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The Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust News - old stories

What have the Romans ever done for us . . . ?

Newtown Roman road, photo 2870-0012 © CPAT CPAT excavating the Roman road RR64 at Newtown.

We donít often have the opportunity to excavate a Roman road, so itís quite a coincidence that two long stretches of road are currently being examined at the same time, and even more of a coincidence that it is in fact the same road.

Termed RR64 in the authoritative volume on Roman roads, a road was constructed running westwards from Wroxeter near Shrewsbury, past Westbury in Shropshire to Forden near Montgomery and then on to Caersws and perhaps beyond. When the Roman army pushed westwards into Wales in the 70s AD, they constructed permanent forts at strategic locations to control the local population. To allow the rapid movement of troops and supplies between the forts, well-made stone-surfaced roads were constructed between the permanent forts.

A 180m length of RR64 is currently being excavated by SLR Consulting Ltd in advance of quarrying at Bayston Hill south of Shrewsbury, where they have found three successive Roman surfaces to the road (or agger) which there is around one metre high.

Roman road under the Tesco supermarket site at Newtown, photo 2870-0014 © CPAT

The same Roman road passes beneath Newtown in Powys, and the construction of a new Tescoís supermarket on the site of the former Smithfield, just south of the main road to Welshpool has offered CPAT the opportunity to examine more than 70m of the road with every possibility that more of it will be uncovered in the near future. At the moment we have recognised two road levels, indicating that here the road was re-surfaced at least once and perhaps reduced in width. As yet we have not located any evidence of roadside settlement or other activity, but the excavation is still in its early days.

Follow this link to find out more about Newtown's Roman road.

Bob Silvester, June 2009



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