Road 1 disuse - Period 5

The disuse of Road 1 is dated to the 4th century AD in the northern part of the site and, more specifically, to the second half of that century in the southern part of the site. This said, the lack of encroaching pits and buildings may suggest that although in decline, Road 1 is still functioning.

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

Silt deposits on Road 1 (Groups 644, 839, 840)

In the northern part of the site (Excavation Area F), silt deposits 10248 and 10255 (Group 840) accumulate on the eastern roadside. 10255 is an ill-defined gravelly sandy-silt deposit that overlies the Road 1 sequence. It is a homogeneous layer, containing a large and varied artefactual assemblage that includes large quantities of pottery, tile and metalwork (particularly iron nails), dated to the 4th century AD. 10248 is a dark brown-grey sandy silt that partially overlies 10255. It is preserved only within slump hollows created by earlier features (e.g. Period 2B roadside ditch 25242, Period 4 pit 10271). Together, these layers attest to the formation of mixed soils over Road 1 and therefore indicate at least its lack of upkeep and dereliction, but perhaps its disuse and abandonment, sometime during the 4th century AD.

Further south, dark brown/black silts 5747, 5731 and 13348 (Group 644) accumulate during the second half of the 4th century AD over Road 1 surface 13394 (Group 633 Period 4, which dates to the 3rd century). The silts contain gravel derived from the use, weathering and degradation of the final road surfaces. They are concentrated on the western side of Road 1 and also seal the Period 5 resurfacings of Road 1 (Groups 643, 434) and the southern parts of the road-wash that fills the western roadside ditch (Group 642). The northern part of the roadside ditch is sealed by a deposit of gravel, sand and clay (10261 Group 839) that accumulates in the slump hollow. Again, this material is most likely the product of continued degradation and weathering of the adjacent road surface.

These silt build-ups, and the absence of subsequent resurfacing and repair, indicate that Road 1 is most probably passing out of use.

Although, for example, 5747 is dated to the late 4th century AD by several means, there is a quantity of 3rd-century material among the pottery. It could be argued that this implies that the silts build up over a long period: conversely, the earlier material may be derived from the degrading earlier surfaces.


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