Element Group record MCC395 - Roman and later features, Middleborough, Colchester


Roman and later features discovered during excavations at Middleborough (Cattle Market) in 1979.


Grid reference TL 99346 25551 (point)
Map sheet TL92NE
1848 Parish ST PETER
County ESSEX


Type and Period (3)

Full Description

During excavations at Middleborough in 1979 (ECC335) and a subsequent watching brief (ECC1289) during construction work in 1979, Roman and later features were recovered in addition to the main buildings, streets and other structures.

The area of ground immediately to the north of MCC368 (CAT Building 70) was not examined in any detail although limited surface cleaning of the latest Roman deposits indicated no robber trenches or foundations. However, the presence of substantial layers of make-up material and occupation was indicated in the northern robber trench of MCC368 suggesting the existence in this area of buildings similar to MCC365 and MCC367.

Early medieval activity on the site included robber trenches from the 12th century, possibly when the kilns of this date were still in operation. The latest robber trenches probably belong to the 14th century and may have been dug to obtain materials for MCC426.

Other post-Roman remains included a shallow sub-rectangular pit or depression which had a shallow slot around its perimeter. The purpose of this structure was unclear although it may have been a sunken floor of a building or hut, possibly associated with the early medieval kilns.

During trenching on the site of the multi-storey car park to the north, the bottom of a large post preserved in situ was recovered from waterlogged levels. An uncorrected radiocarbon date of AD 1350-1490 was obtained for the timber.

Post-medieval features included a stone-lined well situated in the north-east corner of back gardens of a row of houses which fronted the north side of Balkerne Lane. The well was probably built no later than the 16th or 17th century and was backfilled in the 19th century, probably when the market was built. A concentration of post-medieval pits over the southern half of the site also reflected the position of the back gardens of houses north of Balkerne Lane.<1> These houses are depicted on Monson's map of 1848 but it was not possible to say how much earlier they may have been.<2>

During the period of the watching brief a workman claimed that six or seven wooden stakes were uncovered during excavations for the basement which seemed to follow the southern edge of the Roman street (MCC417).<3>

Sources/Archives (3)

  • <1> Serial: Crummy, Philip. 1981. CAR 3: Excavations at Lion Walk, Balkerne Lane and Middleborough, Colchester, Essex. 3. pp.155-209.
  • <2> Cartographic materials: Monson, E (Mr). 1848. Colchester 1848. 13.3 " to the mile.
  • <3> Monograph: Crummy, Philip. 1992. CAR 6: Excavations at Culver Street, the Gilberd School, and other sites in Colchester 1971-85. 6. p.877.

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

Record last edited

Oct 19 2016 8:18AM

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