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Colchester Archaeological Trust

CAT Report 638: summary

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An archaeological watching brief at the Knowledge Gateway, the University of Essex, Colchester, Essex, September 2010-August 2011
by Adam Wightman

Date report completed: June 2012
Location: Colchester
Map reference(s): TM 0242 2424
File size: 7745 kb
Project type: Watching brief
Significance of the results: **
Keywords: Bronze Age barrow cemetery, Roman, burial, medieval pottery

Summary. The Colchester Archaeological Trust undertook a watching brief during infrastructure works for the University of Essex’s new research park which is to be known as the ‘Knowledge Gateway’. The remains of a Bronze Age barrow cemetery are located at the western edge of the development site on the flood plain of the River Colne. The removal of topsoil from one of the barrows provided the opportunity to record the extant mound and undertake a magnetometer survey. Examination of the LiDAR image of the flood plain also revealed details of the layout of the barrow cemetery. A discrepancy between the size of the ring-ditch identified in the magnetometer survey and the mound and outer bank in the LiDAR image suggests that the barrow has been altered significantly since its initial construction. A trial-trenching evaluation undertaken by the Essex County Council Field Archaeology Unit in 2004 identified evidence for agricultural activity on the lower valley slope of the River Colne during the Late Iron Age-early Roman period. Further evidence for activity during this period was encountered during the watching brief and included a pit containing frequent Roman CBM fragments that probably derive from a nearby farm building. Burial activity in the middle Roman period was also uncovered on the lower valley slope, and further up the slope the recovery of late Roman pottery sherds suggests that this area was utilised throughout the Roman period.