Britain’s biggest Iron Age dyke system gets even bigger

Current excavations on the site of the former Hyderabad barracks have revealed what appears to be part of a defensive dyke. Camulodunum, the original Colchester, was protected by the largest complex of Late Iron Age and early Roman earthworks in the country. This latest discovery appears to be a previously unknown eastward extension to the Berechurch Dyke. This earthwork lies north to south and protected Camulodunum from attacks from the east. It had been thought that the Berechurch Dyke continued northwards as far as what is now the cemetery in Mersea Road, but this latest find suggests that it continued further north before turning to the right and heading towards the River Colne in the form of this new discovery. The picture here shows work in progress on the dyke earlier today. More digging over the next few days will reveal the full depth of the earthwork was and provide more dating evidence. Originally, the material which was dug out to make the ditch was piled up along one edge to form a high steep bank. The bank no longer exists.

The excavations at Hyderabad are being carried out on behalf of Tayor Wimpey by CAT. Archaeological consultants are RPS.