Roads 1 and 2 - Period 5

As the principal thoroughfare of the settlement, Road 1 (and presumably therefore Road 2) is actively maintained and used in Period 5 (Figure 178). The mid-4th-century decline/neglect of Road 1 is described in 'Road 1 disuse'.

Period summary view | Open areas (lower terrace) | Open areas (upper terrace)

Road 1 surfaces and accumulations (Groups 871, 872)

A number of Late Roman surfacing episodes are identified on the northern part of Road 1, within Excavation Area G. As noted in the Period 4 description of this road, deposits 6296, 7549, 7509 and 7496 may all belong here as there is little positive evidence placing them earlier. Metalled surfaces are marked by gravel deposits 7455, 7482, 7626, 7468 (perhaps a single episode), and associated silty episodes by 7445, 7463 (Group 871). Layer 7445, for example, seems to include elements both of the degraded surface of 7455 and of silty accumulation over it. The final road surfaces are formed by 7464, 7473, 7500, 7501 (Group 872). Some of these gravel deposits are very patchy and it is uncertain whether the surfaces they represent are much more than localised repairs. This makes it difficult to determine whether variations in road width represent widening or shift. While direct dating evidence for the road surfaces is sparse, 7455 is of early 4th century date or possibly slightly later.

These road surfaces appear to have a relationship with Building 54 collapse or clearance (Group 873) - debris layer 7471/7656/7665 is overlain by final Period 5 Road 1 surface 7464.

Roadside ditch 25247 (Group 642)

Further south, a ditch 25247 lies along the west side of Road 1 (Figure 177), between its junctions with Roads 4 and 5 (technically within OA18). The north end of this ditch is excavated as segments 10290 and 10525 (Excavation Area F). The southern terminal is excavated as segment 13239 (Excavation Area I). A short, 17m length of irregular, shallow (0.1m deep) ditch is thus defined. At its northern end, 25247 is truncated by east-west ditch 25027 (Group 838).

Ditch 25247 cuts through some earlier Road 1 surfaces but does not encroach upon the latest identified Period 4 surface (10267 Group 815). It is possible that 25247 is the roadside ditch for this final surface, and that its construction date could be as early as the later 3rd century AD. The ditch is filled with a single gravelly sandy silt that may derive from road-wash. Finds are dominated by tile, with little pot, and metalwork is present only in limited quantity. A denarius of Geta (AD 198-212) must already be old when it finds its way into the fill of 10290. The main fill of 13239 is dated to the second half of the 4th century and also contains an onyx intaglio (SF5109). The later dates derived from 13239 may indicate the prolonged survival of/accumulation in this deeper, southern end of the feature. The ditch is likely to function into the 4th century.

Roadside pit 13358 (Group 645)

Pit 13358 is positioned just off the southern end of ditch 25247 and is apparently deliberately sited in relation to it. The 2m-diameter pit contains a sequence of fills ranging from the late 3rd to late 4th centuries AD. It is later overlain by Building 62 (Group 648 Period 6). It contains a vast array of finds, both from the lower fills and from the later dump into the top (13216 Group 649 Period 6). The Period 5 fills include tile tessera, vessel glass and bead (SF7369), iron padlock key (SF4713) and saw fragment (SF4718), other miscellaneous ironwork, copper-alloy sheet fragments (SFs 3538, 4712), as well as substantial quantities of pottery, tile and animal bone.

Road 2

Although there is no tangible evidence of Late Roman maintenance of Road 2 along the short length of it exposed, given the demonstrable continued upkeep and functioning of Road 1, it is surely the case that its south-western continuation of the principal settlement thoroughfare remains in use.


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