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Colchester Archaeological Trust

CAT Report 1095: summary

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Iron Age pit and modern drains and ditches: archaeological evaluation on land south of Cambian Fairview, Boxted Road, Colchester, Essex, CO4 5HF - April 2017
by Howard Brooks

Date report completed: September 2017
Location: Cambian Fairview, Boxted Road, Colchester, Essex, CO4 5HF
Map reference(s): TL 9886 2884 (c)
File size: 23,657 kb
Project type: Archaeological evaluation
Significance of the results: *
Keywords: Iron Age, pit, fire-pit, 19th century, ditch, drain

Summary. An archaeological evaluation by twelve trial-trenches on land south of Cambian Fairview, Boxted Road, Colchester, Essex revealed 30 archaeological features. The earliest was an Iron Age pit with a burnt base and a charcoally fill. The charcoal gave a radiocarbon date of 2218 ±27 BP (cal 350-203 BC). Other examples of these ‘fire-pits’ have been seen on previous archaeological sites in this part of Colchester, and seem to occur over an area of 1.2km east to west in the northern part of Mile End. Other archaeological features were all post-medieval and 19th-century ditches, drains and pits. Interestingly, some of the excavated features correlate closely with the boundaries and walls of plots 346-8 on the 1841 Tithe Map, specifically a soakaway, a brick wall, and what is probably the robbing pit of a large brick structure. Other features are field boundaries and drains which are either not shown on the Tithe Map, or post-date it (ie are post-1841). Recovered finds weighed 47kg, 87% of which was brick and tile. Significantly, some was residual Roman brick and tile, indicating a local (but unidentified) Roman structure. Evidence of post-Roman and pre-18th century activity (when the site was marginal to Mile End Heath) consists of a single medieval sherd. Reduced depth of topsoil shows that the western side of the site has probably been truncated. This may be due to agriculture, but is more likely to be a result of scraping of soil during the construction of the A12 in the 1970s, immediately to the north of the western side of the site.