Psalm 23 v 4


Colchester, United Kingdom

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Wall Art


Artist's Description

One of my favourite psalms.

Location | Lexden Dyke & Bluebottle Grove:
The banks and ditches of a series of late Iron Age defences protecting the western side of Camulodunum – pre-Roman Colchester. There are also many pre-Roman graves hereabouts, including Lexden Tumulus, allegedly the burial place of the British chieftain Cunobelinus.

Colchester’s Pre-Roman History:

It is very difficult to represent pre-Roman Colchester, because the site was so nebulous. The best physical indications of it are the Gosbecks dykes, of which the most impressive is Grym’s Dyke; but even these just look like big, overgrown ditches. There are some nice burial goods from the Lexden Tumulus (itself less than impressive), and it is possible to see the outline of Cunobelin’s farmstead in crop marks.

‘…after a botched attempt in 55…Caesar returned to finish the job in 54 BC.’

Colchester was called Camulodunum, which is a Romanisation of its Iron-Age name: the Fortress (-dunum) of Camulos, God of War. The original site of the Iron-Age settlement was some 3 miles south-west of the current city at Gosbecks. There, a sprawling Iron-Age farmstead was established, covering a roughly triangular area of approximately 10 miles which was surrounded by rivers on two sides and a complicated system of dykes on its open western end. It is these dykes which are the only real vestiges of the settlement today, forming great,sunken lanes in the flat Essex countryside.

The Trinovantes and Catuvellauni

Camulodunum was a hugely important site in pre-Roman times. It was most likely the royal stronghold of the Trinovantes, on whose behalf Julius Caesar invaded in 55 and 54 BC. At this time, the Catuvellauni under their king Cassivellaunus were spreading their authority as southern Britain’s largest tribe across the south-eastern counties. It seems that Cassivellaunus invaded Trinovantian territory and murdered its king, whose son, Mandubracius, fled to Caesar for help.

This gave Caesar the excuse he was looking for to invade, and after a botched attempt in 55 (which even his own propaganda cannot quite disguise), Caesar returned to finish the job in 54 BC. He chased Cassivellaunus back to his stronghold, which he stormed from two sides, forcing Cassivellaunus to flee and come to terms.

The last Trinovantian king was called Addedomaros. It is possible that his remains are buried in the Lexden Tumulus, close to Gosbecks. The king who was buried here had been ritually burned along with his goods, which were a mixture of Celtic and Roman ornaments. Among them were the fragments of a small casket, within which was a medallion bearing the head of the Emperor Augustus.

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