We don’t get to venture into the annals of history much at The Optimist Daily. Every once in a while, though, archaeologists discover something truly newsworthy. These include treasures discovered beneath the floors of Notre Dame during its reconstruction, or new burial sites in Egypt upending what we knew about mummification.
Now, an archaeologist has discovered that the roads in Wales of the industrious Roman Empire extended farther into western Britain than previously thought.
A road to more discovery
Julius Caesar led the first Roman expedition into Britain, and later much of the island became part of the Roman Empire, but it was thought they didn’t have much of a presence in Wales.
Dr. Mark Merrony, a Roman specialist, tutor at Oxford University, and “a native of Pembrokeshire,” contends that previous researchers completely missed this newly discovered road.
“I think they’ll go crazy in Wales over this because it’s pushing the Roman presence much more across Pembrokeshire. There’s this perception that the Romans didn’t go very far in Wales, but actually they were all over Wales.”
Merrony found a preserved 11km (6.8 miles) section of the Roman road and he asserts that it must’ve been the work of an army, as Roman roads were labor-intensive. They were multiple levels of stone, gravel, and cobbles with excellent drainage, and they were meant to connect locations valuable to Roman military or commercial interests. Evidence of roads like these can be found around the whole Mediterranean.
Merrony discussed the road with Edward Lhwyd, a keeper at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, who corroborated his theory of a greater Roman presence in Wales. He said he’d found coins throughout the area, as well as Roman villas and farmsteads.
“That’s how I started to investigate the road,” he said. “I thought ‘why is a villa in the middle of nowhere?’”
This road connecting Wales to the rest of formerly Roman Britain could lead to further excavation and potential new discoveries of ancient Roman sites. Merrony thinks the discovery of a Roman fort is possible, but unlikely given the ancient Celtic tribe there at the time was friendly with Rome.
Source Study: Antiqvvs — Archaeology, Past Civilisations | United Kingdom | Antiqvvs (antiqvvs-magazine.com)