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Colchester Archaeological Trust

CAT Report 1745: summary

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A Romano-British farmstead: Archaeological excavation within the Phase 1 development area, land to the west of Panfield Lane, Braintree, Essex, CM7 5NR
by Laura Pooley and Harvey Furniss
(with contributions from Lisa Gray, Dr Matthew Loughton, Alec Wade and Adam Wightman figures by Harvey Furniss, Emma Holloway and Laura Pooley)

Date report completed: January 2023
Location: land to the west of Panfield Lane, Braintree, Essex, CM7 5NR
Map reference(s): TL 7508 2420 (centre)
File size: 3256kb kb
Project type: Excavation
Significance of the results:
Keywords: Braintree, Roman, Romano-British, Farmstead,

Summary. An archaeological excavation was carried out within the Phase 1 development area on land to the west of Panfield Lane, Braintree, Essex in advance of the construction of a large residential development. The excavation was focussed on an area of the development site previously identified during an archaeological evaluation as containing a cluster of early Roman features consisting of four ditches and three pits. Excavation revealed ditches dating from the Late Iron Age/early Roman period through to the mid/late 2nd century, possibly continuing into the early 3rd century. Laid out on a north-east/south-west by north-west/south-east alignment, the ditches probably formed an enclosure with a trackway/droveway on the southern edge of the site. There were at least five large quarry pits with other smaller pits scattered across the site, some of which were possibly tree-throws. There were no structural remains, and fragments of brick/tile and fired clay/daub were rare, but finds evidence would suggest the presence of a farmstead within the enclosure. The pottery assemblage was fairly sizeable, dominated by locallyproduced domestic bowls, beakers and jars, but including some imports. Animal bone had not survived well, but included the main domestic species of cattle, sheep/goat, horse, pig and dog, with some oyster shell recovered too. A complete lower quernstone and fragments of at least two other querns show that grain was being processed. Other finds included two coins, an early Roman brooch and a snake-headed bracelet.