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LEXDEN TUMULUS

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`Lexden Tumulus' is an Iron Age barrow located in a prominent location overlooking the valley of the River Colne to the north. It is situated inside an extensive late Iron Age settlement surrounding modern Colchester, which is known as the oppidum of Camulodunum. The barrow is circular in plan and is about 1.5m high and 38m by 35m wide. A ditch was also revealed to the north east and south west of the barrow which may have encircled it. The most probable date of the burial, based on analysis of the grave goods is around 15-10 BC.

Round Iron Age barrows are unusual, as this type of barrow is normally associated with earlier Bronze Age burials or with later Roman ones. Lexden Tumulus has been interpreted by some as originating in the Bronze Age and being reused in the Iron Age.

The barrow was excavated in 1924 by P G and H E Laver, who revealed one of the richest Iron Age burials ever discovered in Britain. The main burial was positioned in a central pit which may have contained a timber chamber. The deceased's remains had been cremated and were buried with a large number of rich grave goods including domestic and personal goods. These included a number of imported objects from the Mediterranean including amphorae and figurines. A Bronze Age axehead was found, which may have been an heirloom or cult object. One of the most important finds in terms of dating was a silver medallion, created from a cast of a coin of the Emperor Augustus. This coin can be dated to the period 18-16 BC.

The rich grave goods and unusual barrow construction indicates that the deceased would have been a person of some standing and power. It has been suggested that he may have been Addedomaros, a king of the Trinovantes tribe who at that time, controlled the local territory.

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