Monday, June 15, 2009

Archaeological dig unearths 2,000 yr old Roman road in Wales

Archaeologists working at the site of a Tesco store in Newtown in Wales, have unearthed one of the longest sections of Roman road ever found in Wales, dating back to 2,000 years. According to a report by BBC News, the highway was carved out of the Powys countryside in Newtown 2,000 years ago, and is thought to have linked two forts.

Archaeologists are excavating three separate sections of the road, and they expect to uncover a total of 300 metres. The work will not delay the development of the supermarket. Archaeologists from the Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust are working on the site of the town's old Smithfield market, which is being redeveloped as a Tesco store. Evidence a Roman highway existed was found in December 2006, but archaeologists have only been able to properly excavate it over the last 10 days.

Site director Ian Grant said that the road would have been used for troop movements between a legionary fort at Forden, near Welshpool and Caersws, a few miles from Newtown. "This sort of find is extremely rare, especially in Wales," Grant said. "We have excavated between 70 and 80m so far and the road is six metres wide. We haven't found any Roman artefacts, but the next step is to looks for settlements," he added. Archaeologists expect to be on site for a minimum of eight weeks.