Element record MCC2956 - Roman cremation burial


Urned cremation burial found with hand-mirror and coins.


Grid reference TL 98544 24763 (point)
Map sheet TL92SE
County ESSEX


Type and Period (1)

Full Description

Two definite and two probable Roman urned cremation burials were disturbed during the groundworks at Merly House in 2004 (the others are ELM1410, ELM1412 and ELM1413).

The most interesting cremation found during the watching brief was located in a foundation trench for the new garage. It consisted of a circular pit containing a centrally placed cremation urn with a flagon next to it. There appeared to be a burnt area on the western side of the feature. Fragments of charcoal and cremated bone along with an iron nail and melted glass were recovered from the fill.

Burnt finds from the funeral pyre included a bone hairpin and fragments from a ring-handle from a box which were found within the cremation urn. Both the urn and the flagon were excavated; the flagon may have contained liquid when it was deposited in the burial. The urn contained cremated bone and a small copper-alloy hand-mirror with wood fragments adhering to the back of it which may derive from a comb or wooden case. Three coins had also been placed next to the mirror in the base of the urn, with the emperor’s head facing downwards. This cremation can be dated to c. AD 77-85.

The cremated bone is from an individual aged between 15 and 23 years of age. The coins found in the burial may have been chosen for their protective images, which would suggest the individual was at the younger end of the age range. The presence of the mirror indicates a female burial. <1>

Sources/Archives (1)

  • <1> Watching Brief Report: Orr, Kate (CAT). 2005. An archaeological watching brief at Merly House, 21 West Lodge Road, Colchester, Essex, March-June 2004. CAT Report 293, pg 3-5.

Finds (2)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Aug 29 2008 12:06PM

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