You won't believe it!


Here are some things you probably never knew about the archaeology of Essex to amuse yourself and amaze your friends!

 

Monkeys and hippos…

…Used to live on Mersea Island! The cliffs at East Mersea have produced fossils of ancient animals, including hippos and monkeys, who lived here when both the climate and the geography were very different.


 

The Romans had some very strange burial practices

…Including cutting people’s heads off after they were dead, then burying the head and the body together! We found an example of this at Cressing Temple. We don’t think this was because they had dug the grave too short, or because the person was a criminal – in fact it might be because they believed that the person would come back to haunt them!


 

There used to be elephants in Colchester…

…The Romans brought them in when they invaded and used them in triumphal processions celebrating their victories! Most of the elephants archaeologists find are much older than this though, dating from Palaeolithic (Old Stone Age) times or even earlier.


 

The earliest standing church in Essex…

…Was used as a barn for about two hundred years! A lot of historic buildings end up being used for different purposes, often for storage, and the chapel of St. Peter’s on the wall at Bradwell on Sea is a very high square building – so ideal for storing grain, as well as worshipping!


 

The Romans used to go to the circus in Colchester

It was not a circus with clowns and acrobats but it was a race track for chariots and horses.


 

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