Monument record MCC1356 - Lexden Tumulus, Fitzwalter Road, Colchester


Wealthy late Iron Age burial mound in the gardens of 30 & 36 Fitzwalter Road, Colchester, excavated by Laver & Laver in 1924.


Grid reference Centred TL 97533 24727 (48m by 48m)
Map sheet TL92SE
County ESSEX


Type and Period (1)

Full Description

Late Iron Age burial mound (with a date of c.15-10BC) excavated in 1924, containing the grave of a wealthy individual with a rich assemblage of grave goods including: rare cast figurines, chain mail, a folding stool, a Middle Bronze Age copper alloy axe head wrapped in cloth, 17 amphorae and a silver medallion of Augustus. The mound is currently visible in the gardens of two properties (30 & 36 Fitzwalter Road).

Prior to its excavation in 1924 (see ECC770) the mound 'appeared to be circular with a maximum height of 9ft at the centre, and a diameter of about 100ft'. On excavation by Philip and Henry Laver the mound was found to be constructed of local gravel and to be surrounded by a ditch which was 5.5ft across and 2.5ft deep on the east side and 9ft across and 3ft deep on the west. The grave was found slightly to the west of the centre and consisted of an oval excavation 30ft long and 18ft wide with a floor surface approximately 7ft below the original surface and 13ft 6 in. beneath the top of the mound. The floor of the grave-pit contained four smaller pits two of which were thought to have been created during an earlier disturbance of the tumulus.

The objects discovered in the grave included the remains of a wide range of expensive personal and domestic objects which appeared to have been damaged prior to their burial. The objects recovered included: fragments of burnt human bone, pottery, iron, bronze and silver objects, traces of gold, leather clothing and small fragments of horn. Laver concluded that the burial was of a 'Romanized Celtic noble or chieftain who died some time during the Cunobelin regime at Colchester'.<1> The Lexden Tumulus is now dated to c.15-10 BC; for a reassessment of this first excavation and the burial see <2>.

Excavations in 1973 and a watching brief (see ECC407 and ECC1151) failed to locate the barrow ditch and did not 'add significantly to our present knowledge of the barrow'.<3><4>

Discussion of the palstave from the Lexden Tumulus recently published in the Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society in a study of Bronze Age artefacts from Iron Age contexts.<5>

Sources/Archives (5)

  • <1> Serial: Laver, Philip G.. 1927. The Excavation of a Tumulus at Lexden, Colchester. Volume 76, January 1927, pp.241-254.. pp.241-254.
  • <2> Serial: Foster, Jennifer. 1986. The Lexden Tumulus: A re-appraisal of an Iron Age burial from Colchester, Essex. BAR British Series 156.
  • <3> Serial: Hawkes, Christopher, F. C. & Crummy, Philip. 1995. CAR 11: Camulodunum II. 11. pp.85-94 & 127-130.
  • <4> Watching Brief Report: Pooley, Laura (CAT). 2004. Report on the negative watching brief at Lexden Tumulus, 30 Fitzwalter Road, Colchester, Essex.
  • <5> Article in serial: Prehistoric Society. 2009. Esoteric knowledge? Ancient bronze artefacts from Iron Age contexts. 75. Hingley, R.C., pp.143-165.

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Record last edited

Dec 16 2019 7:52AM

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