Monument record MCC593 - Roman building, Balkerne Hill, Colchester


Roman house (CAT Building 59) discovered during excavations at Balkerne Lane in 1973-6.


Grid reference TL 99176 25118 (point)
Map sheet TL92NE
1848 Parish ST PETER


Type and Period (3)

Full Description

Extensive excavations at Balkerne Lane in 1973-6 (ECC332) revealed the well-preserved remains of a Roman house (CATrust Building 59) situated about 17m south of the main Colchester to London road (MCC475) and to the rear of another, contemporary building (MCC573) which fronted directly onto the street. Only part of the building was available for excavation in an area which included a total of 10 identifiable rooms. The buildings foundations were mostly intact and the floors were sealed by a layer up to 50mm thick of daub and wall plaster left after the demolition of the house.

The excavation showed that the north-east corner of the building and upper part of its northern foundation had been destroyed when St Mary's Terrace and the houses to either side were built in the 19th century, the area between the two opposing terraces having been substantially lowered. Another part of the house had been damaged by H. Laver’s archaeological investigation (ECC626) in 1876 which revealed a mosaic pavement (see MCC590) adjacent to the eastern side of the building.

The buildings walls were timber-framed with ground-plates set on stone and mortar foundations. Substantial quantities of painted wall plaster were recovered from the floors of several rooms and in three of them the remains of quarter-rounded mouldings survived at the bottoms of walls. Along the north side of the north wall, part of a timber drain survived and on the buildings south side, a metalled backyard was suggested by greensand chips.

All the floors were made of mortar and showed different phases of the houses development. Three principal structural phases were identified and the house was finally demolished no later than the mid third century AD.<1>

Sources/Archives (1)

  • <1> Monograph: Crummy, Philip. 1981. CAR 3: Excavations at Lion Walk, Balkerne Lane and Middleborough, Colchester, Essex. 3. pp.130-132.

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Oct 18 2016 8:11AM

Comments and Feedback

Do you have any more information about this record? Please feel free to comment with information and photographs, or ask any questions, using the "Disqus" tool below. Comments are moderated, and we aim to respond/publish as soon as possible.