Road 3 - Period 3

It is clear that Road 3 (Figure 58, Figure 69 and Figure 70) continues to function throughout Period 3, but the evidence for much of its extent is inferred. There seems to be little maintenance to the road itself, other than some resurfacing early in the period near its junction with Road 2 and adjacent to the temple complex (OA21/22). The following road sequence descriptions are ordered from west to east (from perceived settlement centre to periphery) which serves to emphasise that Road 3 upkeep is short-lived and limited to the vicinity of the settlement core. Physical manifestation of the road is only encountered in Excavation Areas J and K, though brief reference to its inferred nature through Areas L to Q is also made.

It is noteworthy that Road 3 does not appear to be formally delineated by flanking ditches on either side, although it is possible that some of the boundaries of the southern zone enclosure frontages, established in Period 2B, continue to function and to mark its southern edge.

Period 3A summary view | Period 3B summary view | Open areas (lower terrace) | Open areas (upper terrace)

Junction with Road 2: Groups 372 and 373

Directly to the north of Open Area 28 (in Excavation Area K), physical remains of Road 3 attributable to Period 3 are recorded toward its junction with Road 2. The earliest Roman deposits are represented by degraded/worn gravel surface 4580 and overlying gravelly silt 4581 (Group 372), the latter perhaps accumulated through use.

A replacement surface and its use wear (Group 373) comprises 4538, a substantial gravel surface up to 0.1m thick (the latest extant surface) on which wheel rut 4593 seems to have formed through subsidence into an underlying Period 2 pit (4779 - the rut may explain the intrusion of Roman pottery into this pit). Both use-accumulation 4581 and subsequent surface 4538 contain Roman pottery, with the former supplying a 2nd century AD date.

A remnant of a further (and final) road surface, 4849 - possibly just a repair of limited extent - overlies surface 4538, hinting that Road 3 continues to be maintained throughout Period 3, and perhaps beyond, at this core settlement location.

Groups 377 and 378

A little further east, the latest surviving phase of Road 3 (Group 377) is not well dated, being laid any time from the 2nd century onwards. However, it is likely that this episode accompanies the remodelling and resurfacing of the temple precinct alongside and is thus tentatively treated as Period 3B. The road construction (18201, 21788) seems to be narrower than during earlier phases, although it is possible that it simply incorporates the earlier surface where it extends beyond 21788's width. Thus, such later surfaces may constitute concerted repair and/or enhancement rather than wholesale replacement.

A sequence of road-wash and accumulations (5963, 21568, 18239, 21615, 21679, 22038) represent road use (Group 378) extending from Period 3 into the late Roman period. These deposits lie both on the road and at the northern roadside, flanking Group 373 (see above). Here, the road-wash seals some of the temple boundary Structure 38 post-holes and indicates that this fenceline is partially modified. An access into the temple at this point is perhaps a possibility, but cannot be proven.

The pottery dating derives from the Group 378 road-use contexts (21568, 21615) rather than the surface itself. These contain mainly bodysherds in a variety of fabrics, although an early Roman date can be inferred. However, the latest pottery present dates to the late 4th century+, probably indicating that the road is a long-lived feature. The pottery from 18239 is wholly residual and the brooch fragment from 21788 is not closely datable. A Nauheim derivative brooch (SF7671) is present in 21615.

Groups 374, 375 and 376

Further east still, more-or-less to the south of the temple complex frontage, in Excavation Area J, the Road 3 sequence is sub-phased. Here, Road 3 in Period 3A is represented by likely make-up layer 21704 (Group 374) on which is laid metalled surface 21789/22082 (Group 375). Deposit 21703 constitutes a silt accumulation on the road surface, presumably from use. Deposit 22035 (Group 376) seems to be a build-up of road-wash silt alongside the road. Overlying a number of Period 2B post-holes that cut the earlier surface, it seems that this resurfacing perhaps reclaims this part of the road and includes either a widening or northward shift of its line.

Surface 21789 contains a single tiny bodysherd in Roman fabric and an early to mid-1st century AD coin (Cunobelin SF7778). However, a Radiate coin (SF7779) from equivalent surface 22082 may indicate its protracted use through the 3rd century, although truncating post-hole 21965 is of apparent mid-2nd century date.

These groups represent the easternmost physical remains of the Period 3 road recognised. No further road construction deposits were identified where investigated within Excavation Areas L to N or Q, the latest in Area L being Period 2B (Groups 111-114). It is apparent that the temple complex frontage marks a settlement watershed - presumably that between core and periphery - and that during Period 3 the road is purposely allowed to degenerate into little more than an unsurfaced track as it exits the settlement. However, Road/track 3 clearly continues in use, as is demonstrated by the various early Roman boundary features and occasional road frontage buildings that continue to delineate its course and by the lack of encroaching activity such as pit-digging upon its line.


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