Element Group record MCC3051 - Medieval occupation features, north of Elmstead Road, Colchester


Medieval features, comprising ditches aligned NNW/SSE and ENE/WSW, including a possible track/droveway, were defined by archaeological evaluation in 2014 and 2018 and by strip, map and record excavation in 2018, indicating activity and occupation over several phases. Apart from a small quantity of residual prehistoric and Roman material, the more closely-datable finds assemblage (primarily pottery) dates between the 11th to late 15th/early 16th centuries.


Grid reference TM 0220 2441 (point)
Map sheet TM02SW


Type and Period (3)

Full Description

In 2014, evaluation trench T5, located in the eastern half of the site, contained a medieval pit F1, which had a medieval sherd and a brick fragment in its fill. Three medieval ditches, F2, F4 and F5, and natural pit F3, were defined in T6 at the eastern end of the site. The parallel medieval ditches were aligned NW to SE, and were interpreted as a possible trackway associated with Salary Brook Farm, to the south. Most of the finds were recovered from ditch fills and the most closely dated (pottery) are medieval, dating to the period of the 11/12th-14th century and a single sherd to the 15th-16th century. A single sherd of medieval pottery was recovered with pieces of a large flat tile-like brick from a pit in Trench 5 (F1). Two objects were recorded as small finds - a piece of quernstone (SF1) and an iron, tanged knife (SF2). Both are from F4 (T6).<1>

Two trial trenches (30m long in total x 1.8m wide) were excavated in February 2018 (CBC planning application 172943). Five medieval ditches, one medieval gully, one medieval pit, one medieval pit or ditch and an undated pit were defined, indicating activity and occupation at this site over two phases. Apart from one small sherd of Roman pottery from F14 (T8) and a small piece of probable Roman tile from F12 (T8), the more closely-datable finds are medieval pottery dating to the 13th to 15th/16th centuries.<2>

A strip, map and record excavation was undertaken in May 2018, across an area c.0.14ha. in size. Several ditches, aligned NNW/SSE and ENE/WSW, were defined (previously defined by the evaluations), including a possible track/droveway. These could be the remains of ditched field boundaries but they could relate to domestic occupation/settlement (given the finds assemblage). At least one large quarry pit and a number of pits, of varying sizes, were defined. The finds assemblage comprised pottery (120 sherds weighing c.16kg) dating between the 11th century to late 15th/early 16th century, belt buckle, knife blade, roof tile (29 fragments), a piece of floor tile, two pieces of brick, a large piece of slag (c.700g), three fragments (85g) of lava quernstone, three oyster shells, burnt flint, a small assemblage of animal bone (six fragments) and rework charred plant remains. There was also a large quantity of fired clay (c.5.4kg), with particular concentrations in pits F22, F29 and F43 and smaller groups in pits F24 and F25, which may derive from an oven or hearth (deposited after disuse).<3>

Sources/Archives (3)

  • <1> Evaluation Report: Holloway, Ben (CAT). 2014. Archaeological trial-trenching evaluation: land north of Elmstead Road, Colchester, Essex, February 2014. CAT Report 759.
  • <2> Evaluation Report: Hicks, Elliott. 2018. Archaeological evaluation at Hammonds, land north of Elmstead Road/east of Swan Close, Colchester, Essex, CO4 3BL. CAT Report 1233.
  • <3> EXCAV REPORT: Pooley, Laura. 2018. Archaeological excavation at Hammonds, land north of Elmstead Road/east of Swan Close, Colchester, Essex, CO4 3BL. CAT Report 1296.

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (3)

Record last edited

Jul 10 2018 3:31PM

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