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Council for British Archaeology (2007) CBA Research Reports [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor] https://doi.org/10.5284/1000332
ISBN 0 906780 46 2
Early in 1970 permission was granted by the Colchester Borough Council for 5 hectares (13 acres) over the lower part of Sheepen Hill to be terraced to provide school playing fields. The area lay 0.75 km north-west of the Roman colonia Claudia Victricensis (Colchester), and was sited just above the flood plain of the river Colne. Most of the threatened area lay within the line of the Sheepen dyke, the innermost of the Camulodunum dykes, and was included in regions 3 and 4 of Hawkes' and Hull's excavation in the 1930s. This area was clearly one of major archaeological importance and a rescue excavation, financed by a grant from the Department of the Environment, was mounted by the Colchester Excavation Committee. The available time and money made it impossible for the whole area to be examined and a geophysical survey was undertaken to establish which areas should be given priority. It was decided to concentrate on areas within the dyke as the defences themselves had been the subject of detailed examination in the 1930s and it was considered unreasonable to devote the considerable amount of time required for further sections to be cut. With the aid of the geophysical survey five sites were laid out, covering areas where the most pronounced and frequently occurring anomalies were recorded, all of which were confined to Hawkes' and Hull's region 4. In addition to these, site v, in the northern part of the threatened area, and site vii, over the filled-in Sheepen dyke, were both examined.
The entire area was found to have been severely affected by gravel-working. The eastern side of the area available for excavation in 1970 overlay the edge of a large Roman gravel quarry found in the 1930s, and much of the central part of the threatened area had been quarried away in the post-medieval period, as was demonstrated by the presence of clay pipe stems found at low levels within the back-filled quarry pit. In addition to the destruction caused by quarrying, the site as a whole was found to be very much denuded. Ploughsoil was only 0.4m deep over most of the site, and generally rested directly on the surface of the natural sand or gravel with no intervening stratification.
The excavation lasted for ten weeks in the summer of 1970; the ploughsoil was removed mechanically, and the subsequent work was carried out entirely by student volunteers.
|Sheepen: an early Roman industrial site at Camulodunum (CBA Research Report 57)||18 Mb|
|Sheepen: an early Roman industrial site at Camulodunum (microfiche)||61 Mb|