Element Group record MCC3066 - Two pits north of the Medieval Abbey Church of St John's, Colchester


Two pits, one possibly a backfilled quarry pit, defined in evaluation trial-trench T1 in 2010-11. Possibly Roman or medieval in date.


Grid reference TL 99 24 (point)
Map sheet TL92SE
County ESSEX


Type and Period (1)

Full Description

Small, round pit, the edge of which was red as it had been scorched. The fill of the pit contained abundant small frags (inclusions) of shell. The shell included oyster, cockle, mussels and winkles. Pit appeared to be cut into the fill of a huge pit which also contained lots of small shell frags, in particular one ‘tip-line’ which was dense with shell. A second small pit, F29 was similar.

Probably a very large pit. Possibly a backfilled quarry. Based on depth and location would pos make sense to be medieval but all the finds (and there were a few) point towards Roman date (Mid/Late 2nd - Mid 3rd century) for the deposit. Chance it is just deposited soil incorporating lots of Roman material, perhaps dumped there by the monks during the removal of the hillock. However, when the base of the trench was cleaned it looked as if there were distinct fill ‘tip-lines’ in the base of the trench. It is uncertain whether the entirety of T1 was excavated into F27. If so, then there are five distinct fills or ‘tip-line’. It is possible, however, that the deposit of dark soil in the south-east is not part of the feature and is in fact just a dark soil/topsoil deposit, perhaps akin to L3 in T2-5 or perhaps from the deposition of soil here by the monks. It is known from previous work that the deposits in this area are deep (PC’s WB. A small section was excavated by hand through F27 to a depth of below 1m below ground level it was still homogenous dark soil. Fill A had lots of shell, Fill B had absolutely loads in a dark yellow/brown sand.

A- medium brown soil, quite a bit of shell.
B- Light brown soil with abundant shell
C- Mottled clay/soil with frags of building material.
D- Darker brown soil
E- Very dark brown/grey soil, mottled with clay/sand, lots of building material frags.

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Record last edited

Jan 10 2017 9:47AM

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