Monument record MCC8786 - Roman tomb off Beach Road, West Mersea


Roman tomb found in 1923 in the vicinity of the Roman wheel tomb MCC8355.


Grid reference Centred TM 0108 1251 (76m by 55m) (FCE)
Map sheet TM01SW
County ESSEX


Type and Period (2)

Full Description

Brick tomb, found in 1923 a few yards E of wheel tomb (MCC8355). Contained a child cremation in a glass urn with a lead lid. Textile impressions were preserved on the lid. Possibly early C2. The urn was placed in a flue tile and contained the teeth of a child, 12-15 months old. Above the urn was a lamp-stamped `IEGIDI'. <1>-<6>

Mersea Museum website records:

In 1923 a new house, Casa Pantis, was being built off Beach Road for Mr Norman H. Bacon, a member of the Essex Archaeological Society. The house was just to the west of the remains of the Wheel Tomb. While digging the foundations, workmen unearthed a small square tomb-like structure about 18 inches below the surface. It was made from flat red pottery tiles of around 26 inches by 11 inches placed on end to form the walls, with more tiles forming the floor. There was a second row of tiles making a sort of inner grave around the cremation. The tomb was surrounded by a mass of broken tile embedded in red mortar, around 3 feet in diameter. Two of the tile fragments bore the impression of animal footprints. This brick tomb was found about 50 feet from the Wheel Tomb but its actual location is not precise as two different reports give its location as either to the east or west. Inside the brick structure was the cremation burial on display here. The small green glass urn, similar to the one from the Mersea Barrow, contains the cremated bones and teeth of a child aged around 12 - 15 months. The urn has a thin lead lid which retains the impression of the linen in which the urn would have been wrapped. It was placed inside a decorated flue tile and covered by a second tile on which stood a small pottery lamp, protected by another tile which covered the inner grave. The lamp is stamped 'IEGIDI', the name of the maker, evidence that it was probably made in Italy between A.D. 90 - 140. This dates it to the Roman occupation during the 2nd century and from the same era as the cremation from the Mersea Barrow. The brick tomb surrounding the burial was destroyed during the building work and no photograph or drawing of it exists, but we do have the description from the builder's foremen which was given at the time to the Essex Archaeological Society. See [accessed 11/08/16]

Note, therefore, that there is some uncertainty about the location. The Essex Archaeological Society article written in 1924 places the brick tomb to the west of the wheel tomb. The Essex HER places the child's tomb to the east of the wheel tomb.

Sources/Archives (6)

  • <1> DESC TEXT: Powell, WR. 1963. Victoria County History, Essex, Vol III (VCH). Vol 3, p.159.
  • <2> DESC TEXT: Journal of Roman Studies. unknown. J Roman Stud. Vol 12, p.260.
  • <3> DESC TEXT: unknown. 1960 0nwards. SMR form unknown.
  • <4> DESC TEXT: Antiquaries Journal. unknown. Antiq J. Vol 4, p.267.
  • <5> DESC TEXT: Colchester Museum. 1924. Col Mus Rep. p14.
  • <6> Artifact: Colchester Museum. unknown. ARTEFACT Col Mus. Acc No4605-8.23.

Finds (4)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (0)

Record last edited

Aug 11 2016 10:16AM

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