‘tea and talks’ 2018: ‘a good time was had by all’











On Saturday (17th February), Trust archaeologists took part in the big ‘tea and talks’ event presented by the Friends of Colchester Archaeological Trust (FCAT) at Lion Walk Church in Colchester town centre. The event was open to FCAT members and members of the public and it was well attended, as usual. This is the chance for the Trust to tell people about some of our projects from the previous year.

Trust director Philip, Trust archaeologists Howard Brooks and Laura Pooley, and Trust pottery specialist Steve Benfield presented short illustrated talks on their chosen subjects, followed by tea/coffee and home-made cakes provided by FCAT in the refectory area when they mingled with the guests. Trust volunteer Brenda also made a special presentation to fellow Trust volunteer Margaret during the event in honour of her long service to the Trust, of a card and two tranches of replica Roman mosaic floor from the Colchester Castle Museum shop. Margaret has been volunteering with the Trust for over 40 years and we are extremely grateful for her great contribution. FCAT have also been presenting their annual ‘tea and talks’ event at Lion Walk Church* for 20 years – in fact, this was their 20th! The surviving church tower is also visible from the Trust’s main office.

At the ‘tea and talks’, Philip talked about the Trust’s evaluation at the former Arena Club in Colchester and the remains of the Roman circus which we uncovered there, and about his plans for the Roman circus visitor centre. Howard did a presentation on the Roman town of Great Chesterford near Saffron Walden in Essex and another on medieval pottery- and tile-production on a residential-development site – ‘Chesterwell’ – to the north of Colchester. Steve talked about the Neolithic pottery or ‘Fengate Ware’ (three joining fragments in image above) from our site at Frating near Colchester. Laura made a presentation on the archaeology of charcoal-burning around northern Colchester. After the talks, visitors were able to handle ceramic finds and fragments and discuss them with Steve at his pottery table.

Many thanks to FCAT for presenting this year’s ‘tea and talks’. Thanks to everyone who attended, and we hope that you enjoyed it as much as we did!

Visit the FCAT web-site at https://focat.org.uk/ .

The images below show some of the audience, and Steve holding forth on the ‘Fengate Ware’ pottery.

























* Lion Walk Church was built in 1863 and demolished in 1985, with only the tower being preserved and standing in what is now Lion Walk shopping precinct, where it marks the entrance to the new church. This is a first-floor structure above the shops and was built in 1986. The Trust conducted a large area excavation at Lion Walk ahead of its redevelopment, and the first image here shows a different view of the church tower, with the site of the old church under excavation in 1985. (Both Philip and Howard remember this site!)
The second image shows Lion Walk Church tower from the Trust’s main office window today.