Monument record MCC478 - Ditch of Legionary Fortress, Colchester
|Grid reference||Centred TL 9946 2514 (503m by 154m)|
|1848 Parish||ST PETER|
|Non Parish Area||COLCHESTER, COLCHESTER, ESSEX|
Type and Period (1)
The defensive ditch of the Legionary fortress.
During excavations at Balkerne Lane in 1973-6 (ECC332) the disarticulated remains of a male human were found lying scattered on the bottom and sides of the Legionary fortress ditch (MCC478). The remains of five other humans were found in the near vicinity (MCC511 - MCC515), mixed with large quantities of animal bone and lying in layers of debris associated with the iron working sites (see MCC483, MCC484, MCC485, MCC486).
The human remains consisted of various odd bones, mainly part of limbs and a cranium which bore the mark of a heavy blow 'inflicted, almost certainly, during execution'.<1>
The Legionary fortress ditch was also encountered on the Lion Walk excavations 1971-4 (ECC330). The ditch was traced for a distance of 53m from Site B, where it was found by excavation to the northern edge of the contractor's basement excavations where it was visible in section. The ditch varied slightly in its width and profile because of the soft nature of the sand which forms the subsoil (no width is given).<2>
During excavations at Culver Street between 1981-2 and 1984-5 the suggested location of the Legionary Fortress ditch corresponded with the centre line of the later town ditch (MCC659) which would have destroyed any trace of it. <3>
During the excavation of the Lion Walk United Reformed Church in 1984 (ECC378), the fortress ditch was revealed and was found to be 3.6m wide. Between the ditch and the adjacent rampart (MCC482) to the west was a 1.6m wide berm. Debris from the destruction of the rampart had been used to backfill the ditch. A butchered horse skeleton was found within the backfill. No dating evidence for the destruction of the defences was recovered but the stratigraphical relationships observed matched those at Lion Walk (ECC330) indicating that a date between AD 50 and 55 is likely.<4>
- <1> SCC100 Serial: Crummy, Philip. 1981. CAR 3: Excavations at Lion Walk, Balkerne Lane and Middleborough, Colchester, Essex. 3. pp.93-97.
- <2> SCC100 Serial: Crummy, Philip. 1981. CAR 3: Excavations at Lion Walk, Balkerne Lane and Middleborough, Colchester, Essex. 3. p.31.
- <3> SCC101 Monograph: Crummy, Philip. 1992. CAR 6: Excavations at Culver Street, the Gilberd School, and other sites in Colchester 1971-85. 6. p.63.
- <4> SCC101 Monograph: Crummy, Philip. 1992. CAR 6: Excavations at Culver Street, the Gilberd School, and other sites in Colchester 1971-85. 6. pp.380-381.
- None recorded
Related Monuments/Buildings (1)
Related Events/Activities (3)
Record last edited
Oct 17 2016 12:26PM