Monument record MCC7876 - Colchester - Castle Park


Excavations uncovered Roman stone houses and part of the street grid.


Grid reference TL 9989 2598 (point) (FCE)
Map sheet TL92NE


Type and Period (11)

Full Description

Excavations in Castle Park in 1920 uncovered Roman stone houses and part of the street grid. <1> Foundations were traced in 1856 by boring. In 1906 the outline of at least 2 houses were visible as parchmarks near the bandstand and were planned by Major Bale. Excavations followed in 1907. In 1920 the site was opened up again by the Morant Club, with Dr REM Wheeler directing. Parts of three houses were excavated. House I, as so far excavated, comprised a range of at least 7 rooms, with a corridor on the W. At the S end, adjoining and parallel to the street, was another corridor or open passage. Remains of tessellated pavements and decorative mosaics were found. The surviving walls are entirely septaria with some mixture of brick. To the E, Houses II and III formed a double building of courtyard type. House II had a corridor between it and the street to the S. A rubbish pit was found in the courtyard containing oyster shell, bone and mainly late C2 and C3 pottery. In the eastern range an apse was a later addition. the courtyard of House III had corridors certainly on the E and probably on the W. The S range was separated from the street by a corridor, interupted by a gateway. The walls of II and III were again septaria and brick. Dating is problematical. Wheeler dated houses II and III as not later than the late C1 (on the basis of foundation pots). Other finds included 74 coins, glass bone and metal objects. Finds mostly published in source 3. The coins were mostly post 250 and Wheeler remarked, do not agree with the pottery. However, the pottery published was from early pits only. Two pieces of decorated stone were found, a fragment of Purbeck marble, probably from coping of a low wall carrying columns of a portico; a fragment of grooved stone possibly from a window jamb. The bronze handles of a clasp knife in pierced work showing a dog chasing a hare was found on this site in 1934 and is in Colchester Museum. No evidence for dating the buildings was found and the paved rooms were dated by Hull as possibly contemporary with the C1 buildings of House II. <2> - <7> Finds made by William Wire included an iron spearhead, a piece of decorated samian, 2 bone pins and a decurius of Carucalla. <2> <7>
In 1984 observations and some limited excavation were made during the laying of a sewer pipe. the pipe ran from TL999253 to TL999256. Sections were recorded through the town ditch; the foundation of the town wall; the base of the rampart, clearly post-dating the wall and street metalling of the east-west inter-vallum road.<8><9>
Three large stone and mortar foundations from a previously unrecorded building were noted and an infant burial recorded from one of the walls. A number of foundations, mostly robbed, belonging to later buildings in the western end of Insula 15 were recorded.<9>
Some fragmentary remains of floors were recovered, including tesselated pavements and a ?hypocaust. <9>

Sources/Archives (9)

  • <1> DESC TEXT: Priddy, DA. unknown. SMR.
  • <2> DESC TEXT: Hull, MR. 1958. Roman Colchester. pp81-85.
  • <3> EXCAV REPORT: Wheeler, REM. unknown. An Insula of Roman Colchester. New Series, Vol 16, part 1, pp7-.
  • <4> DESC TEXT: British Archaeology Association. unknown. J Brit Archaeol Ass. New Series, Vol 26, p24.
  • <5> Artifact: Colchester Museum. unknown. ARTEFACT Col Mus. Acc No 92.34.
  • <6> DESC TEXT: Essex Review. unknown. Essex Rev. Vol 43, p.91.
  • <7> DESC TEXT: Wire, W. 1853. Wire Diary. 22-3, 19-5, 21-5, 28-5.
  • <8> DESC TEXT: Trans Essex Archaeological Soc. unknown. Trans Essex Archaeol Soc. Vol 10, p323.
  • <9> DESC TEXT: Priddy, DA. 1985. Excavations in Essex 1983-4.

Finds (24)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Nov 3 2015 11:41AM

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