VOLUNTEERS helped clear the site which is to become a new base for archaeology.

Colchester Archaeological Trust is set to move to the former Army Education Centre, off Circular Road North.

It plans to turn it into a visitor centre for the nearby Roman chariot circus as well as provide a base for the trust.

The building, which was damaged by floodwater, is overgrown and in need of repairs.

But volunteers have started to make the building habitable.

About 15 volunteers rolled up their sleeves to clear weeds and dispose of rubbish and rubble.

Residents, students from Essex University and Trust members all pitched in.

Trust director Philip Crummy said: “The volunteers have done great work to get things started. There is still a lot more to be done.”

Sixty per cent of the £250,000 cost of the building has been met by the trust, with the remainder coming from a public appeal originally set up to buy the Sergeants’ Mess.

The project was abandoned due to spiralling costs.

Now the money will be diverted to create an indoor and outdoor centre to showcase the Roman chariot circus found at the site.

There will also be a tea room and observation area where visitors can watch archaeologists at work.

The centre will take years to complete, but the garden marking the starting gate of the chariot track will be open in the summer.

The trust has launched a bid for £1.1million Heritage Lottery funding.