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

All content © Roman Roads Research Association 2016, all rights reserved; unless otherwise stated.

 a charity registered in England & Wales, no  1163854.


The Roman Roads Research Association was formed to advance knowledge of the Roman road network and promote the study of Roman roads and Roman heritage throughout the British Isles. Our work is inspired by Ivan D. Margary whose “Roman Roads in Britain ” (1955) remains the most comprehensive gazetteer ever compiled. As we approached our first birthday, RRRA was extremely proud to mark the 40th anniversary of his death by hosting the inaugural Ivan D Margary Memorial Conferences. Programmes for the conferences, and a selection of the papers presented, are still available by clicking the “2016 Conferences” tab above.

The RRRA is working on updating and enhancing in a comprehensive way the work that Margary started.

Introducing R.R.R.A.

A ‘new’ Roman road in Lincolnshire discovered using LiDAR

We intend to refresh the home page photo on a frequent basis. We would  be pleased to consider contributions from members and non-members alike for potential use on this page, and for use in the gazetteer as it develops.

LIDAR, which stands for Light Detection and Ranging, is a surveying method usually operated from an aircraft that measures distance to the ground below by illuminating it target with a laser, and measuring the reflected pulses with a sensor. The resulting data can then be used to make digital 3D-representations of the landscape, even removing vegetation and buildings if required, and by using specialist software can reveal features such as Roman roads which are impossible to detect by eye on the ground.

As part of the on-going work on The Roads of Roman Britain, our forthcoming Gazetteer, LiDAR data from the Environment Agency is being used to check the routes of known roads, such as Ermine Street (RR2d), north of Lincoln. Occasionally, there are some big surprises. In this case whilst Ermine Street shows exactly where we knew it was (you can hardly miss it!), a previously unknown road was identified heading north-north-west from Lincoln. The agger, the raised mound on which most Roman roads were built, shows very clearly. The road has also been traced northwards on aerial photographs to the point where it meets RR28a, the main road branching from Ermine Street to Doncaster and York. It’s basically a short cut, cutting out the junction of the two roads where they meet next to Lincolnshire Showground and saving nearly a mile in the process. A short branch road shows, heading to Burton-by-Lincoln, perhaps to a Roman villa or settlement.

In the 1930s, Ivan D. Margary excavated a 250 yard long length of RR14, near Holtye in East Sussex, and exposed a short length of road (about 40 yards) which was fenced off so that it could be viewed by the public. Margary then gave the site, now a Scheduled Ancient Monument, to the Sussex Archaeological Society. The road itself is a valuable example of the Roman use of local materials in road construction, in this case iron slag from nearby Roman iron workings in the Weald.  

RRRA and the Sussex Archaeological Society are currently working together to evaluate how the road’s survival may be guaranteed in perpetuity, and to assess how this nationally  important site may be best presented to the public.

Work has been progressing on the Gazetteer of Roman roads in Yorkshire, and whilst it has taken longer than anticipated, it is now almost complete and will be released soon. In the mean time, you can view a sample gazetteer entry, for RR72b Ilkley to Tadcaster, to get an idea of what the finished product will look like, and a measure of the work involved in undertaking this project.

The gazetteer will eventually be able to be accessed through an interactive online map.

David Ratledge, best known for his work over many years on Roman roads in Lancashire and for his Lancashire web pages on this site, has now completed three years of work reviewing Roman roads in Cumbria.

David’s work will be incorporated into our standard gazetteer format in 2018, but rather than wait we thought it important to make the results of his invaluable work accessible straight away. Access through The Roads of Roman Britain tab on the main menu, or just click the hyperlink above.

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