Scheduled Monument: Kidman's Dyke North and Middle: part of the Iron Age territorial oppidum of Camulodunum (1019991)

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Authority Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)
Date assigned 10 August 1923
Date last amended 02 September 2002


The monument includes the buried and upstanding remains of parts of the middle and northern segments of a late Iron Age linear boundary earthwork, or dyke, named after Mr Kidman who owned part of the land along its route at the time of its investigation in the 1950s. The division of the dyke into three parts (Kidman’s Dyke North, Middle and South) follows the terminology used in archaeological publications. This visible section of the dyke is located some 3.5km south west of Colchester town centre and extends over a distance of about 280m between the Wallis Court housing estate and the Shrub End landfill site. The dyke follows a north-south alignment for 190m south of James Carter Road, where it is known as the southern part of Kidman’s Dyke North. It then turns to the south west and runs for 90m towards the minor lane leading to Brickwall Farm, this stretch being the northern part of Kidman’s Dyke Middle. The bank (or rampart) along the eastern side of the boundary was partly denuded by gravel quarrying to the recent landfill operation. The western scarp nonetheless survives fully intact, measuring some 10m in width and rising 2.5 above the base of the partly infilled ditch. During archaeological excavations, sections were cut across the earthwork in at least six places between the 1950s and 1978. In each case, however, the excavations were either extremely limited or the records incomplete. The most recent excavation demonstrated that the ditch measured 10m across and allowed the original depth to be estimated at 4m. Kidman’s Dyke is part of the western boundary of the territorial oppidum of Camulodunum, positioned to surround the western side if the high status farmstead and associated field systems at Gosbecks. The middle section of Kidman’s Dyke continues south of the lane leading to Brickwall Farm (where it is scheduled as part of the Gosbecks complex) and combines with Kidman’s Dyke South to enclose one phase in the settlement’s development. The earliest settlement at Gosbecks (dated to around 50-25 BC) is thought to have been bounded by the Heath Farm Dyke; this followed a parallel course inside Kidman’s Dyke before extending towards Lexden Dyke and the Iron Age industrial complex at Sheepen to the north east. Kidman’s Dyke is believed to have superseded or reinforced the southern part of this boundary. The continuation of the dyke to the north wets of the landfill site (not included in the scheduling) was examined between 1973 and 1976 prior to housing development. These excavations indicated that the dyke was constructed to enhance the oppidum’s defences in the early first century AD (perhaps in response to local unrest or the increasing threat of Roman invasion). Lesser ditches found abutting the dyke suggest that it also formed part of an irregular pattern of stock enclosures in the late Iron Age or early Roman period, and it appears that the northern spur may have been integrated into a system of additional defensive boundaries (Dugard Dyke, Shrub End/Triple Dyke) created under Roman administration. It is possible that the northern section of Kidman’s Dyke (which has only been recorded as far as Lexden Straight Road) curved south again toward Heath Farm Dyke, perhaps even accounting for the convergence of banks recorded as a ‘Roman Camp’ by the Reverend Henry Jenkins in 1843. The expansion of houses across this area in the earlier part of the 20th century has, however, removed all visible traces of these features. All fences and fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included. <1>

External Links (1)

Sources (1)

  • Scheduling record: Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). 2002. Kidman's Dyke North and Middle: part of the Iron Age territorial oppidum of Camulodunum. Source 1.



Grid reference Centred TL 9640 2330 (93m by 268m)
Map sheet TL92SE

Related Monuments/Buildings (3)

Record last edited

Nov 6 2019 4:47PM

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