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Colchester Archaeological Trust

CAT Report 1552: summary

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Archaeological excavations at Colchester Castle, Upper Castle Park, High Street, Colchester, Essex, CO1 1UN: 2001-2002
by Laura Pooley
(with contributions from Dr Matthew Loughton, Adam Wightman and Alec Wade)

Date report completed: April 2021
Location: Colchester Castle, Upper Castle Park, High Street, Colchester, Essex, CO1 1UN
Map reference(s): TL 99847 25267 (centre)
File size: 29358 kb
Project type: Excavation
Significance of the results:
Keywords: Colchester Castle

Summary. Archaeological excavations took place around Colchester Castle, Upper Castle Park, Colchester, Essex during groundworks to install new floodlights. Colchester Castle was built in the late 11th century on the site of the Roman Temple of Claudius and most of the castle park is a Scheduled Monument (SM EX 1, HA 1002217).

In total 170m of cable trench was excavated around Colchester Castle largely through postmedieval and modern layers (18th-20th century) to a depth of 0.8m below current ground level. These layers are probably the result of a combination of: modern gardening activities; excavations at the front of the castle in the 19th century, the 1930s and 1970s; earth-moving and landscaping after 1892 when the site was sold to Colchester Borough for the creation of a public park; and early 18th-century landscaping of the grounds by Charles Gray of Hollytrees. The vast majority of the features also dated from the 19th to 20th century.

Disarticulated human remains were found in three locations within layers of 19th to 20th century date. These remains are thought to date from the late 16th to the 17th centuries when the keep was used as a jail.

Three features (pits/cuts) and three layers (accumulation/make-up) in the southeast corner of the site, to the east of the bailey chapel, appear to date to the medieval period (producing pottery dated c 12th-15th centuries) and were the earliest contexts recorded during the project.