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Remedial archaeological investigations were undertaken at 2-3 Priory Street, Colchester, in March 2017 following the excavation of foundations for a new extension (CBC planning application 140569). All of the foundations for the internal alterations and new extensions, measuring c.0.6m wide x 2.5m deep, had been excavated and filled with concrete prior to archaeological investigation. The spoil from these foundations had been dumped in the yard to raise ground level and joists had started to be laid over them to form the base of the new ground floor rooms. All of the dumped spoil from the foundations was re-excavated by hand and sifted for human remains and other archaeological finds. The excavations uncovered a total of 1,600 pieces of human bone, weighing 25kg. The disturbed remains of a minimum of 11, possibly 12, human skeletons were recovered from the spoil, probably from a cemetery most likely associated with St Botolph's Priory cemetery. The individuals ranged in age from infancy to mature adulthood. Four or five of these individuals were determined to be male and one was female, the rest were of indeterminate gender.
Ages varied considerably with babies and young children, a teenager, adults and the elderly. The remains showed evidence of degenerative wear (predominantly on vertebrae), arthritis, dental attrition, and cranial thickening in one fragment of skull, likely as a consequence of Paget’s Disease or possibly due to iron deficiency anaemia. Animal bone and a piece of worked bone were also recovered (a single piece of worked sheep/goat metatarsal, trimmed to form a squared shaft and was polished from working).<1>
The work followed evaluation in 2014 (ECC2882) and was followed by further archaeological investigations in 2018 (ECC4149).
EXCAV REPORT: Pooley, Laura and Hicks, Elliott. 2017. Archaeological recovery excavation at 2-3 Priory Street, Colchester, Essex, CO1 2PY. CAT Report 1138.
Related Monuments/Buildings (2)
MCC9297Inhumation cemetery to the north of St Botolph's Priory Church, Colchester (Monument)
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