Site Event/Activity record ECC1952 - Trial-trenched evaluation of Queen St. Bus Station, Colchester, 1990


Location Bus Station, Queen Street, Colchester
Grid reference Centred TM 0002 2508 (103m by 86m)
Map sheet TM02NW



Colchester Archaeological Trust Ltd


August/September 1990



During late August and September 1990, trial excavations were carried out at Queen Street Bus Station, prompted by proposals for major redevelopment of the site. The 1990 excavations were limited to five small trenches, their locations largely dictated by a need to probe areas close to the periphery of the site. The first trench was located in the south-west corner of the bus station, 2.5m east of the Eastern National Bus compound and measured 8.8m by 1.2m. After removal of the modern concrete ground slab, an accumulation of post-Roman soil was found to extend to an overall depth of 1.1m. Structural features were absent. Beneath this soil were deposits of destruction debris containing Roman roof and building tile, mortar and stone fragments some of which filled an east-west ditch located at the southern end of the trench. Roman levels were located at a depth of 1.1m (20.65m OD). Features including two east-west wall foundations, a baby burial and a drain were located. It is likely that the same drain was previously located in 1931 (see ECC812). Excavation ceased at a depth of 1.6 m (20.15m OD). The second trench adjoined the north side of the town wall at a point 32 m east of Bastion V and measured 2.9 m by 1.2 m. The excavation was extended to a depth of 1.4m (21.2m OD) revealing the walls north face in an excellent state of preservation, although the Roman earth rampart was in poor condition. The third trench adjoined the north side of the town wall at a point 97.5m east of Bastion V and measured 3.2m by 1m. The north face of the wall was revealed and excavation ceased at a depth of 1.4m (20.02m OD) Immediately north of the wall, modern fill was found to extend to within 50mm of the Roman rampart, which was uncovered at a depth of 1.95m (20.47m OD). Trench 4 was adjacent to the south-east corner of the multi-storey car park and measured 7.95m by 1.2m. The modern ground slab extended to a depth of 0.7m below which was a 0.8 m thick post-Roman accumulation of dark sandy loam. At a depth of 1.2 m a scatter of Roman destruction debris was encountered sealing a thin spread of gravel which in turn covered a deposit of dumped material. Excavation ceased at 1.8m (19.25m OD). The fifth and final trench was located in the north-western part of the bus station and measured 6.5m by 1.2m. Modern surfacing sealed a 0.65m thick accumulation of post-Roman topsoil below which was an expanse of clayey destruction debris cut by medieval robber trenches. These trenches defined the small parts of four rooms belonging to a Roman building. Excavation beyond this point was highly selective and governed by the need to establish the condition of the rooms whilst minimising disturbance to the remains. The destruction debris proved to be comprised largely of collapsed clay walling which contained hundreds of wall-plaster fragments. Complete lengths of wall-plaster were also found in situ which was left for future recovery. Excavation ceased at a depth of 1.05m (21.75m OD) except where deeper features were dug to a depth of up to 2.5m. Prior to reinstatement, the bottom of each trench was lined with polythene sheeting and the lower part of the fifth trench was filled with sand to protect the wall-plaster.<1>

Sources/Archives (1)

  • <1> Evaluation Report: Colchester Archaeological Trust Ltd.. 1990. The Archaeological Aspects of a Redevelopment of the Queen Street Bus Station and Car Park.

Related Monuments/Buildings (7)

  • Rampart of the Roman town walls, Colchester (Monument)
  • Roman baby burial, Queen Street Bus Station, Colchester (Element)
  • Roman building, Bus Garage, Queen Street, Colchester (Monument)
  • Roman drain, Eastern National Bus Depot, Queen Street, Colchester (Element)
  • Roman wall foundation, Bus Garage, Queen Street, Colchester (Element)
  • Roman wall foundation, Bus Garage, Queen Street, Colchester (Element)
  • Town Wall, Colchester (Monument)

Record last edited

Feb 9 2016 11:45AM

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