Monument record MCC689 - Roman building (CAT Building 19), Lion Walk, Colchester


Roman courtyard-house with two mosaics (CAT Building 19), recorded during the major excavations, 1971-4.


Grid reference Centred TL 9970 2505 (21m by 22m)
Map sheet TL92NE


Type and Period (16)

Full Description

Courtyard-house, only the rear (i.e. west end, as the building fronted the street on the east side of Insula 36) of which was available for excavation. The house was built c.AD 150 and was of two phases, the second being represented by the addition, probably in the 4th century, of rooms along the north side. The new rooms were on a slightly different alignment to the rest of the house. Nineteen rooms were identified.

Room 1 contained a tessellated pavement. Room 2 was a kitchen containing a tile hearth and a rectangular structure made from fragments of tile bonded with daub. At least six ovens were identified (the clearest ovens were those with the characteristic key-hole shaped pit). Room 3 had been completely destroyed however traces of a tessellated floor and possible hypocaust system were recovered. Room 4 was again largely destroyed but patches of tessellated pavement survived in situ. Room 5 contained an extensively robbed hypocaust. The robber debris contained fragments of box-tile and a few mosaic cubes which probably derived from a destroyed mosaic. Rooms 6 and 7 had also been badly damaged and the nature of the floors was not clear although they do not seem to have had hypocausts. Rooms 8, 9, and 15 were very small and may have functioned in part as passages. Room 10 had a tessellated pavement and Room 11 a large figured mosaic. The characters of rooms 12, 13 and 14 is unknown but probably these were of daub. Rooms 16 and 18 were badly robbed hypocausts of similar design. Room 17 was small and could have been a cross passage. Passage 1 had a tessellated pavement. Passage 2 was the main corridor around the internal courtyard, it had a tessellated pavement. Passages 3 & 4 were cross passages. Room 19 contained a mosaic with lion design.<1>

During excavations at the Lion Walk United Reformed Church in 1984 (ECC2027) a small part of the building was investigated. No floors survived and the foundations had been robbed in the 11th or 12th century. The north foundation terminated at its east end with an arched channel, which had been an integral part of a north-south roadside drain (MCC1336). On the western side of the site were slight traces of a trench lying south-north with a return to the west. This may have been a robber trench.<1>

Sources/Archives (1)

  • <1> Monograph: Crummy, Philip. 1981. CAR 3: Excavations at Lion Walk, Balkerne Lane and Middleborough, Colchester, Essex. 3. pp.52-54.

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Record last edited

Oct 14 2016 2:11PM

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