Recent years have seen an increasing awareness of the importance of long-distance alignments in Roman planning. Running dead straight over distances which can sometimes extend for 50 miles or more, they appear to have been used by the Romans not only for aiding the setting-out of some of their roads but also for territorial surveying, prior to the establishment of a network of permanent forts across newly-conquered areas. They also appear to have been used for partitioning landscapes, via the process known as centuriation, and, in Britain, to have underpinned the course of Hadrian's Wall and at least part of the course of the Antonine Wall in Scotland.

The talk will cover the general aspect of the planning of Roman roads rather than to  discuss details of Roman roads with which many delegates may not be familiar

Details of how these alignments may have been set out, and then how they seem to have been applied in practice, are given in the author's monograph published by Archaeopress in Oxford as BAR 598. Further details about Roman planning processes are provided in monograph BAR 492, also published by Archaeopress, and in the author's more popular account The Planning of Roman Roads and Walls in Northern Britain, published by Amberley and now available as an e-book. Examples of the application of some of these alignments for road planning were also given in an article by the author and Rob Entwistle in the May 2016 issue of Current Archaeology.



The use of long-distance alignments in Roman planning - John Poulter