Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Evidence of Roman reprisals in Essex?

More than 17 roundhouses were uncovered within a defensive enclosure at Cressing, near Braintree in Essex. CREDIT: Oxford Archaeology East

A recently revealed Iron Age settlement in Cressing, near Braintree in Essex, appears to have been almost completely destroyed during the second half of the 1st century AD. Dating to around the time of the Boudican uprising of AD 60/61, could this be evidence of Roman reprisals against local groups who had supported the rebel queen’s campaign?

The site of the settlement was excavated last year by Oxford Archaeology East in advance of residential development by Countryside Properties. Located on a prominent ridge overlooking the Brain Valley, the settlement’s position, along with some of the artefacts recovered from the site, suggest that it may have been of some regional importance during the late Iron Age and early Roman period.

A large enclosure appears to have been first constructed during the late 1st century BC, with more than 17 roundhouses built within its defences. The gullies of some of these roundhouses were over half a metre deep and probably would have enclosed buildings up to 15m in diameter. Aligning with the central roundhouse was a large avenue-like entrance leading from the enclosure.

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