Monument record MCC604 - Roman Temple Precinct, Sheepen, Colchester

Summary

Roman Temple Precinct, Enclosure Wall, St Helena School, recorded during excavations in 1935.

Location

Grid reference TL 98816 25862 (point)
Map sheet TL92NE
Non Parish Area COLCHESTER, COLCHESTER, ESSEX

Map

Type and Period (2)

Full Description

A large walled precinct surrounded the Romano-Celtic temple at St Helena School. The Precinct was trenched by the Colchester Excavation Committee during their extensive excavations at Sheepen in 1935. The complex was dated to the end of the 1st century AD. The temenos wall enclosed more than three acres, apparently encompassing an external altar and additional stone building as well as the Temple itself (MCC605). See report for full details.<1>

A watching brief was undertaken at St Helena School, Sheepen Road when a single engineers trial pit was dug to the east of the temple, within the temenos. No discernable features were observed.<2>

A watching brief was maintained during groundwork necessary for the redevelopment of two courtyard areas. Contractors trenches were dug for strip foundations mainly in the eastern half of the east courtyard and the western half of the west courtyard. Archaeological remains were sparse, but the gravelled surface of the precinct of temple 2 was found extensively over much of the area trenched at the eastern end of the east courtyard. The gravelled surface was found to be 0.7-0.9m below the modern ground level. The gravel layer (approx 5-10 cm thick) was sealed by topsoil and sealed a deposit of London clay, approximately 0.5 m thick, which in turn sealed natural sand. The gravelled surface was also noted in the western courtyard, notably in the south-west corner, where it was 0.35-0.5m deep, again sealed by topsoil and sealing London clay. A possible Roman pit was noted in section in this area.<3>

Three small trial holes revealed gravel surfaces which formed the surface of the walled precinct around Temple 2 at Sheepen. The following sequence was recovered from each of the three holes: 0-300 mm = topsoil, 300-600mm = sequence of gravel surfaces inside the Roman temple precinct, 600/900-1000mm = 'cover loam' containing pottery and other finds including glass fragments - cut by some early features, 900/1000+ mm = natural sand and gravel.<4><5>

In 1926 a water main was laid across the south side of OS field 613, heavy Roman masonry was recorded, but the exact location was not recorded. (Later located and excavated by the Colchester Excavation Committee in 1935). The water main is shown on Hull's plan, p.225 in 'Roman Colchester'.<6>

Sources/Archives (6)

  • <1> Monograph: Hull, M. Rex. 1958. Roman Colchester: Reports of the Research Committee of the Society of Antiquaries of London. No. XX. p233.
  • <2> Unpublished document: Colchester Archaeological Trust Ltd. 1985-1995. Colchester Archaeological Trust Unpublished Archive. 7/94c.
  • <3> Unpublished document: Colchester Archaeological Trust Ltd. 1985-1995. Colchester Archaeological Trust Unpublished Archive. 2/89a.
  • <4> Serial: The Essex Society for Archaeology and History. 1988. Vol. 19 (Third Series) Essex Archaeology and History. Vol. 19. p.264.
  • <5> Unpublished document: Colchester Archaeological Trust Ltd. 1985-1995. Colchester Archaeological Trust Unpublished Archive. 3/1987/D.
  • <6> Monograph: Hull, M. Rex. 1958. Roman Colchester: Reports of the Research Committee of the Society of Antiquaries of London. No. XX. p225.

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (7)

Record last edited

Oct 27 2016 1:36PM

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