“A thousand roads lead men forever to Rome”; Alain de Lille, 1175

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Mansio / Mutatio Spacing Issues in the London Region



The Roman road network was largely an official creation and one of its functions was to service the cursus publicus. Thus, small roadline settlements are often hypothesized to be the sites of the mansiones and mutatios that this system used. But, if so, nothing like a regular system of such official 'hotels' and horse changing stations can be detected on all roads. Focusing on the road network in the broad area around Londinium, this talk will try to explore what that might be telling us about how the cursus publicus used the Roman road network.

Thursday 27 January, 2022, Martin Dearne; Mansio / Mutatio Spacing Issues in the London Region

Tursday 24 February, 2022, John Poulter; The road over High Street in the English Lake District - Is it Roman?

Thursday 24 March 2022, David Picker-Kille; Between a Rut and a Hard Place: A case study in Roman road construction and use from Gallo-Roman Burgundy

Thursday 14 April, 2022, Christopher Green; Modelling movement in Roman Britain

Thursday 26 May, 2022, Mike Haken; The Stainmore road, its unique Roman camps, and Venutius’s war

Thursday 23 June 2022, Martin Papworth; Finding the Roman fort at Killerton.

Thursday 13 October 2022, Dr. Chris Smart; Crowd-sourcing project on Devon and Cornwall landscapes

The road over High Street in the English Lake District - is it Roman?



Roads Along (and Across) the Upper German and Raetian Limes




Postponed - date to be confirmed

Mike Bishop

Reconstruction of a Mansio

The Stainmore road, its unique Roman camps, and Venutius’s war


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Thursday 24 February, 2022

John Poulter

Thursday 27 January, 2022

Martin Dearne

Thursday 26 May, 2022

Mike Haken

Our 2022 schedule is currently in preparation, and will be released before the end of this year




Finding the Roman fort at Killerton.




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Thursday 23 June, 2022

Martin Papworth

Crowd-sourcing project on Devon and Cornwall landscapes (TBC)




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13 October, 2022

Dr. Chris Smart

For centuries, a series of enigmatic camps that line the road between Scotch Corner and Carlisle have fascinated antiquarians and archaeologists. Four of these camps are now known, each having substantial defences and an extraordinary number of entrances (Rey Cross has eleven), and they have long been suspected to have played some part in Rome’s actions against Venutius and the Brigantes in the early Flavian period. But what exactly  was their role, why were they built in such a non-standard form, and who built them?

Since 1984, a photograph had intrigued archaeologists. It seemed to show a triple ditched, rectangular enclosure with rounded corners. This would be a typical shape for a Roman fort but during subsequent fieldwalking of ploughsoil nothing Roman was found.

In 2019, National Trust volunteers carried out a geophysical survey which confirmed the lines of the enclosure's ditches. Covid delayed a planned excavation but eventually, in June 2021, three trenches were excavated by National Trust archaeologists. This talk will describe what was found during the excavation and will begin to examine the potential routeways that may once have linked this site to others within the Devon landscape.

 

This presentation is largely based upon a series of photographs which were taken when the author walked the full length of this so-called Roman road - and back - in 1968. At the time he had every reason to believe that the road was Roman, but doubts have arisen since. Comparisons are offered with pictures of other Roman roads traversing high ground in northern Britain, and the author draws upon the experience which he has accumulated since to reach a verdict which is negative. Members watching the presentation may, of course, draw their own conclusions.

Modelling movement in Roman Britain



Thursday 14 April, 2022

Christopher Green

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Between a Rut and a Hard Place:

A case study in Roman road construction and use from Gallo-Roman Burgundy



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Thursday 24 March, 2022

David Picker-Kille

Contextualizing the findings of his 2016 undergraduate thesis with more recent archaeological research of the surrounding region, David Picker-Kille proposes that the segment of an ancient roadway running along the cliffs above the small town of Nolay, France, belongs to part of the early imperial Roman road network in Gaul. Thanks to the assortment of uncommon characteristics defining its construction, topography, and wear, we are then able to consider the implications of the coincidence of such features on the history and usage of the road throughout, and beyond, the imperial era. The results of this analysis ultimately shed new light on old questions and traditional assumptions about the construction, management, use, and efficiency of roadways in the wider Roman world.

Mike Bishop’s talk has been postponed and we hope Mike will able to present it later in the year. We are extremely grateful to David Picker-Kille who has stepped in to fill March’s slot at very short notice.

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The English Landscapes and Identities project (EngLaId) was funded by the European Research Council and ran in the School of Archaeology at the University of Oxford between 2011 and 2016, under the aegis of Chris Gosden. Chris Green and Tyler Franconi were postdoctoral researchers on the project, respectively representing expertise in spatial analysis and in the Roman period. EngLaId examined England in the period between 1500 BC and the Domesday survey of AD 1086, but within this period the Roman period was unique in its level of internal (and international) connectivity due to the creation of the extensive network of Roman roads.

This talk will present methods applied by the EngLaId team for modelling movement, and their interpretations. These included information on the nature of the terrain, contrasting also movement by land and by water. We also used the densities and distribution of archaeological evidence as a proxy for land use and movement. In addition, we included place name evidence for the early medieval period and the little we have from the Romano-British period. The results of our models were compared with possible routes on land and water for various periods to throw light on patterns of movement and impediments to connections between areas.


View of  deep ruts in the bedrock on a road at Nolay, facing north.

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