Site Event/Activity record ECC3852 - Site A excavation at the former Meeanee & Hyderabad Barracks, Colchester, 2011


Location Colchester Garrison Alienated Land Area A1 (former Meeanee & Hyderabad Barracks), Mersea Road, Colchester
Grid reference Centred TL 99968 24527 (90m by 44m)
Map sheet TL92SE
County ESSEX



Colchester Archaeological Trust Ltd


April and June 2011



Site A (2,580m²), in the northwest corner of the development area, was designed to incorporate 2010 trenches T1 to T3, which had revealed Roman burials and post-medieval ditches. A ring-ditch in T1 was thought to be either burial-related, or associated with a post-medieval post-mill.<1> The stripping of the western side of Site A in April 2011 followed the demolition of the 1930s military structure, whose original construction may have led to the discovery of the Anglo-Saxon cremation urn reported from this site (CAR 1, 14, fig 17). The remainder of the area was not available until June 2011, following the demolition of the vehicle hangars on the northern wall of the barracks. Site A contained a group of 84 burials (14 cremations and 70 inhumations), nine of which (a cremation and eight inhumations) were within partial or complete ring-ditches. Five burials contained grave-goods including Anglo-Saxon shield bosses, spear heads, knives and beads. The cremations contained finds spanning the 1st-4th centuries, but may focus on the 2nd/3rd centuries. Two Roman burials (a cremation and a female inhumation) were underneath what appeared to be a robbed-out mausoleum, and a robbed-out tomb-base respectively. The ring-ditches formed a band across the northern side of Site A and where associated finds were recovered are of mid/late 6th to early 7th century Anglo-Saxon date. Two very substantial ditches were interpreted as part of a fort constructed in the Civil War of 1648. Finds in the ditches and the discovery of lead musket balls confirm this supposition. There is no fort in this position on the Colchester Siege Map, but it may be a forward position established to the north of Fort Needham. The site remained unused after the Civil War until the building of the garrison.

Sources/Archives (1)

  • <1> EXCAV REPORT: Brooks, Howard. 2016. A Late Iron Age dyke, Roman and Anglo-Saxon burials, a Roman coin hoard, and a Civil War fort: Stage 1b archaeological evaluation and Stage 2 excavation at Colchester Garrison Alienated Land Area A1. CAT Report 628, pp.9-48.

Related Monuments/Buildings (3)

  • Anglo-Saxon Cemetery, Mersea Road, Colchester (Monument)
  • Civil War siegeworks, former Meeanee & Hyderabad Barracks (Site A), Colchester (Monument)
  • Roman and Anglo-Saxon burials, former Meeanee & Hyderabad Barracks (Site A), Colchester (Monument)

Record last edited

Dec 15 2016 9:35AM

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