Colchester Archaeological Trust
CAT Report 1771: summary
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Archaeological excavation at 2-3 Priory Street, Colchester, Essex, CO1 2PY: May 2020-October 2021
by Laura Pooley
(with contributions from Dr Matthew Loughton and Megan Seehra)
Date report completed: February 2022
Location: 2-3 Priory Street, Colchester, Essex, CO1 2PY
Map reference(s): TM 00010 25007 (centre)
File size: 17079 kb
Project type: Excavation
Significance of the results:
Keywords: Priory Street Colchester
Archaeological excavation took place at 2-3 Priory Street, Colchester, Essex in advance of groundworks for an extension and internal alterations. Eleven trenches were excavated, totalling an area of only 22.4 square metres, with natural encountered between 1.7m and 2.67m deep. The site lies immediately south of the Roman walled town and within the precinct of St Botolph's Priory. Previous archaeological discoveries on the development site in 2014, 2017 and 2018 indicate that the site is located within a medieval cemetery connected to the Priory.
Human remains from at least another 52 individuals were recovered during this phase of excavation. These remains came from 24 in situ inhumation burials but also included a large quantity of disarticulated bone. Most of the burials appear to be of medieval date but two were found cut into a layer dating from the 17th to 18th centuries, showing that the cemetery continued in use after the dissolution of the monasteries. Analysis of the remains showed that they ranged in age from infants to mature adults, included more women than men, and presented a variety of interesting pathologies and trauma.
The remains of two east/west Roman wall foundations were also uncovered. One was at least 12m long, 0.55-0.6m wide and made of small fragments of greensand stone, septaria and brick/tile set in a loose bed of mortar. The other was at least 5m long and made of large flint nodules and occasional fragments of septaria and greensand stone set in an off-white mortar. Roman building debris from the site included brick, roofing tile, flue-tile, tesserae cubes, opus signinum and painted wall plaster.