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Archaeology

Archaeology 1 The St. Botolph's area contains a significant number of historic buildings, structures and areas, many of which are listed or designated as Scheduled Ancient Monuments.

In order to provide guidance for the St. Botolph's Masterplan, and to establish the basis for a more detailed consideration of the archaeological issues in the development proposals, a Cultural Heritage (Archaeology) Statement (Part 1) 2003 was commissioned by the Council.  This document was developed in parallel to a Conservation Area Appraisal. This document sets out the 'baseline' elements, including applicable policy, physical setting, description and discussion of known archaeological material. In addition the Council maintains an Urban Archaeological database, accessible to interested parties and containing the most recent finds.

The only substantial archaeological excavation to have previously taken place within the Vineyard Street area was prompted by the 1970's breach of the Town Wall from the Vineyard Street service entrance to the Lion Walk shopping centre. Archaeologically in the Vineyard Street area of Colchester is of interest because it adjoins the town's southern defences and lies close to a major gateway. A section dug through the town defences encountered a series of Roman and medieval ditches up to 5m deep, with a possible medieval street to the south and remains of post medieval and later buildings over the backfilled ditch.

Archaeology 2 In Osborne Street, systematic investigation has taken place on the south side of the street, where excavation in advance of the NCP multi-storey car park revealed floors belonging to a Roman building at the eastern end of the site.

These lay about 3m deep, below the well preserved remains of medieval wicker-lined drains which were followed by a series of later medieval and post medieval buildings belonging to a plot extending back from the St. Botolph's Street frontage. At the Stanwell Street end of the site the excavations exposed floors of a 16 or 17 century timber framed building which had been destroyed by fire, probably during the civil war siege of Colchester. Roman tessellated floors and cremation burials appear among records of chance discoveries made in the Osborne Street areas in the 19 and early 20 centuries. Since these were recorded with varying degrees of precision their exact locations are in the main uncertain.

To find out more about Colchester's important heritage visit Colchester and Ipswich Museums website.