Site Event/Activity record ECC1883 - Watching Brief at Sixth Form College, North Hill, Colchester, 1997


Location Sixth Form College, North Hill, Colchester
Grid reference Centred TL 9930 2531 (16m by 45m)
Map sheet TL92NE



Colchester Archaeological Trust Ltd


July to August 1997



A watching brief was undertaken during the rebuilding of the eastern end of the main school block. Building work on a small extension on the north-east corner of the college revealed considerable modern destruction including a maze of service trenches. In the bottom of the latter, an early Roman military plinth survived relatively intact at a depth of just over 1.5m. It was of diagnostic pebble-and-mortar construction, approximately 0.8m wide, and was aligned north-south. The plinth was traced from the contractor's north section southwards for slightly over 2m, where it was cut by a modern foundation. The upper surface of the plinth had been damaged by the contractors, although it survived intact in section at a depth of 1.43m (approximately 22.35mOD) below the modern ground level. The plinth appeared to cut natural sand, and was sealed by a layer of clean, brown sandy loam 0.42m thick, which was probably either demolition debris or early colonial make-up. It was not possible to establish whether any associated layers, such as floors, survived to either side of the plinth. The plinth lay approximately 51.7- 53.7m north of barrack block excavated in 1984-5. The former was probably part of the eastern end of an east-west barrack block, but belonged to the cohortal group of six barracks to the north of the group which included that found in 1984-5. Due to the vacant areas left within the fortress, the exact layout of the more northerly group remains unclear, although the 1997 plinth may be part of the second barrack from the south, a back-to-back barrack connected to the third barrack. There was also slight evidence in the contractor's north section for a robbed-out, later Roman east-west foundation. In addition to characteristic robbing debris, there was also a possible bedding layer of compacted gravel with some mortar and stone fragments. This was traced for approximately 3m and the southern edge of the foundation was perhaps discernable in the bottom of the contractor's trench. Presumably this foundation belonged to the Roman building previously uncovered (Hull 1958, 93-7). A small quantity of unstratified finds, mainly Roman pottery and bone (X (713)) was recovered from the spoil excavated from these contractor's trenches. Three large quern fragments (X)714)) of probable Roman date , were also found.<1>

Sources/Archives (1)

  • <1> Evaluation Report: Benfield, Stephen (CAT). 1997. AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL EVALUATION AT ELD LANE, COLCHESTER.. 7/97G.

Related Monuments/Buildings (3)

  • Roman Barrack Block, Legionary Fortress, Sixth Form College, North Hill, Colchester (Monument)
  • Roman building at the Colchester Sixth Form College, Colchester (Monument)
  • Roman street between Insula 9a & 17a, the Gilberd School, Colchester (Monument)

Record last edited

Feb 9 2016 12:52PM

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