Gosbecks Farm Temple

Temple Or Shrine

The site of a Romano-Celtic temple. This square temple lies in a temenos on a plateau, about 3 miles south of Colchester. The temple portico was about 13.5 metres square, the central shrine or cella about 7 metres square. Built during the mid-2nd century and unused by the 4th, its original orientation remains unknown, likewise the god it was built to serve, although its plan is typical of a so-called Romano-British temple, where the deity was usually a conflation of a local British god with his/her classical counterpart.

The temple temenos stands at the west and of a much larger walled enclosure stretching 340 metres to the east. The off-central location of the temple has been held to imply that a sacred grove or tree occupied the most important position within the temenos. Within the portico is a pre-Roman enclosure which probably marks the original sanctuary of the eponymous war-god Camulos. This god in Roman times was equated with Mars, and indeed diggers in 1842 recovered ‘part of a platter stamped MARTI’ on the temple-site.

However, the discovery during ploughing, circa 1945, of a fine bronze statuette of Mercury, 0.5 metres tall, raises the possibility that Camulos had an alternative identification, or that more than one god was worshipped here. Excavations were carried out an on the line of the three portico walls enclosing the temple, no floors remained and the wall foundations had been almost completely removed, probably in antiquity.

References for Gosbecks Farm Temple

  • Temples in Roman Britain by M.J.T. Lewis (Cambridge 1966).

Map References for Gosbecks Farm Temple

NGRef: TL9622 OSMap: LR168

Roman Roads near Gosbecks Farm Temple

None identified

Sites near Gosbecks Farm Temple