stockwell Street, Colchester, Essex
Map reference(s): TL 9962 2532
File size: 258 kb
Project type: Archaeological watching brief
Significance of the results: neg
Keywords: human bones

Summary. A small, shallow trench was hand-excavated by the building contractors against the south boundary wall of the churchyard. The excavation was monitored by an archaeologist from the Colchester Archaeological Trust. The trench was dug to accommodate a concrete foundation for the construction of a brick pier wall support. This is part of other repair work to the wall (including the insertion of new bricks) as it is bowed and leaning into the churchyard. Almost the entire depth of the excavation took place within dark topsoil and nothing of archaeological significance was encountered. Non-organic finds observed consisted of post-medieval and modern pottery sherds, clay-pipe bowls and stems and some ceramic building material, mostly pieces of peg-tiles. Small quantities of animal and human bone were encountered and recovered. A small concentration of bone, much clearly human, was located in the north-east corner of the trench toward the base. This was redeposited disarticulated and broken bone. All the bone was kept aside for reburial by the building contractors, either within the soil covering the foundation or beneath it. It can be noted that a metal service pipe and a communications cable were located in the trench, both between 100 mm and 150 mm of the surface. The service pipe crossed the area of the trench east to west approximately across the middle, with the cable running in the same direction close to the north edge of the trench.