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Colchester Archaeological Trust

CAT Report 751: summary

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An archaeological excavation in the ‘Danish Camp’ Iron Age defended settlement, Shoebury Garrison, Shoeburyness, Essex: March 2013
by Adam Wightman with Stephen Benfield
(with contributions from the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre, N Crummy, V Fryer)

Date report completed: October 2014
Location: the ‘Danish Camp’ Iron Age defended settlement, Shoebury Garrison, Shoeburyness, Essex
Map reference(s): TQ 593886 184608 (c)
File size: 14.891 kb
Project type: Archaeological excavation
Significance of the results: ***
Keywords: Middle Iron Age, enclosure, round-house

Summary. Following an evaluation in January 2013 (CAT Report 680), an excavation was carried out in March of the same year on a 0.12-hectare plot of land on the junction of Mess Road and Chapel Road in the former Shoebury garrison. This site is located within the area of the defended Iron Age settlement known (and scheduled) as the ‘Danish Camp’. Previous archaeological investigations undertaken on the extant ramparts and within the internal area of the enclosure have dated the main phase of activity at the ‘Danish Camp’ to the Middle Iron Age. This dating could be seen as broadly supported by the results of this excavation, as there appears to have been an increase in occupation density here during the Middle Iron Age period, although the division of land by ditches and settlement on this area appears to have started in the Late Bronze Age or Early Iron Age. The earliest evidence of human activity identified dates to the Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age and is represented by a radiocarbon date on burnt wood and a possible sherd of Beaker pottery from one pit. A small assemblage of Middle Bronze Age Deverel-Rimbury pottery also derived from one feature. As already stated, the main period of activity dates to the Late Bronze Age and Iron Age, especially the Middle Iron Age. The earliest features are pits and exposed lengths of ditches. Similar features are associated with the Middle Iron Age occupation, but with the addition of two round-houses defined by parts of curvilinear gullies, a probable well, and lines of post-holes, some possibly representing fence-lines. Later-dated finds are sparse, although a very few sherds of Late Iron Age/Roman pottery indicate some limited activity during that period. Otherwise, the area appears to have maintained an essentially open, rural character until the mid-19th century when the garrison was established.