Monument record MCC1658 - Roman building, 5a Queen Street (Insula 31), Colchester


Roman building discovered during excavations at 5 Queen Street, 1966.


Grid reference TL 99990 25193 (point)
Map sheet TL92NE
County ESSEX


Type and Period (3)

Full Description

A substantial Roman, multi-phased masonry building was discovered during excavations at 5 Queen Street in 1966 (ECC663). In its initial phase the building was represented by the foundations and lowest course of the superstructure of two walls built of septaria and mortar. The foundations had been sunk two and half feet into the subsoil and the above ground the wall was three feet thick so that the building had obviously been a substantial structure. A contemporary room on the east side of the building was entered via a carefully finished doorway in one of the walls. It had a floor of thin clay.
The buildings second phase saw an extension to the earlier building with the addition of three further walls, a feature of which were buttresses or pilaster bases at intervals along two of the walls. Only one was preserved intact the others being marked by robber trenches. The earlier doorway was blocked up with a flimsy foundation of drystone, septaria chips and a blocking wall of septaria and mortar. Two mortar floors were also laid, one of which was cobbled.

The buildings third and final phase saw the enlargement of the rooms of the previous phase. The south end of one wall was demolished and the base of a hypocaust was laid over its footing. Almost all traces of the hypocaust had been removed by tile robbers leaving only a distinctive grid pattern in the soot which covered the base. The hypocaust appeared to have underlain a mosaic floor. North of the hypocaust a second wall was demolished and two opus signinum floors were laid over it, separated by a flimsy partition of unbaked clay. One of these floors may have been the base for a second hypocaust. A third wall was also demolished and a tiled floor laid over it, which had also been extensively robbed.

The dimensions of the walls of the building suggest that it was not a private house but ‘one of considerable importance', possibly a public building of some kind.

The dating evidence for the building was difficult to assess as stratified material was almost non-existent. A date within the second century was suggested by the excavator for the earliest phases, and the building was overlain by a later Roman structure (MCC1659).<1>

Sources/Archives (1)

  • <1> Article in serial: Dunnett, B.R.K.. 1971. Excavations in Colchester, 1964-8. Transactions of the Essex Archaeological Society Vol. 3, Part 1. pp.87-89.

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

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Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Jan 23 2017 4:04PM

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