In November, the Trust produced a report on archaeological monitoring and excavation undertaken in August-September for an extension to Birch quarry, off the Maldon Road just outside Colchester. CAT Report 671 was written by Chris Lister.
Only two features were recorded during the course of the work, ie a post-hole containing pottery sherds dated to the Late Bronze Age or Early Iron Age and a ditch dating to the post-medieval or modern period. Most of the area being monitored had been disturbed by activity associated with the construction and subsequent removal of the World War 2 USAAF airbase here. Large quantities of similar pottery dated to the Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age have been recovered from previous excavations on adjacent areas at the quarry (CAT Report 383; CAT Report 485). Heat-affected stone (burnt flint) was also found during the monitoring work; this is a typical find associated with prehistoric occupation sites and may be contemporary with the pottery. Several unstratified pottery sherds were recovered, and some of these are Roman.
The ditch matches the alignment of a field boundary on the 1881 O.S. map. The post-hole probably dates to the Late Bronze Age. This would fit with the dating of the large number of features and finds already excavated at the quarry. As the post-hole is an isolated feature, there is no reason to suggest a change in the focus of the Bronze Age settlement which is postulated around the site of the ring-ditch excavated at the quarry by the Trust in 2005-6 (CAT Report 383).
Read the report at http://cat.essex.ac.uk/reports/CAT-report-0671.pdf