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Archæological Excavations at Colchester

Nature volume 142, page 606 (01 October 1938) | Download Citation



SYSTEMATIC archæological excavation on the central part of the site of the ancient British city at Colchester must, it is announced, cease permanently at the close of October, when this area of some twenty acres is to be developed for building. It will be remembered that the discovery of a British settlement here Was made eight years ago in the course of preparations for the Colchester by-pass road ; and that since that date, with the co-operation of the local authorities, a Committee of Excavation, under the auspices of the Society of Antiquaries of London, has been engaged in the archæological exploration of the site. Not only has the defensive system been investigated, but also a very large number of antiquities, estimated at something in the neighbourhood of a million, and including fifty tons of pottery, has been recovered. This site has, in fact, proved one of the most prolific of ancient British sites yet examined. The central area now under examination, it was hoped, would afford some evidence of the place of residence of the British king, Cunobelinus ; but so far nothing of this nature has come to light. Among the more important objects recently reported in the present season's Work are an iron box four inches square and one and a half inches deep. This contains a powder believed to be a pigment used by the potter. A Roman dagger, 15 in. long, has also been found. Although systematic investigation must cease as soon as building operations begin, local members of the Committee will continue to oversee the work of foundation-digging in the interests of archæology.

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