Roman Road Research & Excavations

A direct Roman Road from Winchester to Chichester has been located. In filling the gaps in our published map by air photography it became clear it was a two or three lane highway. These have been located on the ground in many places, and shows that it is a huge road, with one lane forming terraces 40' wide, and two lanes around 25' wide. The route is being surveyed at 6": 1 mile. We are now surveying to the east of Old Winchester Hill, to the east of Exton in Hampshire (A32).

The Roman Road from Winchester to London has been surveyed as far as the Hogs Back near Farnham. Far more field boundaries parallel and right angle to this road than chance indicate the remains of a Roman field system. In Italy, southern France, and north Africa if the estates were large a grid of estate roads were provided. Such a grid has been found from Four Marks to near Winchester. Three of these estate roads have been surveyed, and excavations occurring on them, see map of these. A GPS survey is planned to determine how accurately two parallel surveyed roads were laid out.

Roman Road Excavations 2019

Bank Holidays from Easter - August will be on the Chichester Roman Road.

At Beacon Hill, near Exton (which is on the A32) a ditch has been cut across the Upper of 3 Roman lanes. This enabled us to drawn a section, showing that the chalk had been levelled. Part of the Middle lane was excavated, showing it was slightly lower than the Upper Lane, and cut directly out of the chalk. We return to this site in Easter 2019 to continue these two lanes. Nearby coin finds and optical evidence suggest a Roman earthwork. We surveyed it during the Easter weekend 2017, and combining LIDAR and air photo evidence shows that two of its ramparts are at right angles to the Roman Road. But they are not defensive, and there seems to be bases of several Greek style temples. These seem to be built on specially laid packed flint. During the Easter dig we plan to determine the extent of this packed flint with geophysics. Link to Dig site page.

At Exton the Grid of another potential Roman site has been found. Three Roman Road lanes go into the Grid, two go through it and on under Old Winchester Hill. The fourth 40' lane takes a different route - but connects with the N - S Grid of the settlement. From LIDAR this northern lane crosses the above Grid by the flood plain of the river Meon. We are excavating both the Roman Lane and Grid (probably a street) here. So far we have found a lot of Roman pottery, and evidence of iron working - and come down onto the Grid as rammed chalk with finds in it. In the May 2018 digs we located the southern end of this chalk street Grid, and to the south of it 30 cms of stonework of our Roman Road lane with Roman finds in it. In the August 2018 dig we located approximately the northern edge of this chalk street Grid, finding it sloping deeper. This boundary will be uncovered in May - August 2019 digs, and we will see how the Roman Road lane changes here. Link to Dig site page.

In weekends in September 2019 we will return to the Winchester - London Roman Road in Chawton Park Wood. Here we have found three parallel features, two are Roman Roads and one we believe is a water feature. There are disturbances which may be Dark Age dykes cut across these features. These will be explored after the harvest in 2019.

A training course of five modules is available. They cover: Site Layout and Recording, Excavation, Surveying, Finds Processing, Geophysics and new Roman Road methods. They consist of instruction and exercises. You need to book for at least 5 days to complete the course - but you can carry it over to next year. The training course is optional.

Excursions can be arranged in the evenings to sites on the Roman Roads or other features with pub suppers after.

Reports and publications are available - see the booking form.

Experienced and novice excavators welcome. Further details contact Dr Richard Whaley, Field Works & School Director, 2 Rotherwick Court, Alexandra Road, Farnborough GU14 6DD (SEA appreciated), 01252 548115, 07599 875708 or visit the dig online Information and Booking Form


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