St. John’s Green, Colchester, Essex

Tumulus (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – TL 9965 2467

Also Known as:

  1. Monument no. 384079 (PastScape)

Archaeology & History

St Johns Green, Colchester
Decorated prehistoric urn from St John’s Green tumulus

In a prehistoric burial mound that was destroyed by the usual self-righteous arrogance of industrialists, this well-decorated urn or beaker in the old photo (right) was somehow retrieved. Included in Dave Clarke’s (1970) major survey on such vessels (as an Abercrombie type A, no less!), the remains came to light in January 1930, “during the laying of a gas main under the west footpath of Flagstaff Road, about 100 yards south of St. John’s Green.”  Although the barrow or tumulus had already been levelled, sheer diligence and care on behalf—one believes—of antiquarian M.R. Hull saved the vessel from an otherwise inevitable doom!

In Mr Hull’s (1946) article on to this and other similar finds in Essex, he described how the urn, about seven inches high,

“…stood upright in the side of the trench, only 18in below the surface.  The ground had been disturbed before, and one side of the beaker was badly damaged… The clay was fine, but contains some sparse grit, fairly large and white.  It is light brown-red in colour and black in the break. The body is decorated all over with impressed lines, some done with the print of a stick or bone, some in an indefinable way which produces an almost maggot-like impression of varying length, and some with the end of a comb, as on the Type B beakers, but the teeth are oblong (very narrow) instead of square—the comb in fact, was very thin, at least at the point.”


  1. Clarke, David L., Beaker Pottery of Great Britain and Ireland – volume 2, Cambridge University Press 1970.
  2. Hull, M.R., “Five Bronze Age Beakers from North-East Essex,” in Antiquaries Journal, volume 26, Jan-April 1946.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

(Visited 13 times, 1 visits today)

Written by 

2 thoughts on “St. John’s Green, Colchester, Essex”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *