Colchester Archaeological Trust
CAT Report 650: summary
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An archaeological watching brief at 1 Rawstorn Road, Colchester, Essex: October 2011
by Stephen Benfield
(with contributions from -)
Date report completed: June 2012
Location: 1 Rawstorn Road, Colchester, Essex
Map reference(s): TL 99074 2500 (c)
File size: 133 kb
Project type: Archaeological watching brief
Significance of the results: **
Keywords: ?Roman, gravel surface
In the centre of the plot for the new building, an east-west footings trench cut through a gravel surface. This was best observed in the northern part of the trench but was also present in the southern part, although here it was partly cut away by a later pit. In the northern part, the gravel extended for approximately 5 m, ending approximately 1 m short of the eastern end of the trench. To the west, the gravel ended at the edge of a feature which was either a small pit or, possibly, a ditch on the western side of the gravel. For most of its length, the top of the gravel lay at between 40-50 cm below the site surface, but towards the western end it was at only about 30 cm below. At that point the gravel was about 15 cm thick, but it was more commonly about 10 cm thick. The only find from it was a sherd of Roman samian ware dated c AD 120-200.
The gravel surface sealed two undated layers, ie a pale brown sandy loam approximately 20 cm thick (a foundation layer for the gravel surface?) and, below this, a pale silt, approximately 10 cm thick (?natural) which sealed natural sand.
The gravel surface cannot be more accurately described or dated, but it is probably Roman. Although this might have been a localised surface, gravel metalled lanes or small streets of Roman date have been discovered during previous excavations close to this site.
The orientation of the gravel surface is similar and possibly parallel to that of the main Roman road to London (to the north), and similar to the Roman lane discovered at Crouch Street.