The light soils of north-east Essex contain numerous cremation cemeteries or urnfields dating to the middle Bronze Age (1,500-1,000 BC). Excavations of these at Ardleigh and Brightlingsea have revealed maze-like concentrations of ring-ditches with the highly decorated urns mainly placed in the twisting paths between the ring-ditches.
The same division which can be seen in the Neolithic period seems to continue into the Bronze Age. In the Northern areas of the county, Bronze age burials frequently took place in large cemeteries, containing many round barrows, whilst throughout South and Central Essex the same barrows are found alone or in small groups, as at Orsett, Slough House Farm and Mucking.
The recovery of human skulls dating to the Middle and Late Bronze Age from the River Lea and Fenn Creek suggest a possibility that some bodies may have been deposited in rivers.