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

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As a very young organisation, we have had to be careful to use our resources wisely, especially when selecting sites worthy of excavation as this can be a surprisingly expensive activity. The excavation on RR8a taking place later in 2019 is only our second, although we aim to expand this side of our work and conduct at least two excavations in 2020.

 In September 2017, the Fridaythorpe, Fimber & Wetwang Archaeology Project in partnership with RRRA excavated a a settlement site just a few metres away from the supposed course of RR810 from Stamford Bridge to Bridlington in the East Riding of Yorkshire. The settlement was a late Iron Age ladder settlement, with most of the occupation evidence being from the Roman period. Despite its proximity, the excavation found no evidence to support the existence of the supposed Roman road. At the time of writing (May 2019), the report is being compiled.

Later this year (2019), RRRA will be excavating part of RR8a (usually known these days as Dere Street), just south of Aldborough, N. Yorkshire, and there will be plenty of opportunities for volunteers to get involved (not restricted to RRRA members). Unlike certain other well known Roman road excavations, we won't charge anyone for the privilege! The course of the road is well known, however recent aerial photographs have revealed that the road may be of three carriageways of a total width of c.20m, making it extremely unusual, especially in northern Britain.

The excavation aims to determine whether or not the road does indeed have three carriageways, perhaps a grand approach to Isurium Brigantum, the Civitas capital of the Brigantes. We also aim to determine whether the road was built this way or is the result of later widening and, subject to the right types of material having been used in its construction, we also hope to test the viability of Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) for dating Roman roads. The excavation will most likely take place in September subject to harvest and the following crop, and we will let everyone know once we have a clearer idea of dates.