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CAMULODUNUM

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  COLCHESTER ROMAN TOWN, CAMVLODVNVM
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The Roman walled town of Colchester. Prior to the foundation of the legionary fortress the site of the Iron Age settlement was three miles south-west of the current city at Gosbecks.

The legionary fortress located under the western half of the current town was built for the twentieth legion following the conquest in AD 43. Soon after this the Legion was removed and the settlement became a colony for retired veterans (Colonia Victricensis, meaning 'City of Victory'). As the Colonia expanded the defences appear to have been levelled and attention was diverted towards the construction of public buildings, including the temple of Claudius. The Colony had no defences and was left vulnerable to attack in AD 60/61 when it was burned to the ground by the local native tribes led by Boudicca.

By the second century several grand town houses were built reflecting the emergence of wealthy inhabitants. These were well-appointed with mosaics, painted walls, tiled roofs, water supplies, and drainage systems.

At some point between AD 150 and AD 200, the defences were again strengthened with the addition of an earthen rampart behind the wall; and around AD 275 the town ditch was widened. These changes were contemporary with a decline of the suburbs. Many areas within the walls became cultivation plots and an agricultural focus seems to have developed, in particular an aisled barn dating to circa 275-325 was excavated at Culver Street. A Christian community was established during the fourth-century, and a church was situated at Butt Road. There is however, little evidence for very late occupation in Colchester after the end of Roman rule, and it is likely that although it continued to be an administrative centre and refuge in times of unrest, the majority of the population were rural and engaged in agricultural activities outside the walls.

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Further information about monuments may be obtained by contacting Archive Services, through the Historic England website.