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Colchester Archaeological Trust

CAT Report 1286: summary

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Archaeological evaluation at St Botolph's (site of former bus station), Queen Street, Colchester, Essex, CO1 2PQ: April-May 2018
by Adam Wightman
(with contributions from Stephen Benfield, Laura Pooley, Lisa Gray)

Date report completed: June 2018
Location: St Botolph's (site of former bus station), Queen Street, Colchester, Essex, CO1 2PQ
Map reference(s): TL 99985 25070 (centre)
File size: kb
Project type: Evaluation
Significance of the results:

Summary. An archaeological evaluation (twelve trenches) was carried out on land formerly occupied by the bus station and in the back yard of 37 Queen Street, Colchester. A single trench was also excavated in the car park for the former bus maintenance garage off Priory Street.

The remains of Roman buildings were preserved beneath a thick layer of dark soil in eight of the trenches (T3 & T5-T12) at depths of between 1.03m and 1.71m below modern ground level. Early medieval robber trenches excavated to extract building materials from the foundations of Roman buildings were identified in six trenches, with Roman floor layers surviving to the sides. Four of the robber trenches were wider than would be expected for the foundations of private houses and may have been dug to rob larger foundations belonging to a public building or part of a more substantial house. Roman floor surfaces included a tessellated floor and a metalled area in T7 and the remains of a mosaic floor in T3.

T5 was excavated to explore a rectilinear response on a ground-penetrating radar survey which looked to be a Roman building. However, no such remains survived in the trench and any such remains which may have survived in this area appear to have been destroyed, possibly during the excavation of a large pit in the post-medieval period.

The trench excavated on land off Priory Street (T1) was located on the projected line of the town ditch but only modern and post-medieval deposits were identified. A trench excavated in the bus maintenance garage (T2) confirmed that the base of the town wall survives beneath the concrete floor and a trench excavated close to the town wall (T4) encountered deposits that could have been associated with the Roman rampart built up against the inside of the wall.