Mount Bures Community Web Site

Colchester Archaeological Dig, November 2011

Location not provide because this
is private land.

The land-owner has given no permission
to enter this property.

These open-ended, elongated enclosures(two parallel lines on the photograph) are situated on the valley floor of the River Stour in the north of the Parish(the river runs to the left of this photograph).
Elongated enclosures are probably amongst the earliest constructions; likely to be Neolithic in date. On the aerial photograph, you can see the longbarrow and the Bronze Age ring ditches, but not the cursuses, one of which is north of the river and the other in Wormingford.

The line of pits along the northeast (the ditch is the north-east ditch, i.e. facing south-west) ditch was first recorded on this photograph from 1996, and as yet has no parallel in the county. It is possible, however, that the lines result from quarry ditches of an earthen long barrow, and that the pits supported timber posts which probably formed part of the monument

Long barrows often contained the disarticulated skeletons of important individuals from the local Neolithic community. It seems likely that the bodies of the dead were exposed to the elements prior to internment, possibly on platforms, and it has been suggested that this would have occurred inside mortuary enclosures.
The river, which now forms the boundary between Essex and Suffolk, was the focus of an extensive prehistoric ritual landscape containing concentrations of barrows.

The two ring-ditches (lower field in photograph) were part of a concentrated cemetery.

Commencing October 2011, the Colchester Archaeological Group (CAG) decided to excavate a trench through one of the long barrow (ditch) lines to see if they could find any evidence of their original structure.

Image orientated to face North

David and Aline Black carrying out the geophysics to obtain an accurate location of the two parallel lines.
These results coincided perfectly with the field markings
on the aerial photographs.
The white line indicates the position of the trench
as described below.

These lines (ditches) are approximately 30m apart - the postholes/pits (see below)are 9m apart
Photographs dated 20th October 2011
Peter Durrant, CAG member(foreground) is digging, where the ditch line dissect the trench,
A large hole - but what was it for ?
CAG Members:-Don Goodman (left)
Anna Moore and Denise Hardy.

(See the latest photographs below)

Soil here is of a different nature to the rest of the trench.

This coincided with the Magnetometry readings which confirmed the two parallel (crop mark) lines.
( see photographs above)


Photographs dated 20th October 2011

Current finds include Bronze Age/Neolithic pottery sherds.

NOTE:- Neolithic or Stone Age was circa c. 4500 BC - 3500 BC when simple pottery begins to be made


Photographs taken at the end of the dig,
16th November 2011.
Photo above and right shows a "pit" of some considerable depth.
With no archaeological finds in this cavity, no precise explanation can be given as to its use.

It remains a mystery.

Final depth of trench, which cut across
the crop mark lines

This shows the extent of the excavation.
The "pit" is in the right foreground.

The team found a small fragment of cremated human bone, a few small sherds of prehistoric pottery and a quantity of charcoal. The charcoal is likely to be of most interest, as it can be dated using the carbon14 technique.

Full details of the conclusion will be posted here as soon as CAG release the material
Acknowledgment to Anna Moore (CAG) for her valuable assistance in helping with the text and allowing me to photograph the site.

Update November 2012
The results of a Carbon14 test.
The date of the charcoal in the ditch came out at 3641-3516BC, which means that the ditch was being filled in between those dates.

For more information contact the Colchester Archaeological Group.
Other CAG members attending this site:- Pauline Shinn, Louise Harrison, Jonathan Oldham, Graham Brondell, Les Peck, Carole Wheeldon and John Mallinson.
Updated 22nd Nov 2011