A SOCIALLY-DISTANCED archaeological dig will take place at the site of a historic Roman road through Colchester.

Colchester Archaeological Trust began four-weeks of excavations at land off Creffield Road, where Colchester Council's housing firm Colchester Amphora Homes is working to create a mixture of houses and apartments.

Initial explorations by the trust in December found the remnants of a two-mile long Roman road which would have linked Camulodonum with the prestigious temple complex at Gosbecks.

To meet social distancing guidelines a reduced team will be working with staggered start and finish times to excavate the site.

Theresa Higgins, councillor responsible for commercial services, said: "We are very excited by the opportunity this prestigious new development from Amphora Homes gives us to discover more about Colchester’s rich heritage.

"We also welcome the safe working measures the trust will employ to enable this valuable work to go ahead.

"It means we can keep our ambitious plans to build more homes on track, which will ultimately help to support our economic recovery following the impact of Covid-19.”

Gazette: Theresa Higgins on siteTheresa Higgins on site

The development, at 60 Creffield Road, is the first part of a wider delivery of 400 homes across the town led by the council's housing firm.

At least 30 per cent of each development will be made up of affordable homes and all profits will be reinvested into the authority's key services.

Paul Smith, group commercial director at Colchester Commercial Holdings, said: "Amphora Homes is delighted to be developing the restoration of a locally listed Victorian villa into elegant and spacious apartments, together with the construction of two new three-storey town houses.

"These well-designed new homes will be built to a high standard befitting this historic and highly sought-after part of Colchester.”

Colchester Archaeological Trust will be filming a "dig diary" throughout the process and the public are invited to watch online to learn more about the site and its history.

Visit thecolchesterarchaeologist.co.uk.