evaluation at St Helena School completed: Roman temple precinct

Yesterday (11th April), the Trust completed the archaeological evaluation at St Helena School in Colchester which we began the day before. The evaluation consisted of one trench, but then English Heritage – who supervised the project – required us to excavate a second trench to extend the investigation over a wider area. During the evaluation we found two very interesting features. One was a pit which produced five Roman coins and a Roman pin. The other was an area of Roman gravelling which is the remains of the gravelled surface within the walled precinct of the Roman temple which once stood on the site of the school. The remains of the temple were first discovered during excavations in 1935, ahead of the building of the school which opened in January 1938.

The temple has been dated to the late 1st century AD. It is one of at least four Roman temples, the sites of which have been identified at Sheepen.

The results of the evaluation are now being assessed, and these will be used in the design of the foundations of the new building, to minimise damage to the important archaeological remains which survive here, below ground.

The images show one of the coins and the pin, as they emerged from the ground and before conservation.