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Colchester Archaeological Trust

CAT Report 1106: summary

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Archaeological evaluation at the former Bus Depot, Queen Street, Colchester, Essex, CO1 2PQ: April 2017
by Laura Pooley
(with contributions from Stephen Benfield, Lisa Gray, Alec Wade, Sarah Carter, Ben Holloway)

Date report completed: June 2017, revised August 2017
Location: The former Bus Depot, Queen Street, Colchester, Essex, CO1 2PQ
Map reference(s): TL 99949 25044
File size: kb
Project type: Evaluation
Significance of the results:

Summary. An archaeological evaluation (five test-pits) was carried out at the former Bus Depot, Queen Street, Colchester as part of pre-planning application work associated with the redevelopment of the site. Located within the southeast angle of the Roman walled town, the development site is immediately to the north of the Roman town wall, to the northeast of the Southgate and in an area of known Roman buildings.

Test-pits TP1-TP3 were excavated inside the bus depot building and revealed significant modern, post-medieval and Roman remains c 0.45-0.5m below current ground level. Modern wall foundations and demolition debris was associated with the Theatre Royal and its destruction by fire in 1918, and post-medieval remains consisted of two large pits and a ditch. The ditch is probably part of the Royalist defensive position behind the town walls during the English Civil War. Roman remains included two possible phases of Roman street/road metalling, a small section of the Roman rampart, and a mid-late Roman ditch cut through an earlier pit and posthole.

Test-pits TP4-TP5 revealed modern and post-medieval layers to a depth of c 1.251.65m below current ground level, underneath which were significant Roman structural remains. Interestingly Hull's 1931 archaeological trench was identified cutting through both test-pits. TP4 revealed a tile-lined Roman drain aligned NNW-SSE which probably branched-off from Hull's E-W tile-lined drain (located immediately to the south of TP4). One of the Roman wall foundations identified by Hull was also located in TP5 (F2/F4). In addition were two possible floor layers (L15 and L17) and other surfacing material (L11-L13).