1900-yr-old Roman super-highway discovered in UK

Saturday, February 5, 2011

LONDON - Experts have discovered the remains of a 1900-yr-old, 15ft-high Roman super-highway in the UK that ran from London to Exeter.

The road, found in the depths of a forest in Dorset, shows no sign of the potholes that blight our modern roads.

Constructed by the Roman invaders as part of a route from London (Londinium) to Exeter (Isca), the 85ft wide earthwork stands more than 15ft high and consists of a sweeping road with deep ditches at the side.

It was found when the Forestry Commission, acting on advice from English Heritage expert Peter Addison, cleared the Norway spruce fir trees in Puddletown Forest.

The section uncovered is made of gravel with a central cobbled ’street’, which would have been used for rapid troop movements, and outer ‘droving’ roads for livestock, as well as ditches for water drainage.

“It’s extraordinary. It has been known about but when the Forestry Commission wanted to find it, they struggled,” the Daily Mail quoted Addison as saying.

“The trees were planted so tightly it was difficult to move through them. But they called me in and I managed to find it. It is part of the road that goes from Badbury Rings to the fort at Dorchester and was part of the network of roads from Old Sarum (now Salisbury) to Exeter,” he added.

“Here you have a large road with huge ditches either side. It is raised very high which is unusual. It is only speculation, but the height might have been to make a statement,” Addison said.

A Forestry Commission spokesman said it would not be planting any more trees on it. The road will probably be grassed over in the future, he added.

“We have painstakingly uncovered one of the UK’s most remarkable sections of ancient Roman road,” the spokesman said. (ANI)

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