Element record MCC2994 - Roman inhumation burial, Area C2X, Garrison Urban Village, Colchester


Roman inhumation burial, with the skull placed under the lower legs, recorded by evaluation (Trench 3) in 2004.


Grid reference TL 9968 2445 (point)
Map sheet TL92SE
County ESSEX


Type and Period (1)

Full Description

Flexed inhumation burial (CF27, Grave 1), skeleton positioned on its side with head placed under lower legs. The top of the skeleton was truncated by a modern service trench.<1><5>
The report (pp.221-222) records, 'Inhumation burial CF27 was located within grave 1. The grave was aligned north-west to south-east but the north-west end of the grave had been completely cut away. The surviving grave measured 1.3m by 0.53m and was 0.14m deep. Inhumated human bone: Approximately 50% of the skeleton (1960g) had survived within the grave, consisting of the lower body and skull from a young adult (20-35 years) who was possibly female and measured 173.3cm +/- 3.72cm. The skull/head appears to have been decapitated from the body and buried under the feet, although little evidence for severance of the head prior to death or decomposition was recorded on the skull. Residual finds: Pottery sherds, some tile and a single animal bone fragment. Date: Late 2nd to the mid-late 3rd century + (based on the date of the residual pottery sherds).
The practice of decapitating the head of the deceased post-mortem using a scalpel has been identified elsewhere in Colchester's Roman cemeteries and other sites in the country.<2><3><4>

Sources/Archives (5)

  • <1> Evaluation Report: Orr, Kate (CAT). 2004. An archaeological evaluation by trial-trenching at Area C1X and Area C2X of the Garrison Urban Village, Colchester, Essex. CAT Report 271, pp. 6 & 10.
  • <2> Monograph: Crummy, Philip. 1992. CAR 6: Excavations at Culver Street, the Gilberd School, and other sites in Colchester 1971-85. 6. p.378.
  • <3> Serial: Crummy, Philip. 1993. CAR 9:Excavations of Roman and later cemeteries, churches and monastic sites in Colchester, 1971-8. 9.
  • <4> EXCAV REPORT: Pooley, L., Holloway, B., Crummy, P. (CAT) and Masefield, R. (RPS Grp). 2006. Assessment report on the archaeological investigations carried out on Areas C1, C2, E, J1, O, Q and S1 of the Alienated Land, Colchester Garrison, including the Time Team trenches and the Alienated Land watching brief. CAT Report 361, p.30.
  • <5> EXCAV REPORT: Pooley, L., Crummy, P., Shimmin, D., Brooks., H., Holloway, B. and Masefield, R.. 2011. Archaeological investigations on the 'Alienated Land', Colchester Garrison, Colchester, Essex. CAT Report 412, pp.221-222.

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Jan 4 2017 3:07PM

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